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The Persuasion Slide

Thursday, April 7, 2016

How is neuromarketing making its way into content writing? On the latest Writer Podcast, Byron chats with Roger Dooley, marketer, speaker, and author of The Persuasion Slide - A New Way to Market to Your Customer's Conscious Needs and Unconscious Mind: Use Pyschology and Behavior Research to Influence and Persaude. To learn more about Roger, visit http://www.rogerdooley.com/.

Byron:                                   Welcome back everyone. I’m here with Roger Dooley. Roger, welcome.

Roger:                                   Hi, Byron, happy to be here.

Byron:                                   Right on. You’re the author, of course, of “Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing,” but you have a new book coming out called, “The Persuasion Slide.” Tell us a little bit about your new book and why you wrote it and what problem it’s solving.

Roger:                                   Okay. Well, what I found is, first of all, in Brainfluence my first book, there are 100 short chapters each with an idea of a strategy based on neuroscience or psychology that you can implement to market better. And what I’ve seen in the last few years is not just from me but from many other writers, a lot of advice based on things like cognitive biases, shielding the six principles of influence, you can go on and on. There are so many tactics based on psychology and brain science. But it gets confusing for people when they have… there’s tension when talking about their product and extolling its features, its benefits, the price and so on, trying to incorporate in all these other factors along with those sort of hard facts that can be difficult. And what I’ve found is that often, various aspects are overlooked and “The Persuasion Slide,” is a really simple model that I created to sort of force people to think about those conscious and nonconscious factors involved in each step of the persuasion process. And I really wrote at first with online conversion in mind. Things like converting people on a landing page to either buy a product or on an ecommerce site to not only put products in their cart, but to check out and to generate leads, for example, on the web or on a mobile app. But it has application in other areas to. I included an appendix of a couple of the brother’s strange applications. One is getting people to continue taking their medications for the full course and how the same principles can be applied there because that’s a huge problem in the pharmaceutical industry and the other was the college enrollment process because these days, colleges face a very difficult challenge ahead with declining population traditional students, as well as, increasing government regulation. Many schools are having difficulty either filling their classes or filling them with those students they really want to have. And so I talked about… I show how my little slide model can be used in a process like that as well.

Byron:                                   Neuroscience is relative new science I guess you would say. Neuromarketing, I should say, is a relatively new science. How did you become introduced to neuromarketing and, therefore, choose to write a few books about it?

Roger:                                   Right. Well, I guess I could date my interest in advertising back to my very early days of when I was in college. For some reason, I found myself fascinated by advertising when I was supposed to be studying organic chemistry and differential equations. In the library, I’d be sneaking over the periodical section to read “Ad Age.” I guess the confluence of neuroscience and marketing leads back, at least for me, to about 2004; I began to hear people talking about applying neuroscience techniques like fMRI or EEG brainwave measurement to analyzing advertising. And they were calling this field neuromarketing and various other things. So I went out and I registered a domain. I was a digital marketer at the time; I’m still in to some degree. And I did what any self-respecting web guy would do; I bought a domain, neurosciencemarketing.com and started creating some content there. And initially, I didn’t know that this was going to become a huge interest of mind. I just thought, “Well, I got this domain, I’ll put some content there and maybe it’ll turn into something, maybe it won’t.” But as I got more and more into it, I found that the field was really interesting and a lot of people were not necessarily translating scientific findings into actual business advice. And so sort of changed my focus from this intersection of science and sort hard analysis techniques. For instance, putting people in an fMRI machine and showing them ads to see what their brains are doing at the time which is a technique that is really only accessible to big brands and very large companies because of the cost. And there are certainly some other techniques that aren’t as expensive. But, nevertheless, what I was looking for were techniques that could be translated into direct application by businesses of any size. So over time, I shifted my editorial focus from sort of the hardware science tools and I still talk about them occasionally, but more to actionable business advice.

Byron:                                   Could you describe to the audience and remember we have a lot of writers listening in that create content for customers whether it be copywriter or blog writing, articles, tech papers, white papers, you get the idea. Could you describe how some actual neuromarketing tactics and techniques that you both talk about in your various books and even in speaking engagements you have? Describe how neuromarketing is making its way to the market place.

Roger:                                   Well, I guess one of the things that I bring up in many of my talks is an amazing study. Well, first of all, there are several amazing studies about the neuroscience of stories. And everybody knows that stories are a way of engaging readers and that’s been known for decades and probably centuries of millennia if you go back to the earlier stories. But what they’ve found with the advent of techniques like fMRI where they can actually view almost in real-time people’s brain activity is that when, obviously when listening to a story the murder areas of their brain are activated as if they were performing the same actions that were included in the story. So it’s a very impactful form of communicating and the most amazing experiment use two fMRI machines. This must have been a very costly one because each machine costs a few million dollars and one person, one subject in each machine and one telling the other story. And what they found is really amazing, they were monitoring both people’s brain and as the first one started telling the story within seconds, the brain of the second one essentially synced up and showed the same areas being activated as the storyteller. So if you want to exercise mind control, this really shows it about the best way to do it is to tell somebody a story. And so that’s to me, is a one of those areas where people’s news stories were important, but not necessarily how important or effective they were. Something else that’s really interesting from a writing standpoint and a neuroscience standpoint is that the concept of a text metaphor. Now if you heard somebody say, “I had a difficult day,” or “I had a rough day,” you would say those statements are about the same. It’s by meaning the same thing and neither conveys a lot more, a lot less emotion. But to the listener’s brain or the reader’s brain, there’s a difference between those two because rough actually has a sensory meaning as, “Wow. Like rough sand paper.” And what they found when they studied people’s brain activity is when they hear a word like, “rough,” that it actually lights up a separate area of the brain associated with touch. So even though it’s being used in the context but is not sensory at all, you’re simply describing what kind of day you had, that sensory metaphor still comes through and lights up that area of the brain. And that’s a very powerful tool whether you’re writing ad copy or even just trying to choose words that are even more impactful than something else.

Byron:                                   I want to ask you about metaphors and tag lines and why you think metaphors are surfacing as tag lines for companies and they have for many years. It’s quite interesting when companies are literally drawing analogies to these very crisp… That major brands are building analogies. Let me read you a few tag lines and see if you can guess who the big company is just as example, how about this one, “Get a Piece of the Rock.”

Roger:                                   Well that would be Prudential Insurance.

Byron:                                   Absolutely. “You’re in Good Hands.”

Roger:                                   Allstate.

Byron:                                   “Have It Your Way.” That’s a little old, but “Have it Your Way.”

Roger:                                   Well, that would be Burger King.

Byron:                                   And then, this is a tough one. “Always There in a Pinch.”

Roger:                                   Boy, that one I don’t know, I don’t think.

Byron:                                   I didn’t think you would. Skoal.

Roger:                                   Oh, okay. I’m not a customer I guess.

Byron:                                   “What Can Brown Do for You?”

Roger:                                   That’s UPS.

Byron:                                   Nice. How about “Drivers Wanted.” Also a little bit older but--

Roger:                                   Yeah. That I remember, but I don’t know the brand.

Byron:                                   “Drivers Wanted,” VW.

Roger:                                   Oh, okay.

Byron:                                   “Where’s the Beef?” Final one. A little bit older as well.

Roger:                                   Oh, Woody Allen, that’s Woody Allen. I’m old though, so that’s okay, that’s Wendy’s.

Byron:                                   So, a lot of these are metaphors and these are large brand names associated their big company brand name with a metaphor. Is that interesting to you? And is that revealing to us?

Roger:                                   Well, I think whether or not a tag line is a metaphor, the see thing is that it has to resonate. I’ve spent some time as sort of a critic of higher-Ed marketing, colleges and universities marketing and many of them have these tag lines that are complete interchangeable with each other and you can take something like educate, or inspire, or innovator, or something with their tag line that provides no branding support at all for their university. And you could plaster that on any other one and nobody would notice. But when you have something like a “Where’s the beef?”, now that could be used by anybody but it has a particular resonance to it and probably something that is unique about our brand, it’s saying, suggesting to other brands that don’t have the beef and that our brand does. So I think that was powerful that way. In fact, the UPS, “What Can Brown Do for You?” that’s kind of not really my favorite tag line but it does relate to their signature color. And that’s even a sensory word as well. When you hear that, chances are your mind is somehow visualizing a picture of that Brown UPS truck pulling up in front of your house. So I’ll give you points for that even if I don’t care for the tag line that much.

Byron:                                   Is there some interesting history to metaphors that I’m remembering. I was a philosophy undergraduate major but I remember John Locke thought that metaphors were the art of rhetoric. And I think maybe Thomas Hobbs called metaphors “The abuses of speak.” Philosophically metaphors have had some interesting sort of been like essentially tested concepts over the years. Have you studied that in your history of and in your research for metaphors?

Roger:                                   I haven’t really studied on that although. When you’ve heard about rhetoric, rhetoric is all about persuasion, I think people have known that metaphors are a shorthand method for communicating. And often in part one, what a metaphor is doing, it’s sort of bypassing that cognitive part of your thought-process and going straight into your brain. The simpler the concept is, the more powerful the metaphor is. You don’t have to think about it. Now one thing that I frequently write and talk about is, Daniel Kahneman’s split in our thought processes which are system one and system two. And system one is a very fast way of thinking. His book is called, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” which I highly recommend if any of your listeners haven’t read it. But system one is fast and intuitive, emotional, its rule based and it is very energy efficient for your brain. System two is what we think about when we talk about thinking through a problem and it’s that sort of cognitive rational pluses and minuses, mental spreadsheet kind of thought process. And that is very energy intensive. Our brains do not want to use energy. They already use a greatly outside proportion of our body’s energy. So our brains are trying to operate as efficiently as possible and if they can make a decision using system one, they’ll do that. And when you are communicating with somebody and you’re giving more facts and figures to buttress your case, you are forcing them into system two thinking and that’s going to be an uncomfortable state for them. And if you keep feeding them facts and figures, they’re eventually going to tune out because it’s just too much work to keep up with. Metaphors on the other hand, I haven’t necessarily seen the science on this, but I think what’s happening is a metaphor is sort of avoiding that system two thinking and sliding more into system one thinking because it’s an already a familiar concept. Being a rule based was one type of system, one thinking. So that if you’re making a decision on what product to buy in the store, if you see your favorite brand there, you don’t have to think about. Your past behavior has been “I bought this brand and it worked for me and so I can do the same thing again.” You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to read all the labels or compare the ingredients or anything else you can just do it and that makes your brain happen. I think a metaphor is a little bit of the same way. When you compare a complex concept to something that your brain already is familiar with and knows how to deal it, then it sort of slides right in.

Byron:                                   No pun intended with the word, “slide.”

Roger:                                   I’m sorry. I have slides on the brain. Okay, sorry.

Byron:                                   Let’s go back to the slide. By the way, thank you for the wonderful tangent that I sent you off there into discussion metaphors as you can tell, I’m really into metaphors and I really… I think they’re powerful creatures. I was going to ask you about salt, but let me ask you one more question about metaphors. Have you studied the Gerald Zaltman, the ZMET Technique?

Roger:                                   Yeah. I think I did a little bit. I’ve read his book and it’s… And I actually quote him frequently and my favorite quote of his is split between conscious and nonconscious thinking. He says that only 5% of our thought processes in decision processes are conscious and 95% are nonconscious. And every scientist can come up with their own value, but you can never really prove one versus the other. But he has studied it long enough I trusted his judgement more or less and it’s a number that I use. And really what that’s telling me too is that if you are totally focused on features and benefits or price or arguments that are based on the logic and statistics, you’re really only appealing to 5% of your target’s brain and that’s why it’s so important to deal with the rest of it with nonconscious appeals, emotional appeals, and so on. I know that he uses this sort of deep metaphor analysis for both interviewing. Rather than doing focus groups or surveys, which are pretty common market research tools, he has this sort of in-depth psycho-analysis thing almost, literally like going to a therapist, I guess. I haven’t been in one of the sessions. But, it is a design to dig out these metaphors and then it can be translated into something that could be made into that part of the marketing effort.  

Byron:                                   Totally. And just to talk about that for a second and I want to ask you the question first and then I’ll tell the audience about that. What do you think the power of images really are that we know in metaphoric images? So the whole ZMET session thing, he’s interviewed like 12,000 people have gone through the ZMET session thing for 100 clients in 30 countries and he has this format so you guys can tune into it listening in, that the attendees would basically be explained an assignment and it would say, if they would ask a participant to focus on a product section, a sector, like kitchenware. And then before the next session they were asked to go out and collect eight or ten images that in some way represent their thoughts and attitude towards this sector. And the only instruction was this image has to be metaphorical rather than literal. So you can’t show up with pictures of knives. So that was part of his analysis to what he was trying to tap into the consumer’s unconscious. So these images, they put up all these collages together and try to analyze of what’s going on in people’s brain when they think these sectors and absolutely fascinating. What is your take on that concept of imagery in the brain and can imagery be triggered by both words when we read them and images when we see them?

Roger:                                   Well, sure. I love really two parts of that that. As far as the technique goes, I assume it’s working for them, I’ve talked to a younger Zaltman as well and they use this technique. And so, it’s working for them and it has not become widely adopted in this industry. They’re not a lot of people doing this. The other companies like the expertise or they prefer their own methodology. But as far as images, I think of course they’re very powerful and you can’t evoke imagery with words. Particularly words that… Well, we talked about that a minute ago. Sensory words is a word that somehow imply an image that would cause them to sort of flash into your head. But then, of course, viewing images is great shorthand, because image looking at an image that explains something versus reading a paragraph of text that is supposed to have the same purpose. Clearly mean the image is going to be processed much more quickly and pretty much goes straight into the viewer’s brain. And of course, you can create emotion with images. If you look at I’ll say a fashion magazine or something, there will be a ton of ads in there and there will be essentially no text. And those ads, no copy, no feature, no benefits, nothing, except maybe the brand logo or the brand name and a very evocative image. And depending on what’s the model looks like, what’s the apparel looks like, the setting that they’re in, whether it’s black and white or if it’s color. All of this goes to create a particular emotion around the brand. And sometimes you look at it and say, “Wow, that’s so bizarre. I can’t image who would identify with this, it’s bad.” But nevertheless, they are striving for a particular emotion that they could not achieve with words. I mean they could write a short story and probably not have the emotional impact that that that one image does.

Byron:                                   Have you read of Jennifer Aaker, some of her work? I think she’s at the University of California on brand personality?

Roger:                                   You know I have not. Of if I have, I don’t recall it.

Byron:                                   This is pretty interesting. She sorts of taps into this I think it’s five elements of brands and personalities. Sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and I think the last one’s ruggedness. So she thinks that all brands across the world can fall into one of those five areas. Like Dodge truck falls in ruggedness. She goes through this whole example sequence. But it’s pretty cool. Sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Pretty cool. Do you think that brands have personalities in your mind and do think you would want to build your content and your copy and your content around the personality of a brand on the slide?

Roger:                                   I think I do. And I think brands definitely do have personalities and it’s important to be consistent. Now whether Aaker’s division into five is correct for those are the only five I can’t really say. But I know recall when Hummer was still a brand that GM had was promoting. They came out with a series of commercials about it was sort of eco-friendly Hummer commercials. And to me that was a total mismatch between what the brand image was, how people perceived the brand, and how they should have been marketing it. Instead, this was some sort of weirdly apologetic type of ad to… I’m sure they would not be satisfied the eco-types anyway. Because, look, a Hummer is still a Hummer. But to me, instead of showing these like little forest glades and flowers and little ponds, it would have been much more effective to show Hummer blasting through two feet of mud or something.

Byron:                                   Yeah, tough, strong, outdoorsy.

Roger:                                   Or on the sand dunes.

Byron:                                   Rugged, exactly, exactly. Let’s go back to the slides. Sorry, thank you for that wonderful journey with us. Really great stuff. What about the slide? Tell us the elements of the slide and the “Persuasive Slide” and then how people slide down it.

Roger:                                   Right. In the context of a marketer, they typically need to persuade somebody to either by a product or to give up their information so they become a lead and those are the most common persuasion processes. My work is based in part on work of BJ Fogg from Stanford who has put his Fogg behavior model that has this sort of complex little equation that I’m not going to recypher here. I’m sure if I could recite it exactly. But it involved the ability to do something, the motivation to do something, and then the trigger to make somebody redo that, and you can effect behavior change if those ingredients or if you’re in the right combination. And then it kind of expands into this behavior grid that’s six by six metrics that is really confusing for most mortals. What I was looking for was a way of incorporating some advanced thinking and trying to get marketers to think about both aspects as they created each element of their marketing plan and probably the purest example would be the landing page on a web site. Because typically, you’re measuring the convergency, you got great statistics, you know how many people will ride their and then you’ll know how many people actually convert whether they buy it or they put their email address or whatever they want them to do. So that’s sort of a way of a pure example. And you have to first align with your customer’s grab that means you want to be sure that all of your messaging is aligned with what they came to you with. If you have a site that is about dieting, for example, your customers probably want to be healthier, they want to be more attractive, they may have even had a deeper seeded need, they want to be or perhaps improved their relationship status because right now they’re maybe not in a good relationship because they feel unattractive and so on. So this is what they’re coming to you with. And so often you see these POs on a website that don’t address that at all. You’ll get there and you’ll see a button that says subscribe now or something like that that is not really related to what the customer wants to do. And maybe the text on the page isn’t really that closely related either, the imagery. So you got to first align with that gravity and you can do that on a conscious level. You can say, “Do you want to lose weight?” So that would be a conscious thing the way you’re appealing to it.

Byron:                                   Sure.

Roger:                                   Also or perhaps showing a happy couple image could deal with that sort of nonconscious desire to improve one’s relationship status. The nudge is what happened to the top of the slide when you felt a like a little kid on top of that little platform there, either their mom or dad has to give them a shove or they have to push with their arms a little bit to get moving down from the slide. And that could be anything. That could be a puppet. It could be a very visible call to action on a page. A big red button. It could be in her context, a sales call; it could be a phone call, an email in somebody’s inbox. All of these things that can be nudges. And they really have to do only two things. They have to get the individual’s attention. And they have to start that motivation process. A nudge can exist, but if it doesn’t motivate at all then nothing happens. And one example that I use usually is a word on LinkedIn to the state of Virginia for years and they still do it. They will sometimes put your photo from your profile in an ad over in another part of the page. So you’re looking at this page of LinkedIn and suddenly see your photo over in the right-hand margin. And you pretty much have to look to see what it’s doing over there. It’s a very effective nudge. I would say it gets the attention of 100%, maybe not 100%, because some people just won’t see, but very effective at getting people’s attention. But then when you look at it’s, “You should follow Comcast.” And it’s like, “Okay. Why should I follow Comcast? I’m not even in Comcast territory; they’ve given me zero interest to follow Comcast.” So that’s a nudge with no motivation. Instead, there had been some messaging showing that why it would save me money, make life better, something, then that would have got me going farther down the slide. And the angle of the slide is the motivation that you’re providing. And typically you need both conscious and nonconscious motivators. Even if you’re focused on these sorts of emotional appeals, you still will often need some features or benefits or price type things, simply to satisfy the customer’s conscious mind. So if I go buy a red convertible, come home with a red convertible, I will still need to explain to my friends that I didn’t buy it because I was having a mid-life crisis or whatever. But in fact, that car based on my research really holds itself, resale value better than other models. It gets great gas mileage and so on. I got some ammunition to work with even though I did not really buy it because it has better gas mileage or better resale value. And then the thing that is often overlooked is friction. Every year there are about four trillion dollars left in the data ecommerce shopping carts and there’s always reasons for that. Sometimes people have to put stuff in there just to see what costs with shipping, or other reasons, that’s a whole other topic right there. Why it would force people to do that.

Byron:                                   Right.

Roger:                                   Often, it’s because we responded perhaps to an ad on Google, they clicked through, they shopped around the site, they put one or more items in their cart they considered to buy, and then they got to the order form and they looked and there’s a big pile of stuff you have to fill out for the “Ship To” address and the “Go To” address and you got to get your credit card out, and you have to physically pull it out to look at a little number on the back to see what that is because there’s a spot on the form that won’t let you check out if you don’t have the little code number. And people just give up. That is a high-friction process. And if you compare that to what Amazon does, you’re a logged-in prime customer. They give you the ability to buy the item with one click, you know where it’s going, you know which card it’ll be charged to, because once again, you got to have a home address and you a business address, and if you’re separating your costs that way, it is so simple and friction free that it’s actually dangerous. I mean, it’s just too easy to see something you like and just click that button without even thinking about it. So that’s conscious friction. When you got a form that has a whole bunch of fields, I don’t see that in the “we generation” just somebody trying to get contacts for their salesforce. And they put all this extraneous information in there where the form will have company name and title and timing of your need and all these questions. But every one of those are going to sway more people from completing the form and getting to the end of the process. But the other kind of friction is non-conscious friction. Even things like the font that you use to put your directions in can be an element of friction by making things look more difficult even though they’re not. The colors that you use. Reverse type where you have light type on a white background is less fluent, less cognitively fluent than more traditional black type on the white background. And that difficulty translates into perceived difficulty or whatever you’re asking the customer to do. So there’s a certain, there’s been some great research on that, Adam Alter did an experiment which a confession site. This is a website where people go to posts the horrible things they did that they’re not willing to confess to. They analyzed them before and after a design change. Where initially, it was a very disfluent site, it was kind of hard to read, white type on a black background, then they switched then to a much easier to read a black on a white design. And what they found was that people’s confessions analyzed thousands of confessions and their confessions were far more revealing after the change that the more fluent such put the customers more into a mind to comply with their request to say, “Tell us the bad things that you did.” In another case, scientists at University of Minnesota asked people to estimate how long it would take to perform a simple exercise. We’re talking about two sentences talking about putting your chin down your chest and holding it there and repeating it six to ten times. Very simple little exercise. And two groups of people saw it; the first group saw it in an area a very simple easy-to-read font and they said it would take about eight minutes to do these exercises. The second group saw it in a brushy font which is exact same text, but just a little bit harder to read, perfectly logical, you would have any problem reading it. That group estimated it would take 15 minutes almost twice as long based just on the font. This is what I call either “imaginary friction,” or “perceived friction,” where these design choices is that nationally delegated to a graphic designer who just kind of picks something that looks kind of cool, could have a really huge impact on the persuasion process. So that’s, to me, if people are trying to improve their results and that must really spend a lot of money because you can always improve your results just by spending money. If you give people free shipping, they’ll buy more stuff. If you drop your prices 25%, they’ll buy more stuff. But if you’re looking to do it in a more cost-effective way, eliminating friction of all types, whether it’s real or even this imaginary or perceived friction, is the cheapest thing that you can do is really, it doesn’t cost you anything at all. And also, I’m looking at your motivation by applying the right kind of motivation, you can use particularly it’s a unconscious motivators tend to be simply changes in your text or your imagery, but again, doesn’t really cost you anything compared to offering discounts or shipping deals and so on.

Byron:                                   I want to ask a question about writing itself, but before I do, I want to ask another question about a concern I have with the concept of a formulaic approach that you’re describing to us. That there is a better way to do it. That we need to worry about fuzzy type-faces. Here’s my question. Do you worry that we’ll learn too much about how to persuade people and the words that we write and the design that we have will become too programmatic? And if you will, not human and possibly not filled with these elements of surprise that are important to us as we navigate around the web and the world and to buy you things?

Roger:                                   No. I really don’t worry about that too much. First of all, we had some very smart people persuading people for decades.

Byron:                                   Yeah.

Roger:                                   Look at the great add agencies going back to the 60s and they knew something about persuasion. People will raise the same question or similar question with neuromarketing when you start putting people in fMRI machines or whatever, “Wow. Are you going to be able to take over their brain somehow?”

Byron:                                   Yeah, right.

Roger:                                   And the quick answer is, “No.” If there was a way of taking over people’s brains and getting them to do stuff that they didn’t want to do, somebody would have figured it out years ago without the benefit of these tools. Really what I see is we have the opportunity to eliminate a lot of bad communication. Not so much that we’re going to create these super powerful means of communication, but we’re going to eliminate some of the bad stuff.  I mean, how many times have you watched a TV commercial, lots of us these days, fast forward, but and couldn’t even recall what the ad was for, who ran it, or that it was so bad you actually changed channels or muted it or something to get rid of it. If we could identify and improve some of the worst stuff to make it at least somewhat palatable, I think that would be a big service.

Byron:                                   You’ll enjoy an obsession that Josh Bernoff is going to be featuring one of our keynotes to Content Marketing Conference. He’s writing a book now and it’s going to be releasing this year called, “Without the Bullshit.” And I don’t know if you know Josh Bernoff.

Roger:                                   I don’t.

Byron:                                   He wrote a book called, “Groundswell.” He’s a co-author of that and he’s been at Forrester Research about 25 years. He just retired from Forrester and now he’s writing and publishing. He’s a really interesting guy, Josh Bernoff. But I wanted to go back to my original question which is writing. We’ve got so many wonderful writers on the line, tuning in and listening to this. So I work with writers at WriterAccess myself. And I’ve done a lot of speaking on a topic that’s near and dear to me and that’s, “How to make content at what I call ‘Snap, Crackle, and Pop.’” Content snaps when readers quickly understand the value and why it matters and it crackles when readers smile and laugh and react in some emotional, very important way. And content pops when it inspires and motivates people to take action. How do you, first of all. Do you agree with the concept that it is possible to create content that has what I call, “Snap, Crackle, and Pop”? And second of all, do you think that something people can learn how to do, particularly with the help of testing and to see what works and what doesn’t work?

Roger:                                   Sure. Well, first of all, I think, I should compliment you on your little metaphor there because you are a doing a few good things with that. Not only are you using a metaphor, but it’s a slogan that probably 99% of your listeners are familiar with.

Byron:                                   Yeah.

Roger:                                   So you’re sort of piggy-backing onto that slogan with some of a more complex message what content should be or what copy should be like. That’s a great start. As far as can this technique can be learned? I would think so, I’m not an expert on writing, but there are very few skills possessed by humans that cannot be improved through training and practice and feedback. And different types of activities may require a different mix of those elements. But, certainly, being able to I get feedback on whether something worked or didn’t work, it can be both sort of codified by the person who’s directly getting that experience, but also then it may be able to be developed into a greater rule that can be communicated to many people if everyone keeps fighting a similar result.

Byron:                                   Yeah. That sounds like…

Roger:                                   So it should work in an experience base and a training base.

Byron:                                   Let’s go back to the book. Who did you really craft your book for? Who’s the right target audience for your book?

Roger:                                   Well, “Brainfluence” is written for marketers in general and really anybody who is interested in the brain, psychology, and how persuasion works. In the “Persuasion Slide” book is crafted a little bit more for marketers who want to go to the next level and in that persuasion process and really think about how to incorporate the conscious and nonconscious elements. And, because again, there’s so much content being created out there you can’t pick up or read a blog that’s about conversion or ecommerce without finding maybe 10, or 20, or 30% of the content is somehow based on psychology. It’s an interesting read for people, but they need a way to sort of organizing all of this. That was my intention there, so it’s the “Persuasion Slide” is really more for the content creators, the marketers who are formulating messages, designing ads, designing landing pages and websites, and apps and that sort of thing.

Byron:                                   Terrific. Well it’s been great having you on today. I’ve enjoyed this conversation very much, which is probably why it lasted so long. We might have to make this a two-part series or something. But, thanks.

Roger:                                   Well, yeah, it’s been a lot of fun, Byron.

Byron:                                   Roger, thank you so much for you listening in with us, appreciate it.

Roger:                                   Well, thanks for inviting me, Byron.

Byron:                                   Right on. I hope that everybody enjoyed the conversation today and we’ll look forward to chatting with you next week. Thanks for tuning in everybody.