For those of you that follow this blog and my Twitter stream, I’ve been conspicuously silent for a couple of months now (well, except for that whole IRENE business). At first I thought maybe I was suffering from social media burn-out. I just didn’t feel like playing in that space. But I’ve come to realize it was much more than that.
When I started Verilliance I had been working in web marketing for several years, but missing my true passion of neuroscience and human behavior. Sure, conversion rate optimization, writing copy, and even design all touch on human behavior – how could they not? But I’m a science geek, and that part was lacking for me. So when I stumbled into the nascent field of neuromarketing, it was like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine. A science for marketing with BRAINS! I was excited about writing this blog, thrilled to be reading scientific articles about decision science and neuromarketing studies and then translating them for marketers and business owners.
And people were excited to read about it and discuss it.
So What’s the Problem?
It wasn’t enough. That initial excitement wore off because there were still some important pieces missing. I needed to step back and let the quiet in so I could make sense of what was still missing. Marketing alone wasn’t enough, I knew that. Neuromarketing satisfied my need for science, and yet somehow? Still not enough.
I started thinking about how both leave a bit of a bad taste in some people’s mouths. “Marketing” has become synonymous with sleaze and greed and selling us things we don’t need. And neuromarketing? When people (who are NOT in marketing) hear the word for the first time they go running for their tin-foil hats and eye me suspiciously from the other side of the room.
Until they hear my passion about the potentials, that is.
And there were my clues. What was I saying when I had the opportunity to expand with someone one-on-one? I was talking about all the potentials. See, what drives my interest in understanding behavior, or even understanding marketing, is that the way I see it, the better we understand those things, the easier it becomes to create win-win-win situations where quality of life can be improved for everyone. Ways of life that generate more health, more energy, more genuine personal contentment and joy.
“Marketing” isn’t a dirty word. We market all the time. Children market propositions to their parents for favors or things. Teachers market subject matter to children to get them interested enough to absorb and recall. We “market” ourselves to potential mates by putting our best foot forward on a first date. Marketing is a form of presentation and communication, and we all have to engage in no small amount of it in our day to day lives. Yet because well-done marketing is so effective, there’s a vulnerability to manipulation inherent. Manipulation is the dirty word here, not marketing, and it all comes down to intent.
When you go on that first date, are you really putting your best foot forward? Or are you, in fact, presenting yourself as someone you’re not? The difference can look subtle, but the reality of that difference is profound. And when I was taking time “in the quiet” to wrap my head around those differences, and what intersections of potential I want to find myself in, what it is I want to do with this blog, with my knowledge, with my time and energy, with my LIFE began to come into sharp focus.
Getting Clear on My Intent
I DO want to help people understand human behavior from the data of the various sciences that give us insight. I DO want to help people take that information and turn it into action to better “market” their goods and services. But WHO I want to help, and WHY and HOW is this.
- Every “good people” business struggling to gain traction against stiff competition with loose morals.
- Social Entrepreneurs and green businesses and Triple-Bottom-Line businesses and non-profits and activists and artists and inventors who aim to bring sane solutions to this mad-mad world.
- ESPECIALLY any of those above who get squeamish about “marketing” – THOSE are the people who most need to get it that understanding how people think and prioritize and make decisions MATTERS to how they construct their message. You can’t make change if you can’t REACH people.
PEOPLE, my point is this. There is massive potential to use these insights for both personal and far-reaching good.
Imagine With Me
Imagine how combining the power of insight from marketing, neuromarketing, behavioral economics, psychology, evolutionary sciences, neuroeconomics, and other such disciplines can be combined to:
- Help those who the world MOST needs to market themselves to do so successfully.
- Create paradigm shifts in who we consider our modern-day heroes.
- Create paradigm shifts in how people prioritize their spending.
- Create and market products that actually DO improve quality of life for people.
- Convince policy makers to pay attention to the things that REALLY MATTER for quality of life.
- Create far more effective campaigns to end human rights violations.
- “Nudge” people towards better behaviors for their own personal health and well-being and beyond.
- Combine technologies to come up with ways to rapidly improve brain function and well-being – like using the rapid technology advances of market-driven neuromarketing to intersect with brain treatments or even improvements.
- Make environmentally responsible products more desirable than toxic ones.
- Make healthy food more desirable than “bad” foods.
- Create a more sustainable economy.
- Enlighten the general public how their brain, wired for a very different lifestyle, can be vulnerable to certain not-so-good habits, and how to overcome that.
The list is nearly endless. The details of how are all right there in the data. Not all that much is going to change in the way I write the blog or what I talk about, but I needed this clarity to focus and drive the content. How about you? Are you clear on what you’re doing and why? Tell me about it in the comments.