Ted Ideas


I recently visited an oldie but goodie Ted Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, given by Simon Sinek. It’s one of the top 20 most watched Ted Talks ever. In it, Simon talks about how great leaders target the “why” – and even if you aren’t interested in becoming a great leader, it’s well worth a listen for marketers and business owners alike. Because we, also, want to inspire.

In fact, that’s our sole purpose as marketers and owners, isn’t it? To inspire customers to buy our product or service. To inspire people to support our company with their time, money and kudos. To inspire people to spread positive PR goodness our way.

Tapping into the Psychology of Buying

Psychology is the study of the mind and, especially, behavior. Psychology is studying the whichness of the why. Why do we do the things we do? What is the driving force for this or that behavior? This science has done quite a bit to help us discover more about what makes humans… human.

And really, that’s what we marketers are looking at. We’re targeting the humanity of our marketing. It’s not just the humanity, however, but our basic humanity, our core, what makes us tick. Simon Sinek calls this the “why”.

In plain speak, the “why” is the answer to the question: what is the real value for my customer base?

Buying Value

Value is Relative

A product or service is only worth what the market will bear. I like the way Women in Rural Enterprise talks about value in a 2015 article, Psychology of the Buyer:

The buyer decides what is valuable and what is value added – not you! This needs a bit of explanation. Some buyers DO value that you spent umpteen days hand knitting a pullover and that it is unique. Other buyers think it is directly comparable with a £8 jumper from Primark. You can never persuade them otherwise.

A more obvious example is the company that made car fan belts that were 20% more expensive than all their competitors because they came in 33 different colors and shades. They made no sales because no buyer of a car fan belt places a value on what color it is!

There is a lot going on in these two examples:

Those that buy the hand-knitted pullover value uniqueness; that uniqueness says something to them about themselves. Maybe they consider themselves to be a unique individual, or someone that recognizes quality, or someone who supports the crafter. Whatever it is, the fact that the pullover is handmade and unique appeals to their core beliefs of who and what they are.

The people who compare the hand-knitted to the Primark jumper and see no difference other than cost are most likely individuals who consider themselves thrifty, frugal, and careful with their money. I’ve known people with a $2 silk tie they found at a Salvation Army store and people with a $200 dollar Charvet tie from Bergdorf Goodman boast with the same level of excitement.

The third example is a perfect example of a company that didn’t do their market research. The plain and simple fact is, for some things, people just want them to work. That is the value. In this case, the best sales job is that they work better, and it’s often the hardest sales point to market. How do you prove a fan belt works better than another?

-And, whether it’s a fan belt, jumper or couch, how do you reach the consumer to inspire them to buy? How do you find what makes them tick?

Human Element

Tips for Marketing to the “Why”

Getting into your market’s psychology isn’t easy. That’s why people that write conversion copy charge top dollar; because it takes time, and the clients find it valuable. They’re willing to pay for it, because the return is umpteen times as much. However, there are some things you can do to inspire – or find out what inspires – without such a large investment in money. Here are a few tips:

  • Use your current market for research. Your current customer base is an excellent source of information, and should never be ignored. Provide a survey with their transactions. Even if most do not respond, if only ten or fifteen people respond, you may be surprised by what you find out about how your products and company are being perceived.
  • Connect with, and actually talk to, people on social channels. People on social channels have a tendency to be a lot more outspoken and forthcoming about how they feel. After all, social channels are all about being social, right? Don’t be afraid to ask someone why they buy something – just try to do it in a way that isn’t all about you. “Hey, we’re doing a brief survey about buyer behavior and would love your thoughts. Why do you buy vacuum cleaners?”
  • Slip in a product sample by surprise with their first purchase. Called the Reciprocity Principle, the premise is that people respond to nice behavior with nice before. Actions like giving away product samples or gifts have a tendency to build an obligatory feeling in the receiver to return the favor. In other words, I gave you a product sample, you feel obliged to buy something. I give you part of an article, you feel obliged to enter your information to read the rest, and so on.
  • Tap into the Liking Principle. The Liking Principle says that we’re more likely to buy from someone we like. Surprisingly enough, we don’t have to actually like them; they just have to be perceived as likeable. ReferralCandy has an excellent article on the Liking Principle with 7 real-world examples.

In Conclusion

If you’re having problems with sales – if your conversions aren’t what you want them to be -, it could very well be that you aren’t reaching the right part of your consumer. For example, they may want something purple, but it isn’t the purple socks you’re selling. In short, you’re having a problem with inspiration.

Do yourself and your business a huge favor. Read the links in this post. Read the very fantastic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. If you don’t have time for that, read this summary of the book, by Tom Polanksi of eBrand Media.

Take the time to learn more about the psychology of persuasion, influence, buying and what inspires us. This is invaluable knowledge for anyone marketing a product or service.

And if you don’t have time to read any of the research, take the time to talk to the people who have. Contact us, and we’ll get you on the right path.

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7 Responses

  1. Good Day to You Gabriella,

    I really appreciate your patience, sticking with me on this!

    You are absolutely right. Getting over the feeling of “manipulation” opposed to “selling” or “marketing” is definitely something I need to come to terms with in order to be successful.

    Working this through with you in this conversation is helping. I hope that others who may be reading this, who may have similar feelings are helped as well.

    One thing that I think is going to help is changing my focus. It is becoming clear to me that continuing to just “follow back” other marketers and being exposed to DMs that consist mostly of “offers” is doing more harm than good.

    I fully intend to continue to stay with that, because there are good people to connect with in that niche as well. It’s kind of a “do as I say, not as I do” feeling. Can’t really blame them. I’ve been exposed to the same kind of “training” hype.

    While I understand their motivation, it gets tiresome, especially when most of the time even a positive reply isn’t responded to. Love those “bots”!

    Glaucoma causes me real difficulty trying to use the tools at Google Analytics. The Webmaster Tools get me lost. Years of practice has taught me how to (mostly) compensate, with screen size adjusts, but I really need something that is free (broke) and user friendly (less busy on the eyes).

    Twitter remains my social media of choice because it lets me take in more conversations with the 140 character messages. Glaucoma affects the peripheral vision, narrowing it. It also causes me to read slower as well.

    Can you point me in the right direction to find a tool that I may be able to use more easily?

    By the way, my new focus has a “long tail” that wags.

    Something I’m definitely more comfortable with than straight up hard selling.

    Been spending time playing around with searches on Bing. An amazing thing happens when we add the word “reviews” after the search terms. That feels better.

    Thanks again for sticking with me on this!

    I got through Chapter 6, trying to look at it and learn.

    My Best to You

  2. Good Day to You Gabriella,

    I’ve managed to read through the first five chapters of “The Power of Persuasion”.

    It is hard for me to read, not just because of Glaucoma forcing me to read slowly and take breaks.

    I’m still grateful for the read, because it is giving me an education in a way I didn’t really expect.

    I’m beginning to get a better understanding of myself and a big reason why actually committing to my first product offer is so difficult for me.

    This brings me to the real reason why getting through this ebook is so difficult for me. Why it would be difficult, even without the issues with my eyes.

    The psychological study of human nature presented throughout the ebook is very educational. It makes a lot of since, helping us to understand person to person interactions and how it works. This is the positive side of the reading.

    Now for the part that is just short of being offensive to me and my self-revelation (or at least clarity) regarding marketing in general. This also explains why I’m having such a hard time since retiring, adopting the mindset of an Internet Marketer.

    I’ve spent over 20 years as a customer service representative in State Government. The job always required me to be a “helper”. At no time did I ever feel like a “salesperson”. Even during the 2 years or so spent at Motor Vehicle.

    I’m learning about what a huge difference it is, between being a customer service representative and Internet Marketing.

    I am a helper first by nature. The ability to empathize with a person, learn what problem they are having trouble solving and even take them step-by-step through the process of discovering a solution is what I’m used to doing.

    I’m very confident in my ability to do this, because it is the part of being a customer service representative that has always been the most rewarding part of the job.

    Everyone has a “swear word” that really goes “against their grain”.

    Marketing has one for me. My “swear word” in marketing by itself doesn’t bother me. It is the implication that goes with it that does. No, it isn’t the only word that does, but is best suited in this context.

    The word “trick” is used in a positive way, when describing a new tool or method of doing something when applied positively. It makes since and I have no objection to it.

    Not long ago “hack” had a not so nice implication applied to it as well.

    The (implied) word that really bothers me is “manipulation”.

    It is the way that “The Power of Persuasion” teaches us ways to manipulate people on a very basic level that really bothers me.

    I see the value of the training. Understanding the basic principles is helpful.

    We can do better. Our customers (should) expect to be respected more and manipulated less.

    I believe the Internet is changing how people buy products. They no longer have to remain ignorant and dependent upon the sales person as a “guide”. Not if they are willing to do their “due-diligence”. More people are every day.

    They are learning how not to be manipulated and I’m glad for it.

    I have no intention of being “that” kind of marketer.

    I’m committed to learning more about Helping first and Selling later, after helping my visitor by making it easy for them to access product research that I’ve already done and enabling them to do their own more easily.

    I want to take the “manipulation” out of the sales equation, by helping people make up their own minds, by giving them the tools to help them do so, before presenting them with an “offer”.

    I understand that this is not “traditional” thinking.

    Nothing about me or the way I function is “traditional”.

    If I can’t function on a “what you see is what you get” basis now, then a method to do so is in need of discovery.

    Apparently, this is where my “self-discovery” has lead me. Perhaps not so much “discovery”, but learning the direction needed to travel in, to reach the goal of not having to use “manipulation” as a form of “Persuasion”.

    This time I will ask the question again, while looking for a more focused answer.

    This time I don’t want to know how to “manipulate” my customer through “The Power of Persuasion”.

    Let’s look at the question with the focus of learning through social media:

    How do we learn what our audience believes, needs, and wants?

    Without having to manipulate them, or spend money on going “digital” to learn how.

    My Best to You

    1. Hello Arth

      While I respect and understand your position, I would like to address your views about the functions of a digital marketer. While some sales are part of the process, I can’t help but think your use of “manipulation” in marketing is regarded as a bad thing. In my humble opinion, it’s all about giving your readers and users what they want.

      Great marketing isn’t google gaming, or manipulating your readers, it’s focused marketing. The purpose of this method is to allow you to target your demographic with systematic diligence, in order to create a sales funnel that truly works.

      Back to your question “How do we learn what our audience believes, needs, and wants?” Again, I can’t stress how important doing your research is. It goes back to the basics of marketing; Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. They may be buzz words, but those are the foundational steps necessary to “focus” on a strategy that will work. Let me break it down a bit further, into a process within social networks.

      Awareness – First step, be part of the conversation, on social networks that make sense for that niche (whichever that may be for you or your brand)

      Interest – Find and share interest with your community wherever they are, you can do this by reading blogs, Google Alerts, Buzzsumo, there are 100 of tools you can use, free and paid. Another tip is to be nice, and only share 15%-20% of yours versus theirs. Being a customer service man, I’m sure you know how to put a smile on people faces, even if you don’t see them eye to eye. A landing page that accomplishes this will bring you one step closer to the almighty conversion.

      Desire – You should now have the data, (via Google analytics, Web master tools, SEMrush, Majestic, MOZ, there are so many tools out there to guide you on what they like and what they want and where they are landing.)

      Action – Create your message based on the data and the iteration of social. You have to intensify the interest to the point where your audience becomes compelled to act. Using a product page, for example, can generate a sense of desire.

      In conclusion, I too can’t stand marketing buzz words and I’ve written enough blogs on the topic here is my latest. Content Hacking: Being Your Own Victim

  3. Good Day to You Gabriella,

    Thank you very much for the follow-up reply and link to “The Power of Persuasion”.

    I couldn’t find a contact form or email address to use, so I’ll just have to tell you this here.

    I just published a new post that links to this article and talks about the video.
    The post is called “Who is your audience?”

    You have my web address, so I won’t add it here. No issues regarding “spam”. This is not a “sales pitch” or “promotion attempt”.

    I hope you like it. Please feel free to contact me to make any corrections or suggestions.

    Thank you again for the wonderful post and follow-up to my comment.

    My Best to You

  4. Good Day to You,

    The “whichness of why” is an interesting way to put this.

    What is our customer’s motivation?

    What are they trying to fix?

    Why do we go shopping? We are looking to FIX something. Even when we are just buying toothpaste, that purchase solves a problem and is the solution or FIX. We need toothpaste, period.

    What has value for our customer?

    How do we learn what our customer values?

    “People buy what you believe” is an excellent takeaway from the Ted Talk video. If someone is reading this post and you don’t have time right now, make time later to view it. You will be inspired to take a good look, not only at what your customer values, but perhaps question some of your own beliefs.

    Questioning our own beliefs is a good thing. It is how we learn, make a difference, grow, and ultimately, help others. Yes, HELP OTHERS. Their values, not ours.

    By learning our customer’s beliefs, their values. We can then help them make the choice that is right for THEM. Our job as marketers is to learn what that is and embrace it.

    We embrace what our customers believe they need to solve their problems. We can own our desire to HELP. Yes Help, by supplying our customer with the best FIX for what’s broken. By replacing the toothpaste in a way that makes it easy for them and provides at great customer experience.

    This is all inspiring and good, but leaves one question, that I will leave open, simply because the answer still eludes me as well.

    So, we know that we need to learn what motivates our customers, what they believe is broken and needs fixing. We understand that it is in our best interest as “sellers” to tap into that and grow with it.

    Let’s change this up just a bit, in order to make my question a bit broader, in order to focus specifically on Internet Marketing, by changing the word “customer” to “audience”.

    I’m asking this question because the questions I’m asking my audience are getting no response. I’m not even trying to “sell”, but learn. I know there are a lot of other marketers out there with this problem.

    Now my question:

    How do we learn what our audience believes, needs, and wants?

    My Best to You

    1. Hello Arthur,
      Thanks for your wonderful question. Let me delve into this a little deeper and share a wonderful link with you. Keep in mind, unless we really look at the overall psychology of your audience: like values, attitudes, needs and beliefs, you will have a hard time writing content that will convert. Bottom line, the value of what your audience wants is going to be determined by the demographic, gender, beliefs, value, etc. these can be easily seen in a few tools a free one would be Google Analytics… then there are other paid tools out there. Therefore, data, and research are going to be your friend in this case. Let me leave you with a great link take a look at The Power of Persuasion. Enjoy, and keep us updated!

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