Marketing for Dummies with Jeanette McMurtry

Episode 14. Today, we are speaking with the always-dynamic Jeanette McMurtry. Jeanette is the Chief Marketing Officer at e4 Marketing and is the author of the popular Marketing for Dummies collection and has recently published her latest book, Triggering the Unconscious Mind for Unthinkable ROI. Today, she will discuss the complexities of consumer psychology, the need for trust and authenticity, and how to develop emotionally driven marketing strategies.

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Grab a coffee and take it all in.

 

[Michael Chase]
A lot of what you talk about is this world of the unconscious mind, and in your new Marketing for Dummies book, you talk about the fact that marketers only really tap into, let’s call it, 10% of the conscious mind, and we forget this whole world of the unconscious. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
We really are wasting about 90% of our budget if we are marketing to the conscious mind, which is the rational side of our brain, and that’s the brain that’s like, “Okay, this price versus that price,” or, “That product versus that product.” That’s only a very small amount of the influence when it comes to making a choice between one brand or another. How we make choices is with the other 90%, which is the part of our mind that governs our feelings, our attitudes, our belief structures. That’s what drives choice. Again, most marketers are missing the mark and only marketing to 10%. Think about the waste.

[Michael Chase]
How do brands go about targeting the unconscious mind then?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
The first thing anyone needs to know who’s a marketer is how to make someone feel in a way that makes them want to engage with their brand. That’s why we’ve seen Chief Marketing Officers being replaced by Chief Experience Officers because when you can make a customer feel awesome or make them feel good about themselves or feel like they can go out and conquer the world and become everything they become of dreaming, that’s when you engage with them, and that’s about the experience. It’s not about the price you’re offering. It’s not about the convenience you’re offering. It’s not about the things that customers expect. The challenge of a brand now is to tap into what really matters to people.

[Michael Chase]
What have you seen out there, and what kind of brands are doing that type of marketing today and doing it well?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
I hate to use the brand that everyone always references, but I will. Apple has done a very good job with this, and so do brands like Nike. Just Do It. How aspirational is that? With Apple, there’s no so-called slogan or mantra that they go by. It’s their visuals of how you feel, making you feel like you can do anything you want to do, and you can be that person, and you can create, and the powerful ways that they present their products in terms of not the function but what it means to you and your journey and your life and your goals. When a brand can do that, people start to think about what you do for them as a partner, again, not just a vendor or supplier.

I was successful enough at doing this for a company that sells driveways. I mean, how emotional is a stone driveway? The owner of the company asked me, “Can you make this more aspirational? What can you do to make my product more emotionally engaging?” I did a lot of research and discovered that, yeah, we kind of think of our home like we do our family, and your house is like your spouse at some point in the journey. When you first get married, your spouse is perfect. Just like when you first move into a new home, it’s perfect too, and over time, we see flaws. How do we learn to love our spouse again, and how do we learn to love our home again? I was able to do a campaign helping people learn to love their home again, and we achieved a 3000% ROI because we made them feel something about a nonemotional product, and suddenly, that driveway became a lot more than just a place to put your car. It became an expression of who they were, what they’ve achieved in their life, and what kind of personality they had.

[Michael Chase]
We’ve got dashboard upon dashboard for marketers today that track all kinds of things to ROI, but how do we track the unconscious mind today?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
That’s a really good question, and it’s a really difficult one because you really can’t go and ask somebody, “How are you feeling today unconsciously?” They’re not going to know how to answer that question, but what we need to do is you need to be able to create what I call ESP surveys or questions about the emotional value of your product. If somebody says, “Oh, yeah. I’m a real believer in the environment. I’ll do anything to preserve the environment. I’m one of those tree-huggers. That’s really important to me,” but yet, down the survey, they’re not willing to donate a dollar a month to help prevent the environment from going bad? Maybe that kind of gives you a glimpse as to who they think they are versus who they really are.

As marketers, we need to learn how to put together emotionally-powerful surveys to help us find those inconsistencies, and that can really help you to understand what they’re willing to do consciously and unconsciously. It takes a little bit of time to master that, but it can be done.

[Michael Chase]
What are you finding is the most successful way to tackle that today?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
A lot of marketing with dopamine. I’m from Colorado where we legalized pot before anybody else did, so I call it marketing with dope, just for fun, but it really works because if you look at what really drives human behavior, it’s the neurotransmitters or it’s the hormonal changes in our mindset that create feelings and create motivation and cause us to behave. Dopamine is the most powerful neurotransmitter. It’s the same kind of feeling we get with oxytocin when we start to fall in love and we start to feel appreciated, we start to feel like someone values us. When marketers can create a dopamine rush and an oxytocin rush, that’s when they become the brand of choice for life. Price never matters. Even problems don’t matter. Inconsistencies in customer service don’t matter because what overrides absolutely everything is how you make someone feel about themselves.

[Michael Chase]
I’ll go in a way-back machine. I wrote my thesis for medical school on the dopamine hypothesis and it’s been amazing to watch how it’s started to play into the world of marketing and started to drive triggers, but when you talk about dopamine and how we’re humans at the end of the day, and we respond to things, how does that work when it comes to trust and brand trust today?

[Jeanette McMurtry]
That’s a really good question because without trust, you cannot do any of the things I’ve been talking about so far. The thing about trust is that no one trusts your business, and you have to believe that. You have to understand, especially if you’re in financial services, no one trusts you; however, when you can be very transparent and you’re basically willing to open your books, tell your customers what your values are, what your mistakes are, how you’re going to solve problems, you start to build trust.

Trust isn’t about saying, “Trust me,” because if anyone says, “Trust me,” I don’t. If you have to tell me that, then what you are hiding? One of the things that’s the most important thing that brand can do right now is CSR. Your corporate social responsibility is your number one way for building trust. It’s what you do to make the world a better place. If you don’t really care to make your community stronger, better, and enable their lives to be better, then you really don’t care about your customer. It’s through your actions, not your words, that you build trust.

[Michael Chase]
What are your thoughts on social media when it comes to targeting the unconscious because obviously, that’s a fine line, and it’s a dangerous one.

[Jeanette McMurtry]
Oh, where the danger is, is we’ve gotten to be a culture of clickbait. You think that the cheesy magazines and the tabloids are the only ones doing clickbait. Oh, no. Brands are very, very guilty of this too because we are so desperate to get people to click on our social media post and click through to the website to read the article and all the things that we do to capture their data so we can continue to follow up. All it takes is once. When you set me up to think that I’m going to be getting something that I’m not really going to get and you’re really trying to sell me something when you are making me think you’re trying to inform me and involve me, I’m done because there’s so many different options, so it has to be, we have to be really careful. Make sure your social media stays in the line of informing, involving, and educating because as soon as you start using social media to sell, sell, sell, you’re done.

[Michael Chase]
What do you think the one thing that brands can do to help transform the way they engage with people.

[Jeanette McMurtry]
Be real. The problem with all this technology we have is that we can project to be a certain type of person or a certain type of brand that we really aren’t. Because we can’t see behind the screen. You’ve got to be sincere and be consistent. Brands like Patagonia and Toms and others that have a purpose and vision and they live it, with everything they do. Those are the Brands that are going to succeed, not just now but also in the long-term.

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