How Digital Marketing is manipulating you, and why you should learn it

Many developers focus on the beauty of technical creation, where the main goal is to produce the desired features. However, I learned the hard way that if nobody is using your creation, then there is no point creating it. It’s a pure waste of time and energy. The solo developer that I am had to enhance its skills beyond programming, and especially towards digital marketing.

I will briefly explain in this article what are, from my point of view, the key points to focus on when creating any Advertisement promoting your product or service.

Marketing

Market-ing is, simply said, the art of promoting your product/service into the market. A way better definition that I would suggest is the one given by the neuroscientist Idriss Aberkane in its French book « Libérez votre cerveau » : « the purpose of Marketing is to make the desire superior to necessity« .

So the art behind marketing is actually mastering psychological behavior of human beings. In other word, marketing experts are very skilled in « manipulating » the human mind by playing with one of its weaknesses, which is its insatiable desire.

I might be shocking by revealing this hard reality, but that is the conclusion I came up while studying this field.

Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing

Digital Marketing is simple all the online marketing effort you are making to connect with your prospective customers. And as you guessed, Social Media Marketing is a subset of Digital Marketing and focuses on the process of gaining attention through social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & so).

Give them a reason to click !

For any online advertisement that you will create, your main goal will be to make the prospective customer to click on your ad in order to redirect him to wherever you need (that might be the app store, your online shopping store or whatever).

But to get a user click on your ad, you have to give him a good reason, more specifically a psychological reason to click. The main ones are :

  • fear : that is an unpleasant emotion that you will try to avoid by any means. That is, if your ad plays with fear, it might convert well (example : « if you don’t click, then… »)
  • scarcity : strangely, human being tend to act when any ressource is unsufficient for the demand. That is highly correlated to the survival instinct. That is, if your ad incorporate scarcity, it might convert well (example : « there is only # left… »).
  • curiosity : the human is by essence curious, that is a gift developed to learn and improve oneself. That said, curiosity is another interesting approach to convert (example : « you’ll never believe what happend »).
  • incentive : that will definitely encourage someone to act on something because the inner reason of incentive is to stimulate the investment (example : « I have # coupon for 50% off to give away »).
  • laugh : people are reacting positively to humour. If your ad can incorporate funny joke, it might bring attention to the user (example : « click to find out how the mouse hunted the cat »).
  • tell a story : storytelling is a communication method that particularly works well because it captures the attention of the customer through a story (example : « how 2 kids build a million dollar company »)
  • urgency : when you create a sense of Urgency, it pushes the user to act NOW, because you are offering a time limited deal (example words : « limited time, only, today, hurry, act now, rush, last chance… »)

For anyone who considers himself as an humanist, using psychological means to achieve your goal is really unhealthy. But there is always a benefit to know how you can get trapped into being manipulated.

Key elements for your Ad copy

Ad copy is the jargon for saying ad text. Whenever you are filling in your Ad copy :

  • you have to write for the CLICK.
  • focus on one and only one thought.
  • promise a benefit, not how they will get it. Indeed, what the customer will get is more important than how it works.
  • power question : asking a question might retain attention better than affirmation because they engage the user and make him feel part of the conversation! It also diverts their attention from the fact that they see an ad.
  • create a sens of urgency : we saw previously how urgency pushes the user to act now.
  • show scarcity as scarce is definitely felt as more valuable.

Conclusion

Don’t ever assume anything regarding your advertisement, always test multiple versions of an ad for the same purpose. As we have seen, marketing is highly focused on psychological behaviours. Fear seems to be the most influenced emotion in a human purchase decision. Indeed, people tend to resist buying products because they are scared of loosing money or making the wrong choice. The way you are presenting the value of your product should reduce that fear, or replace it by another psychological state.

OpenPark – solving the Parking issue in the city

Recently, I was the studying the Beacon technology, and more precisely the Eddystone format.

Beacons are cheap devices that could be deployed anywhere that has a meaning for your business, for the city but even more importantly, for the user. (If you want to know more about beacons, I gave a talk at DroidconParis in november 2015, so check out the video).

I also participated at a hackathon on Intelligent Mobility early October 2015 in Bordeaux, France. There, I exposed two solutions for solving a global problem that lots of cities are facing (regarding the Public Parking Places).

ITSBordeaux

I made the local news 🙂

Problem

I live in a big city, and if you are a car driver living in that kind of big city, you should probably know that it’s a nightmare to find a public parking place available. We often waste a huge amount of time looking for a place, we get stressed, we pollute, we generate congestion. That should end, and for good.

Solution #1

Of one the solution could be to deploy and glue Beacons on the field and thus, equiped each public parking place with a beacon. The beacon would have an extra proximity sensor that could detect whether a car is parked above it or not. Thus, we could have, in real time, a network of availability places in the city.
Based on this real time data, a simple mobile application could then drive you to the nearest public parking place in the city.
It is a cheap investment for the city (glue-ing a beacon on each place) but could dramatically de-congestion the traffic.

Cons of solution #1

The solution #1 is cost effective but has some limitation. Firstly, an enhanced beacon has to be designed. This enhancement requires R&D to include a power efficient proximity sensor on top of the beacon.
Also, the beacon has to be rugged so is won’t break out on the car’s weight. Also, it has to be protected from weather (snow, rain…). So this enhanced beacon requires some technical challenges.

Solution #2

The solution #1 is a good candidate for solving our issue, but requires more engineering. The idea is to find a solution that is simple and easily deployable. That’s solution #2.

Instead of deploying and glue-ing beacons on each public parking place, what about having a beacon inside each car, in the glove compartment ? This beacon would stay is the driver’s car and paired with driver’s smartphone. So, whenever the driver is parked and is leaving his car, his smartphone is able to detect that he is moving away from his car (because beacon is all about range, so you can easily detect that you are in or out of the range of your beacon).

Having this information, your smartphone knows that your car is parked now and that in this precise location, the parking place is no more available.
Similarly, when you are getting back to your car, your smartphone will detect the beacon and then consider that you will leave the parking place. This information could then be broadcasted and anyone who is looking for a parking place in the area could be notified of that availability.

What’s next ?

I highly think that this will solve for good the issue of parking your car in any big city.
In term of investment, the city could give away a beacon for each driver, for free. The investment is really low compared to the issue it is solving (less pollution, less congestion, less stress, more happyness).

If you want to be part of that adventure and make the world a better living place, please contact me, I would be more than happy to have your collaboration.