The Depths of the Human Mind
As mysterious as the world’s oceans, the human mind has been an area of curiosity, wonder, and secrecy for centuries. Individuals across every kind of industry have attempted to understand this incredible organ of ours, both in an attempt to further their end goals and mankind in general. The difference between industries, however, is about understanding different parts of your customer’s mind, different brain functions, and having the inherent capacity to know where to apply those findings and in which ways.
In the digital advertising realm, as a growth hacking consultant, progress isn’t possible without developing a familiarity with how customers think. But as mentioned above, the key to understanding them starts with knowing which brain functions to study. And by brain functions, I don’t mean those related to eating food or procreation. I mean the actual way in which the brain works and processes things. One of the best ways to understand this concept is through the nature vs nurture theory.
Are our customers going to think and respond to content according to the environment they are and have been exposed to (nurture)? Or are their thought and reasoning patterns more reflective of internal variables, like appearance and personality traits (nature)? While behavior in the consumer market can be attributed to a combination of both, our job as brand consultants and audience experts is to pinpoint how much of which, and then to have “the inherent capacity to know where to apply those findings and in which ways.”
To better understand the nature vs nurture advertising approach, lets first break down what each extreme of the spectrum represents, and how you would go about preparing a digital marketing strategy around it. The key variable to keep in mind throughout this comparison is how the nature or nurture approach influences what we study about the consumer and how findings are applied.
As we understand it, the idea of being influenced by internal, hereditary variables, such as genes, is what constitutes the nativist side of the argument. It is implied that these individuals will behave in line with processes they’ve inherited. What this means for us, as brand consultants and advertising specialists, is that we have to pay more attention to factors like family and background in order to understand their buying patterns and customer profile.
By gaining a better understanding of what cultural influences have been passed down to the customer, by gaining more insight into the background of the customer’s parents and ancestry, we are able to tailor a messaging strategy that will resonate with them more effectively. At this point, you can conduct a basic targetting strategy now that you’ve broken down the type of customer you’re looking for. Now that you’ve learned more about them.
So, with nature, it’s all about making a message that compliments the actual customer. You are adjusting your message based on data that has to do directly with the customer and their background. When it comes to nurture, you are no longer looking inside the customer, but around them. It is your job to identify environmental factors and decide which ones carry more weight than others and strategize accordingly.
As brand consultants, the nurture approach can be either extremely difficult or fairly easy to execute. What determines that is how easily we can identify the environmental factors present in a customer’s landscape. Some customers make it very obvious, by being vocal about their followings and what they are interested in. But others don’t. Some choose to keep their interests and affiliations to themselves, preventing us as a digital marketing agency from understanding who they are and how to market to them.
The easiest and most common way online marketers and digital media specialists observe customer’s environments is through their social media landscapes. On Facebook, you can target people according to groups they are a part of, things they are interested in, and a whole bunch of other factors. The problem is, those groups and likes don’t always accurately reflect the user behind them. The fact of the matter is that we rarely edit or revise our online followings as much as we would edit and revise something like pictures. Because of this, marketers are creating messaging that a lot of the time is based on outdated interests.
Take an inventory of pages you follow on social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. Do those groups accurately represent the kind of person you are? If someone were to synthesize data from all those groups, would they be able to reach you on a personal level? If yes, then great. We need more users like you in the world. But chances are, what you follow on social media doesn’t represent the kind of person you actually are. As a result, we as brand consultants have to search for other, unique ways to interpret the environment you’re apart of.
What Kind of Ways?
The kind of ways in which we do that, however, are sealed in a radioactive substance proof safe, guarded by an over-talkative relative with too many stories to tell. So unless you want to hear about that one time Uncle Jerry ran out of hand-sanitizer at the National History Museum, you’ll have to schedule a brand market analysis with Rock Candy Media CEO and founder, Annie Jones, to hear more.
Whether they follow a predetermined path programmed into them, whether they are a composition of several environmental variables, or anywhere in between, we know how to read them, and most importantly, we know how to sell them.