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Why Marketers Need Social Science in Their Tool Kit

 

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We’ve created this 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.

In video 4, Why Marketers Need Social Science in Their Tool Kit, of a 9-part series, we answer the question, “Why should social science be a part of every marketer’s tool kit?”

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Hi, I’m John McGarr. I’m the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fresh Squeezed Ideas, and we help progressive marketers engineer breakout brands. So, we’ve created this 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.

Why should social science be a part of every marketer's toolkit?

One of the best examples I can give you is for one of our healthcare clients that market a treatment for an acute condition that is potentially fatal. There were two types of customers. On one hand, there are very vigilant people who own multiple devices. They keep them in all kinds of locations. They protect themselves very well. On the other extreme, there’s another type of consumer that is quite negligent. If they even own a device, they don’t carry it, and they’re always at risk. And of course, the client thought, well, if we just educate them–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. Not unlike how people live on a fault line in California, they think the big one won’t come; it won’t happen to me. That’s completely irrational. But, what happened was by allowing the client to understand that there’s no amount of education that’s actually going to change their behaviour, we were able to help them understand how to create a different kind of strategy that is aligned with their values, and they use humour, and they tried a 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, 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.