Why Marketers Need Social Science in Their Tool Kit
Editor’s Note: Fresh Squeezed Ideas created a video series, The Future of Marketing and How to Win, to not only share ideas on where the future of marketing is headed, but to also provoke some new ways of thinking about brand strategy and marketing.
By Fresh Squeezed Ideas
Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit? Explore brand purpose and breakout brand strategy as we answer this question in the fourth video of a 9-part video series entitled “The Future of Marketing and How to Win”
Let’s start with an example of a healthcare company that markets a medical device treatment for an acute condition that is potentially fatal. It was observed that they have two types of customers. On one hand, there are very vigilant people who own multiple devices and keep them in all kinds of locations. They protect themselves very well. On the other extreme, there’s the consumer that is quite negligent. If they even own a device, they don’t carry it, and they’re always at risk. The healthcare company thought, if we just educate the negligent people with the same beliefs and facts that the vigilant people have, surely they’ll do the right thing, and carry their device to protect themselves. Unfortunately, people don’t do rational things for rational reasons and it is a great example of attraction or a lack of attraction for subconscious reasons.
Here’s what we found out when we got up close and intimate with these people. They were so afraid of the fatality potential, that they simply denied that they had this condition, or that it would happen to them. This is not unlike how people live on a fault line in California think the Big One won’t come. That’s completely irrational.
However, when they understood that no amount of education was actually going to change behaviour, they were able to understand how to create a different kind of strategy— which was to use humour—that aligned with their values. They tried this very funny approach, which you don’t often see in medical marketing, and guess what? It doubled their business.
When you have strategies that are built on a brand purpose that’s relevant within a cultural context and respects the value of the target audience, you can have profound impact on your business. The great news for marketers is that technology has made social science investigations more accessible and more affordable than ever before. Every marketer that wants to break out in the marketplace needs these tools as part of your arsenal if you want to develop a strategy that has the power to transform your business.