Confirmation Bias – We Believe What We Believe
Who are your customers? What do they think and believe? Of all the cognitive biases, the most persistent is the confirmation bias. Even in the 1960s, researchers knew that people tended to trust information that confirmed their fixed beliefs. They also rejected information that did the opposite. The longer a belief is held, the harder it is to change. Confirmation bias affects everything from politics to purchase decisions.
In marketing, the most obvious thing affected by confirmation biases is branding. People are fiercely loyal to brands they already use. The fast-thinking brain trusts deeply-embedded beliefs when making intuitive decisions. Marketers know it’s difficult to convince people to try new products or switch service providers. It’s not impossible, though.
- Apple Succeeded with a New Direction – In 1998, Apple was struggling to gain market share for its computers. PCs running Microsoft Windows dominated the market. People strongly believed that Apple computers were just for “creative types” and not good for business use. Apple struggled with this persistent bias for years. Instead of continuing to try to fight PCs, though, it decided to try something new. They launched a new ad slogan, with a rainbow-colored apple logo: “Think Different!” By focusing on a market segment that was looking for alternatives, the campaign was wildly successful. Can the same concept work for your company?
- Go with the Flow or Buck the Trend? – Businesses often need to work with customers who have brand loyalties and closely held beliefs. Understanding an existing customer base and reinforcing its habits is a proven strategy. Still, unique businesses can succeed by targeting a different group. A different web design, different focus, and different approach can reach or attract a new audience. If every other business looks just like yours, it’s difficult to get noticed.
- Support Unique Consumer Preferences and Grow – Get to know your potential customers better. Take clues from your business history and feedback from happy customers. Analyze why your marketing fails to close the deal with other customers. Become aware of your own confirmation biases about your products, services and customers. Take a fresh look at the story you’re telling. Make your marketing concepts match the views of your targeted clients, rather than trying to change their minds. Speak their language and recognize the problems they need to solve.
- Competing with Popular Brands Often Fails – Pepsi tried to take customers from Coke through blind taste test ads for years. “The Pepsi Challenge” showed that people preferred a sip of Pepsi to a sip of Coke. Yet today, Coca Cola owns 18% of the market, while Pepsi has dropped to 8.4%. Confirmation bias among Coke drinkers keeps them buying that brand. To compete as the underdog, focus on areas where your brand excels, instead of trying to go head to head with competitors. Work to increase a unique market share, not to steal from theirs.
- Go After Customers Competitors Ignore – Small businesses often struggle to compete with market leaders. Smaller marketing budgets make the challenge daunting. Often, success comes when a business focuses on a different audience. By reinforcing a fresh set of beliefs and preferences, it can reinforce a different set of biases. Innovative new design concepts, fresh content, and use of proven neuromarketing techniques can make a business appeal to a fresh set of prospects, as well as a broader, overlooked population segment.
Neuromarketing – Uncovering How Consumers Decide
Understanding how the human brain works is neuromarketing’s focus. By applying that knowledge to web design and content, brain-aware concepts make online marketing attract, retain, educate and convert people better than traditional strategies. Neuromarketers study confirmation bias and other cognitive biases. They use the latest research to create more effective sales tools. Whether you focus on the same people your competitors target or on a unique niche market, neuromarketing gives you an edge you can take to the bank. How you sell is more important that what you sell. Contact us for a free evaluation of your current marketing and for fresh, new ideas that will help you compete.