Don’t think like your customers, get them to think like you !

hypnosisPredictive analytics is big business now. Hand in hand with Big Data they represent one of the only ways to get to know your consumer market and understand how they’ll behave under conditions, respond to marketing and react to incentives. But the problem with all of this is that it’s a constant cat and mouse chase, consumers are an unpredictable swarm despite what we believe to know about them.

So what if we’ve been going about this all wrong ?

A chink in the Big Data armor

Steve Jobs’ famously said in an interview “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” and this perfectly explains the flaws with predictive analytics, customer experience management and how we are approaching Big Data. We are spending all our time trying to understand and mimic customer behavior and thoughts to attract them with a product or service when in fact we should be using that information to make them think like us.

  • Nobody needed the iPhone but Apple made us think we did and manipulated our desires to think like them, almost becoming employees of the company once we bought into the idea to defend the first iterations many flaws and missing features standard on other phones.
  • Nobody needed the MacBook Air but Apple made us want one over a standard NetBook to the point we were willing to shell out the additional cost.

Look into my eyes

Predictive analytics and the power of Big Data should be used like a hypnotist introducing a subconscious thought into the subject. It’s more than marketing. It’s more than incentivization. It’s subtle manipulation and conditioning. And it should work. In fact you should design your customer processes around the concept too. Instead of creating processes to bend backwards to make a customer smile turn it on it’s head; make them bend to fit your processes because you’ve created that same Applesque desire to be a part of your company and product, a part of something big. Consumers long for that.

Sure, this is a controversial way of looking at things and probably a downright immoral suggestion but customers are nothing more than a set of subjects and you are Sargant making them choose a path over your competitor. It’s just that instead of electric shocks you are using data.

And there isn’t that much difference at the end of the day.

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Categories: Customer Experience Management, Data Analytics / Big Data, Loyalty, Selling

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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One Comment on “Don’t think like your customers, get them to think like you !”

  1. April 9, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    But I’m not so sure people are an unpredictable swarm. Listening to Netflix and others managing huge data sets, the correlation between personal choices and personalities (and predictable responses) is higher than behavioral scientists like Rorschach ever realized with ink blots.

    With that said, I agree with you and Steve Jobs that we can’t chase the consumer tail and instead need to design, build and sell the things that we know matter. It is a balance of vision for the future and insight into the present. Products are very likely to be more about vision for the future, but selling them effectively more about insight into the ‘now’.

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