We don’t like uncertainty. It’s not comfortable.
We want innovation. We like creativity. It’s engaging.
But innovation creates uncertainty. So while we say we want creativity and innovation we often reject it because it is new, different and risky. It takes us to places that we are not familiar with and places where we don’t have all the answers. The irony is that while we say we like innovation we develop a deep bias against it.
Interestingly, a recent study from Cornell University states that “Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.” In other words, our aversion to uncertainty means we find it difficult to even recognize a creative idea when we see it, focused as we are on removing the risky, uncomfortable strain on the status quo.
Consequently, new ideas are often rejected out-of-hand in favor of the tried and trusted at times when we need new ideas the most. This resistance is so strong at times that even supporting objective evidence may not help break down barriers.
The study concludes, “Our results show that regardless of how open minded people are, when they feel motivated to reduce uncertainty either because they have an immediate goal of reducing uncertainty, or feel uncertain generally, this may bring negative associations with creativity to mind which result in lower evaluations of a creative idea.”
If you want to change the world, get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
If you’re the type of person who shops only sale prices, think about this: Would you want you as a customer in your own business?
When I was growing up, my entrepreneurial family wasn’t motivated by sales. I was taught to not get excited about sale prices because nine times out of 10, you can always buy the item for that price. This has been a good lesson: Sale prices are often nothing more that statements of what you should really be paying for something.
And that is the downside to discounts: They can destroy price integrity with blinding speed. On the other hand, they can bring a stampede of buyers through the door faster than just about anything else.
That’s why business owners should have an uneasy relationship with discounts. They can be a destructive force, yet an effective way to drive sales. Most business owners use discounts too casually, thoughtlessly and often because they like the positive effects and do not fully understand the negative effects.
Consider: Is price your only competitive advantage? The thing to keep in mind is that offering discounts is a form of selling on price. When you offer a discount, you are taking the focus from the value you provide and placing it squarely on your price. There is no way to escape that. Continue reading
But what can they teach us about content marketing? It turns out, a lot.
If you want to thrive in the content marketing world, remember these important truths as revealed by the latest learnings on dealing with zombie hordes.
It’s pretty easy to take one zombie out. They don’t move very quickly, and they’re easily distracted. One swift blow with a blunt object usually does the trick. However, zombies in groups are intimidating, harder to fight off, and harder to outrun.
The effect is the same with content. If you write just one blog post or tweet, some people may read it, but then it could quickly be forgotten amid the rush of new content that’s created every day. For a much bigger impact, spread your message using multiple channels and link it all together into one unified social media campaign. A blog post that you tweet about, discuss on Facebook, and mention on LinkedIn will reach a much bigger audience. Your message will build on itself, creating a conversation that will cast a wider net than just a single post. Here are 12 things to do after you’ve written a blog post. Continue reading
You are not your target market. This simple sentence is powerful.
It is my best advice for recruiting volunteers. And on the plane ride home from BlogWorld, it inspired three more stories. Here’s the first one:
Are you hanging around with peers, or customers? I see many business owners or freelancers talking to their peers online and not talking to their target market.
For example, I hear photographers saying they are hanging around online photography forums. Unless other photographers are your target market, that’s not marketing. (It might be research or networking, but those are different goals.)
Think about (better yet, track) where you spend your time online. Are you talking mostly with peers? Do you spend your time talking with others who do the same thing? That time does not count as marketing. Redirect your marketing time to listening to and interacting with your target market.
Another way to find your target market online is to use a tool like Gist.com. Gather up email addresses for a small sample of your target. Go to Gist and look at their public profiles. That will give you a quick feel for your target.
I don’t like country music. I don’t like pop up newsletter subscription boxes. I don’t even like the idea of whipped cream flavored vodka. None of that should influence my marketing. What should? My customers.
What do my customers like? What music will appeal to them? Do they appreciate being offered a chance to subscribe to our newsletter? What flavored vodkas do they want to buy from my store? I can’t answer for them. I need to let my customers answer.
You let your customers answer by asking them directly, by measuring the changes in their responses when you change something, by split testing two different things against each other, by ordering the vodka and measuring sales.
Stop pretending your customers are the same as you.