What I learned about decisions from falling off of a jet ski

Each summer my family travels to Missouri to hang our with Uncle Doug. We meet at a lake in Arkansas, where he rolls out his water toys. Among my favorites are his jet skis. I waste hours nimbly hopping waves (when I’m by myself).

His newest jetski reached 81mph the last time I rode it. When I mention that to people, they often give an expression of fear, followed by, “Weren’t you concerned you would fall off.”Read More »

past and ethics

Are marketers evil?

We have all endured them — jingle-ridden radio commercials, intrusive television ads, billboards, logos, product placements in movies. We are exposed to hundreds of commercial messages each day. Estimations range from 247 (Consumer Reports ) to 3,000 (Union of Concerned Scientists ). By the most common estimate of 600 per day, we are exposed to more than 200,000 messages per year.

Behind each campaign, each piece of copy, and each painstaking photo, is a mad marketer who consumes research about why we buy. They read white papers exposing how tweens influence the purchases of their parents. They use color to influence behaviors. They create new car smells in a laboratory so that they can make sure that car triggers the right feelings of newness, or pipe aromas into the lobbies of bakeries to increase our hunger and our impulses to buy more than we should.Read More »

Ugly design, great personality

Let’s face an unfortunate truth — American culture is fixated on beauty.

That obsession carries into marketing and design. Some privileged souls work in organizations steeped in a planning culture where a project never begins without a clearly defined creative brief. Others wander a busy highway of squirrel-chasers.

You may relate to the idea of a GMOOT. It’s that moment when your supervisor leaves for a conference or has lunch with a colleague, and you know to expect an urgent email or text message telling you to get me one of those (GMOOT). They are convinced that impressive new feature or innovative design style will translate into higher sales.Read More »

conversion rate is desire minus friction

Use this formula to persuade people to take action

There we were — looking at the form and thinking, “Ugh, it’s terrible.” The lead form was 22 questions long. Far from the simple name + email forms you see elsewhere on the interwebs. That was before the drip — the additional 6 questions we wanted them to provide after the information they provided on the first form.

I wouldn’t fill that out, I said aloud. What do the numbers look like?

The data wasn’t reassuring. Only 20% of people were completing the form. Four out of every five people who saw it decided they had better things to do. I couldn’t blame them.Read More »