The CMO Show:
Prince Ghuman on psychographics in...

Prince Ghuman, Professor of Neuromarketing, author, and CEO and Founder of PopNeuro, sits down with host Mark Jones to discuss psychographics in marketing.

80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences.

So how can marketers find out not only ‘who’ its customers are, as revealed by demographics, but the ‘why’ behind their buying decisions?

According to Prince Ghuman, Professor of Neuromarketing, and CEO and Founder of PopNeuro, the ‘why’ or psychographic data is the missing piece of the customer experience puzzle.

“Demographics can be simplified to say it’s a study of people, whereas psychographics go a step further and become a study of person. If you think about marketing, both psychographics and demographics get to the same goal, delivering the right ping to the right people with the right product at the right time,” says Prince. 

Prince says that the personal values and beliefs that influence customer decisions and behaviours are revealed by psychographics.

Understanding these factors can help marketers develop more holistic customer personae, and share brand stories that will resonate with their intended audience.

“Storytelling is connecting a speaker and a listener using empathy. Whenever you are telling a story, don’t tell it about a company. Tell it about a CTO within that company who champions your product. You need to show that you care more about one person, than plural people,” says Prince.

“It’s frowned upon to make an emotional decision in B2B, but ultimately, a lot of it is still driven by emotions.” 

Check out this episode of The CMO Show to find out how marketers can use psychographics to tell compelling brand stories and enhance CX. 

Resources

You might also like…

####

The CMO Show production team

Producers – Charlotte Goodwin & Stephanie Woo

Audio Engineers – Tom Henderson & Daniel Marr

Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au.

####

Transcript:

Host: Mark Jones

Guest: Prince Ghuman

Mark Jones: 

As marketers, we must know ‘who’ makes up an audience, as revealed by demographics. But all humans have personal values and beliefs that influence their decisions and behaviours – which aren’t revealed by demographic data. As we become increasingly customer-centric, and aim to craft impactful customer experiences through storytelling – we need to better understand the ‘why’ behind customer buying habits. So how can quality data help make your marketing efforts more human?

Mark Jones: 

Hello there, Mark Jones here and it’s great to have you with us again on The CMO Show. Our guest today is Prince! No, not that Prince, but Prince Ghuman. He is Professor of Neuromarketing, and he’s the CEO and founder at PopNeuro. He called me from San Francisco when we did this recording back in May. 

Like me, he’s an author. He wrote a book called ‘Blindsight: The (mostly) hidden ways marketing reshapes our brain’ and it talks alot about neuromarketing and psychographics, which of course is one of my favourite things in the whole world and part of the book that I wrote called ‘Beliefonomics’!

You know I think for us as marketers, it is really important that we move beyond demographic only as our primary source of information about audiences – how can we understand and harness the power of psychographics to create better campaigns? So I know that you are really going to enjoy this interview. Let’s hear from Prince Ghuman. 

Mark Jones:

Thank you for joining us.

Prince Ghuman:

Hey, good to be here.

Mark Jones:

Now, we can’t go past your name, of course. You share it with the late great Prince, the pop singer. I understand you got a story about this.

Prince Ghuman:

I do. I just want to say my mom named me Prince. You don’t give yourself that nickname. I don’t think anyone has that ego at a young age to give himself that nickname. Thank you, Mama Ruby Ghuman, if you’re out there somewhere listening to this. No, I just have a story. I went to a Prince concert here in Oakland, California. I’ve always been a Prince fan growing up. I got free drinks all night at the concert because my name was Prince. Every time I showed my ID unintentionally.

The sad way to end that story is Prince passed away a month later. Man, I know, Mark, you’re passionate about stories from personal brands to big brands, and you want to talk about how Prince is just an epic brand in and of itself, and an authentic one with many eyes. His story keeps writing itself. It’s pretty crazy, right?

Mark Jones:

Amazing, let’s dig into the psychographic side of it.

Prince Ghuman:

As a marketer for almost 15 years now, I’ve been part of startups. I’ve been part of OFX. I’ve been part of cryptocurrency startups. Then, as a consumer, every time we buy something, we’re consuming. There’s just this odd divide between marketers and consumers that I feel is unnecessary. There’s a level of distrust there. 

Prince Ghuman:

My passion right now is to bridge that gap, and the book is all about showing how neuroscience and marketing plays with each other. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. As marketers, some of us have data. Data is not just data scientists, but sociologists and psychologists on staff. You know a lot more than the average person does about psychology. The middle management, the middle midsize company marketer may not. There’s a lot of information there for that marketer to learn as well.

Prince Ghuman:

At the same time, the book is written to be consumer-focused. We want consumers to be educated on their own psychology and marketing. Look, all the marketers listening, I know I’m not the only one. We choose to be marketers. We love to ask the craft. It’s not art. It’s not science. It’s a craft of marketing. We want to charm people with our really cool activations and the stories we tell online and offline and our PR strategies and our actual products. As long as there’s distrust there, there’s always going to be this gap between us, the marketer, and us the consumer. I’m trying to bridge that a bit.

Mark Jones:

I see it as almost a classic good versus evil story, because we need marketing in all spheres of life. I think when we start talking about neuroscience, behaviour marketing, behavioural economics, the question is, are we being manipulated? How do we get this right?

Prince Ghuman:

You know, I think so much of the ethical conversation has to do with data. So much of creating psychographics comes from data. Demographics are not psychographics. You have to stitch together different pieces of data to get a psychological understanding of your consumer. At the most perverse end of it, some might say, “That’s exactly what was done to hack democracy.” Others would say, “That is exactly what it takes to create products that people fall in love with.”

Prince Ghuman:

Manipulation is never okay. There’s studies out there that show people who play golf with unnamed golf clubs do worse than the exact same golf club with the Nike logo on it. People jump higher with a shoe brand that they love and firmly believe will actually make them a better athlete.  If it’s something as subjective as a logo on your shoe has an objective impact on your performance, that is the power of marketing. It’s when we lie or when we do stuff. You remember FaceApp?

Mark Jones:

Yes.

Prince Ghuman:

That’s a perfect example of how marketers or pop-marketers got a bad rep from that. I didn’t feel good about being a marketer, because I know that the everyday consumer does not understand and they don’t need to understand the difference between a product marketer versus a brand marketer, versus a digital marketer. They just think a marketer did that. Now, they own the digital rights to my face, and hence, they’re evil.

Mark Jones:

So you’ll upload your face to this app. Then, it ages you.

Prince Ghuman:

It ages you. It makes you younger. It shows you what you look like as the opposite gender. The crazy thing was it’s not just my own photos. I’m uploading my mom’s photos. You’re uploading all these photos of all your family members and loved ones. As soon as they turn into a digital enhanced version, that company owns the rights to it. 

Prince Ghuman:

That is manipulation. I think that if you are a product manager or a CMO of a tech product that wants to do cool stuff like that, like a snap or a TikTok, there’s ways to go about that with transparency, and yet not being so insecure about scaring your consumers to run away. If you can’t let one of your consumers into your boardrooms as you’re discussing this stuff, then, you’re probably doing something that’s more black than grey. 

Mark Jones:

We look at FaceApp, and so on, because they’re common, and we can understand them relatively quickly. I actually think it’s the perfect time to discuss ethics, because I wonder whether our concerns, perhaps, even in the back of our minds as marketers, whether these concerns about ethics and privacy can actually hold us back from innovation, because we’re all sitting on these giant collections of consumer data. There’s plenty of apps out there that could help us make a lot better use of that for the right reasons. Really understanding how to navigate our way, perhaps, I wonder whether it’s holding us back.

Prince Ghuman:

You can go back in history and you can see a lot of adoption of technology or behaviour change and how it affects markets and capitalism and how it affects public policy and public opinion. So I think consumers are waking up to the fact that they gave away too much data. Just the progression of things, living in Silicon Valley, I’m in a bubble. I’m in a bubble because people talk about data, this data, that all the time. However, you forget that there are plenty of consumer facing goods, big billion dollar companies who don’t think of data quite that ritually.

Prince Ghuman:

They are starting to realise the power of data now. They are starting to figure out how to not give away their own customer data. My question to go back to ethics is, how much longer before consumers realise how valuable their data is? When they decide, “Hey, I should probably not give it away,” that’s when it actually spurs innovation, because business models will rise and fall. 

Mark Jones:

I suspect you’re referring to the tipping point idea, where it becomes a mass population type of conversation, right?

Prince Ghuman:

Yes, that’s exactly what it is. People get educated enough. Think about it, we all know cookies now. The lay person, the lay consumer knows cookies. You don’t have to be a digital marketer to know what a cookie is, because, at some point, regulation was passed. We, as consumers, are already more educated on digital marketing than we were 5, 10 years ago, when before this stuff was made mandatory. I think as that evolves, we will realise that a free Messenger app that looks at all of your data is a scary thing, where you’d much rather pay $1 a month for that. You’ve already seen this. You’ve seen this in adoption of apps like Telegram and Signal. You’ve seen this with adoption of browsers like Brave. Have you heard of Brave, Mark?

Mark Jones:

No, I haven’t.

Prince Ghuman:

Man, I bet you’re going to download it as we get done chatting here. The biggest information company in the world, Google, has a browser that is now the most popular browser in the world that is free, correct?

Mark Jones:

Yeah.

Prince Ghuman:

How do you make a better browser than Google and actually get people to use it? Well Brave said, “We’re going to give you the right and control of your data. You self-select that we can market to you. Otherwise, no one markets to you.” When you self-select, they pay you for your data. 

Prince Ghuman:

They pay you, again, this is where it gets a little sci-fi, they pay you on their own cryptocurrency that you can use. As Brave gets more popular, cryptocurrency gets more value and, in theory, should be able to spend that online however you want. Again, the fact that we’re even having this conversation today in 2020, on top of Telegram and Signal, which were out years ago, it just shows the adoption is slowly picking up. 

Mark Jones:

I think, whether or not the Brave browser is good, the biggest issue for consumers, I think, is free. I suspect that the trade-off has become so well-ingrained that I can get stuff for free online, I will give up my data. I will give up my privacy. We’ve been doing this for so long now. It’s got to take something other than, “I don’t feel comfortable about that anymore.” I don’t know if that’s a big enough motivation.

Prince Ghuman:

I think not comfortable enough, and also, finally finding a way to profit off of your own data, which sounds ironic. It shouldn’t sound so weird to us to say that out loud. It’s royalties of my data that you are using to create audiences like myself, and you are pitching me.

We’re talking about consumers being used for free and how that’s driving a lot of this behaviour. Let’s flip the script. Marketers, products, people, CEOs, CMOS are also used for free. Today, you’re a content company, whether you’re a HuffPo or an Upstart, you know people don’t want to pay for content. From day one, you’re creating a product that was built for free. You’re doing the same thing as a creator as someone else as a consumer. Best anti-example of that is medium. The monetization strategy, we’ll see if it works or not, it’s early. They waited a long time before trying to create any sort of revenue out of that upstart. They’re trying to do it in a way that’s similar to what you and I are talking about.

Prince Ghuman:

The rise and fall of business models comes. The timing, we’ll see when consumers start caring. Why are we still trying to sell stuff that people don’t want to buy for free? How great would Facebook be if they didn’t have to have all that code to track our movements? What other aspects could they charge for?

Mark Jones:

This is the same issue that media companies have had, since the advent of the internet. If I can get it for free, why would I pay for my subscription anymore?

Mark Jones:

It is fascinating to think about brands becoming media companies, which they are.  Imagine paying a multinational company producing content for that content. It’s kind of a mind-bender.

Prince Ghuman:

It is. It shouldn’t be, maybe, but it is. You think about Spotify. They’ve got an ad platform. They would be counted under one of the top 10 or top 15, last time I saw ad platforms for audio ads. Then, that’s a revenue stream, but so is their paid. Their paid is slowly a bigger chunk. They’re still creating revenue out of ads. I think that’s what it ultimately comes down to. As consumers, at least consumer activists, I think a realistic thing to aim for is having the option to pay. As marketers, we have to realise that there is a subset of very loud early adopters who want to pay for your free product, while they’re still a subset of your customer base that doesn’t want to. Why not monetize both, instead of having resentment built in here?

Prince Ghuman:

That’s where that distrust is. Why not actually come together, and build better products together as a collaborative thing? Why isn’t marketing collaborative between marketers and consumers? There’s the nastiness of persuasion and influence, but there can be a way to do it in a way where it helps both people out.

[Sting 1]

Mark Jones:

Well, I think it’ll be interesting to revisit this conversation in a few years and find out how many people wake up in the morning and say, “I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the marketer at my favourite brand today.”

Prince Ghuman:

That’s correct.

Mark Jones:

Nobody does that.

Prince Ghuman:

No.

Mark Jones:

In the future, maybe, there’s going to be value of why they’re producing such great content that’s relevant to me that I would give them a small amount of money.

Prince Ghuman:

Just to piggyback on that, Mark, I know that sounds absurd at the moment. Video game makers have had beta users forever. Technically, that’s a customer who is helping you build a product. If that’s too fringe of an example, you can create a Slack group. There are multiple Slack groups and Telegram groups right now for companies that are launching products. They invite all early adopters of their product into the Slack group. We’re under-estimating the power of the feeling we get as consumers to help somehow put our imprint on building something, in the same way, why is Wikipedia around and why is Britannica dead? Think about that.

Prince Ghuman:

In concept, people built Wikipedia themselves. That is a fully democratised platform. What I’m saying is, “Yeah, you’re right. We can come back in two years and see if consumers will help marketers.” I’m saying there’s signs of that happening already.

Mark Jones:

We do actually do have a model for that, which is I remember being paid as a teenager to go and blind test ice creams, which was just the best thing ever. 

Mark Jones:

I think we have that product testing model, which you can see very clearly transparently what I’m doing. I’m helping you build a product, which clearly, you will sell and make a profit from. 

Mark Jones:

I think when you start creating obvious tangible value, that’s the clever opportunities. Can I take us to the demographics versus psychographics conversation? 

Mark Jones:

Demographics versus psychographics is actually something, from my own book, Beliefonomics, the book I wrote recently really picked up on this theme. It’s something I’m quite passionate about in B2B marketing, because when you think about traditional campaign planning and management, we very much default to the demographic data and how we segment our customers by age, gender, location, and so forth. It’s very much ingrained. It’s marketing 101. From my point of view, we’ve been really slow to embrace the notion of psychographics. Given you’re the expert, do you want to just begin by defining psychographics versus demographics? You can probably do a better job than me, I think.

Prince Ghuman:

I will do my best, but I think it’s more fun if you collaborate. It is. It is. I think demographics feel more quantitative. I think psychographics are qualitative.  Demographics can be simplified to say it’s a study of people, whereas psychographics go a step further and become a study of person. If you think about marketing, both psychographics and demographics get to the same goal, delivering the right ping to the right people with the right product at the right time. Demographics were all an indicator and educated guess. Psychographics are a much more accurate guess. You look at age, sex, location, height, I don’t know, what have you. Look at all these demographics. They give you an indicator for a person’s, what I call, APIO, a person’s attitudes, personality, interests, and opinions. Well, psychographics get you there already, or they can.

Prince Ghuman:

There is this culture of demographics and segmentation. Ultimately, what is it really that tells me about a 22-year-old college aged adult who is in his fifth year of graduating undergraduate studies, and how I can market beer to him. All those demographics I laid out, really, are helping us guess the psychographic data for this person. Then, really, that’s what we’re pitching to. That’s why the adoption of psychographics has been slow, because it’s tough. It’s tough to actually go from demographic or psychographic.

Mark Jones:

Well, maybe, since you said collaboration, I would add to that thing.

Prince Ghuman:

Yeah, please, please.

Mark Jones:

The way I see psychographics, too, and I would agree with you, and I would add that, when we look at it through our value systems and our belief systems, that’s when it becomes really interesting. If I think about my brand, a lot of brands write a manifesto or what we believe. That might be, if you’re, for example, Tesla, that the world needs to move to environmentally sustainable transport, for example. It’s a very core belief that, “We’ve got it wrong. We’re going to go away from fossil fuels.” You’re looking for customers that share that belief. What are the different forms of neuromarketing that we can use? What are the different tools? What’s the research we can conduct to find out who are those people that share our belief that we need to move to a different type of transport, in that example?

Mark Jones:

Then, when you can tailor your marketing to people with those shared beliefs, I would suggest that’s level one. Then, level two is the people who are on the edge of that unsure, undecided, need to see a greater value. It’s those levels of sophistication as we move up the value chain or the set of beliefs where we sit on a belief journey, as I describe it.

Prince Ghuman:

That makes sense. I think you and I are just simply using synonyms to describe the same phenomena. What you’re calling beliefs is attitude, personality, interest, and opinion. Ultimately, we can call it belief. We can call it personal brand. We can call it associations, whatever you want to call it. Yeah, we’re more in agreement. We’re just using different words to describe it.

Prince Ghuman:

If I understand what you’re saying is how do we actually go about doing that? This is why the adoption is slow, because it requires having clean behavioural data, clean transactional data, and clean demographic data. Stitch it together, and have someone on staff. You need a team, really. 

Prince Ghuman:

You need a sociologist or psychologist, neuroscientist on staff, to stitch all that together with a small data science team to help get to psychological data. I feel like I sound like Mark Zuckerberg at the Senate hearing where every answer was AI or data science. The Senators are like, “Oh, yes, yes, sir.”

Mark Jones:

Yeah, good.

Prince Ghuman:

“AI, I think it’s called that. I’m good with that.” How do we get to that? There are certain tests that you can do. You might have heard of pain-frame or gain-framing? Is it a pain-frame that your consumers react to more, loss-aversion, or pain hurts more than pleasure feels good? What is appropriate for your brand and your product and how you package something small as a call to action, and what have you? Test that. That gives you insight into APIO or the belief of the person.

Prince Ghuman:

In order to come up with those tests, one of the ways to do it is go understand some of the foundational levels of psychology or neuroscience. Then, you can, as a marketer, and this is what makes it really fun, you can test this stuff.  Assuming you have good data culture, then, you’re able to tell, “I have loss-averse consumers. Well, what types of messages can I create for loss-averse consumer to come up with X, Y, and Z?” Or, “My consumers’ appeal to authority more than scarcity.” Those drive behaviours. Then, piece by piece, you build that psychological profile, but you need a data scientist. 

Mark Jones:

I think, from an app perspective, from a tech perspective, I don’ t know what solutions are out there. I think the scenario that you’re speaking about requires the assembly of meaning and insight from multiple sources. I know we’ve got the vertically integrated platforms in marketing. We’ve got point solutions and best of breed. Marketers are used to stitching this stuff together all the time, right?

Prince Ghuman:

Right.

Mark Jones:

The level of sophistication that’s required for understanding psychographics, a person’s value systems, it’s, as you say, you can do it, but it requires focus. I think one of the problems that we’re encountering as marketers is certainly recognition of the need to do that. If we’re honest, the time and the level of focus that’s required to get your head around this. It’s just not there. We’re in the digital marketing world where it’s metrics-driven, quantitative versus the qualitative stuff we’re speaking about. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

Prince Ghuman:

I agree with you. I think it’s hard. When I get on a role talking about all these different ways to collect data, it sounds very much like, “Okay, this only works for consumer facing software, or B2B software”. Everyone has a website. Some data is better than no data. You have some data there. That’s not to stop us from doing, to go back to what you said, the free ice cream test. Why is it that more people in companies that are small to medium size can’t afford psychographic team? Why is it that they don’t buy a pizza and have 30 people come into their office and watch them use their website? You talk about qualitative data. You can immediately understand, that’s one thing if the website takes one minute on site, and three pages per website. That still doesn’t tell you if they were enjoying themselves during those three pages in one minute, or if they weren’t.

Prince Ghuman:

If you actually watch them do it, you’re taking qualitative notes right there. Then, you can feed that into your psychographic profile. There’s an opportunity for marketing intelligence companies to launch pieces of software that do make it easier. We’ve made big strides in the last 10 years. I think that there’s a lot of opportunity here. You’re right, it’s difficult.

Mark Jones:

Even though both of us are actually violently agreeing that it’s difficult, at the same time, you’ve just alluded to something which is easy, which is, if you are already doing research with customers, so UX testing, for example, is commonplace. Get a bunch of people to test data at your website. Maybe, we just need to ask the right questions.

Prince Ghuman:

I love it.

Mark Jones:

How did you feel at the beginning and at the end? How do you typically feel? What’s your views on whatever the subject and area is? How easy should this be? 

Prince Ghuman:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that the UX department is probably way more open to qualitative testing, because they’re taught that, either in school or they learned it being in UX for a while. It’s ironic that, sometimes, marketing departments that are small to medium-sized forget that good old focus group, yes, there can be biases, but focus groups and surveys are still going to give you data that you can’t get looking at clickstream on Google Analytics. We’ve sort of, sometimes, easily fall asleep on that, because, you’re right, metrics don’t give you qualitative data, and it’s pretty easy. 

Prince Ghuman:

It takes work. 10 years ago, when I was a pop psych nerd, I used to read as many research papers before I wanted to break my keyboard. Then, I used to devour pop psychology books to understand the brain. Then, go test stuff in my day-to-day. That’s what I built my career on. This book, Blindsight, is all of that, at least the psychological blueprint from decision making to emotions, to psychographics, specifically, to subliminal messaging, all of that there. It’s not a how-to. It’s written for consumers to understand their psychology better.

Prince Ghuman:

A marketer reading it is going to get ideas. They’re going to learn a bit, avoid the ethical line is, how we started the conversation, they’re definitely going to learn just as much about what types of tests to take. 

Mark Jones:

Can I pick up on a thing we were talking about in that context is neuromarketing and making it accessible. I think the conversation we are having in marketing frequently is AI. How do you see those two worlds intersecting? Because it seems to me that, if AI is going to remain the narrative that we’re pursuing, neuromarketing, to me, feels like a subset if you like a geek pursuit that you refer to. How do we normalise the intersection of those two ideas?

Prince Ghuman:

I think AI is nascent, and that’s a good thing. I think that we have countries where policymakers are educated enough to help drive it without thwarting innovation. I think we have nations that are completely laissez-faire.

Prince Ghuman:

But I think there is a happy medium. I think neuromarketing, you can do the A/B test, which ad if you like more, or, you can put them in an fMRI. It tells you what part of the brain is being triggered by which stimulus comes up. If I say, “Hey, Mark, here’s an ad. That’s kind of cheeky. It’s sarcastic. What do you think?” You might go, “Too mean. I can’t sell shoes when it’s this mean.” Then, I put Mark in an fMRI machine, and I look at the part of his brain, and I’m like, “The nucleus accumbens is being tickled. That’s the pleasure centre. Mark’s bullshitting me. He actually likes this. I can see it in his brain.” 

Prince Ghuman:

Ultimately, as a marketer, that makes me go, “Mark likes it. 10 out of 10 people, whatever number there is, they’re actually being tickled at the pleasure centre. I’m going to go live with this ad.” 

Mark Jones:

I imagine you would have to pay people quite a lot of money to get them to do that to hand over that sort of insight. I think the challenge we face, of course, is, in reality, marketing budgets, particularly at the time we’re speaking, are certainly under pressure, if not decimated. I’ve got a view that really now is the best time to be marketing. I think it’s actually in really doubling down. That said, not everyone’s got the sort of money or the time, as I said before, to do the sorts of things we’re speaking about. I don’t know if you have any practical tips, other ways we can approach the same problem.

Prince Ghuman:

I do. I do. I think, yes, outside of getting a half a million dollar fMRI machines. Look as marketers, we now are part of the culture of testing stuff. We just need to think of more creative ways to test. That’s creative in terms of getting insights. I’m positing that learn about loss-aversion or gain-frame and pain-frame. Learn about the psychology of decision-making. Learn about mental models. All these are going to inform what you can test. Testing stuff on current customers is free. 

Prince Ghuman:

Maybe, it won’t take you two weeks, but there’s ways to go about testing psychological tests that give you insight.

Mark Jones:

I think that’s a great point. Remembering to test, to innovate. I think about it as how do I empathise with how they feel, think and about the things that they value, as we’re discussing. 

Let’s take a very quick detour into the world of behavioural economics. The interesting thing about that was that it is shown to have a benefit. Gallup found that companies using behavioural economic theories and practises outperform their peers by 85% in sales and 25% in gross margin, which is quite extraordinary.

Prince Ghuman:

Absolutely.

Mark Jones:

What’s missing in terms of marketing appetite for getting into something that clearly performs so well?

Prince Ghuman:

I think BE is how most people get into consumer intelligence or neuromarketing. You might fall in love with game theory, or you might hear about the power of default. There’s research both ways. Little things like defaults are important. Anchors are important. I think BE is having a moment right now. 

Prince Ghuman:

If you’re asking me if BE is worth testing, absolutely. Is it the be-all end-all? Absolutely not. If anything, BE is the tip of the iceberg. BE is sort of the appetiser that gets you in, because you will find value in testing anchors. Why do you have four versions, five versions of a product when you know the middle choice, has been proven by so many BE research. Little aspects like that. Absolutely, test them. But remember, BEs are nudges.

Mark Jones:

Let’s just talk briefly about the world of neuroscience as it impacts storytelling. Quite clearly, the role of emotion is key in storytelling, underplayed quite often in B2B marketing examples. Just keen on your thoughts on how marketers can become better storytellers if they applied neuroscience.

Prince Ghuman:

Gotcha! I’ll give one hack away.  It’s about empathy. There’s something wrong with human empathy. It doesn’t scale. Storytelling is connecting  a speaker and a listener. What connects is empathy. The neuroscientific research behind empathy shows that it doesn’t scale. Whenever you are telling a story, don’t tell it about a company. Tell it about a CTO within that company who champions your product. You need to tell that we care more about one person than we care about plural people.We empathise more. That is a small, simple storytelling hack for B2B companies.

Prince Ghuman:

You’d have to have customer stories. You got to have white papers. You have to tell whatever story you’re telling through one person. Immediately, the listener is going to resonate more, and it brings the emotional aspect in. It’s frowned upon to make an emotional decision in B2B. Ultimately, a lot of it is still driven by emotions. And that’s one way to connect with the audience.

Mark Jones:

100%. The behavioural economics shows that we are entirely emotion-driven, even in B2B contexts. What I like about your story there is the parallel to the hero’s journey. In other words, make the person at the company the hero in your story, and invite the listener or reader or viewer to empathise with whatever type of story it is. Rags to riches, whatever it is.

Prince Ghuman:

Joseph Campbell was right all those years ago with The Hero’s Journey. We’re just applying it more and more to B2B now.

Mark Jones:

That’s fantastic. Well, Prince Ghuman, thank you so much for being my guest today on The CMO Show.

Mark Jones:

I am buzzing with lots of ideas. I love the opportunity to kind of geek out on neuroscience and storytelling and how to apply all of these ideas to the real world. I really, really appreciate your time. All the best with your work and the book.

Prince Ghuman:

Thank you, Mark.

Mark Jones:

So that was Prince Ghuman. I hope you get a lot out of our conversation. It’s really heartening to hear just how creative marketers can get when it comes to leveraging psychographic data, and I’m particularly fascinated to see how neuroscience will play a greater role in marketing.

It is also going to be interesting to see how empathy plays a role in marketing in the future, because of course as marketers and storytellers, we want to get a lot closer to our customers, we’re looking to tell the stories of customers, and encourage them to be brand advocates. Of course, empathy is the best way to get there. 

I love to think about how in our fast-paced and digitally-driven world, qualitative audience data can be key to connecting with customers on a deeper, and more human level through storytelling.

So it is really interesting times, and it’s great to be part of this conversation. Before I go, I want to ask one thing – can you give us a rating on Apple Podcasts, or your podcast aggregator of choice. We just love to get that feedback, and of course you can share these great stories and conversations with other storytellers out there in the world. 

Also, if you have a topic or guest suggestion – drop the team a line at cmoshow@filteredmedia.com.au. We’d love to hear from you. Well, that’s it for this episode of The CMO Show. As always, it’s been great to have you with us. Until next time.

Get in touch
I want to Filtered Media.