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Warning: You are losing marketing money by not using basic human motivation

By August 25, 2015 September 27th, 2017 One Comment


Were you part of the National Day Jubilee celebration?

All the fanfare, events, shopping, fireworks over the weekend, jamming up the MRT stations and free museums.

Looking back, I thought this observation can be interesting to dive into. What motivates people to brave the crowd and look pass inconvenience?

Perhaps I’d meditate deeper into this and apply it in marketing too.

2 Types of Human Motivation

During a leaders’ community learning session, we were discussing about the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation to serve.

“I’ll double your pay if you stay on and not join that super creative, anything-goes ad agency ”
“Yeah, whatever…”

A final plea from an Extrinsic boss to an Intrinsically motivated art director.

Intrinsic motivators act without external rewards. The motivation is from within.

They are motivated to serve because they enjoy it, take it as a personal challenge to learn, love to explore and want to see something actualized.

You can see this group of intrinsically motivated people thriving in the F&B, Service, Non-Profit Organization, and maybe even Creative industries.

They are basically happy just to serve people and excel in that which is required to fulfill their desire.

As an nosey portrait ex-photographer, I had the opportunity to dive deep with established chefs, top retail sales execs and creative designers during my shoot with them.

Almost all of them have this in common.
Motivated by the challenges they face;
• Loves the opportunity and freedom to explore for solutions;
• Preserver till the solution crystalized.

All so that they may see a smile on the end users.

I guess that’s their core mission in life. To make someone’s day.

None of them place monetary reward, power and recognition as the key motivator. For them, these rewards are byproducts for their passion to serve.

“They are not human! Slogging for such a pay with no obscene performance bonus like mine?”

Anonymous banker

*I’ll write about Extrinsic Motivators next week.

Connecting Human Motivation to Marketing

Being curious, I try to relate human motivation to the open rate of my newsletter.

Most of the newsletters that yield higher open rates have headlines that appeal to the Intrinsic motivators.

The headlines invoke curiosity and/or a desire to discover.

Those ‘How To’ and ‘Why’ topics that touch on work or business challenges.

Conversely, headlines that try to poke on a personal level ( …your real market worth; Are you perceived as a …) have less than half the usual open rate!

How intriguing!

Perhaps Intrinsic Motivators have high self-worth and would protect themselves from any potential negative influence?

Knowing the Motivation type = Better Online Marketing result?

Seriously, I do not know. I don’t have any Permanent Head Damage (PhD) in this area.

However, the fact that you actually open this email based on the subject line could show that you may be an Intrinsic Motivator.

I didn’t attract you with a 50% discount. Just a simple 5-word question to make you curious.

Knowing your target audience can help you get a better response rate or Click-Thru-Rate (CTR) and higher conversion.

Let’s image the following made-up product:

• $1,499 Intelligent educational toy for parent and child bonding;
• Target audience Stay-home-mums who gave up high 4 to 5 figure salary to look after their kids;
• Advertise on multiple mummy Facebook groups.

Which of the following advertisement headlines do you think will get a better CTR?

1. The smartest decision ever. Raise your kid IQ. Save $200.00

2. Develop a stronger bond with your kid with ease. Discover how.
Again, I won’t have a straight answer unless I do a spilt test and provided there’s such a client.

Being Singaporeans who want kids to be some kind of scholars, the $200.00 savings seems attractive. So there will be lots of Extrinsic clickers for Ad #1.

However, once they reach the landing page, the high price point may turn many off.

As money is one of the key motivation for Extrinsic folks, the relatively small discount can also be a huge discouragement for them. (More on Extrinsic Motivators next week)

This leads to wasted clicks, lower conversion.

As for Ad #2, it is tuned to speak to Intrinsic Motivators. Mums who like to serve (the family) just because it gives them joy and fulfillment.

The relatively high price point won’t be a big barrier in closing the deal. Consider the possible life savings from her previous career*.

The prospect of discovery and learning together with the child to forge a stronger bond would be the greatest motivation for them.

*Extra tip. Most married women work to keep their salary as savings and personal use. Salaries of married men go to the family.

Summary on Marketing to Intrinsic Motivator

In closing, an ad that may receive relatively lesser clicks can be of higher value. This also translates to more efficient advertising cost.

This is made possible because of the clearer understanding on the motivation the targeted audience may have.

Know your specific audience well (niche), write the ad for them and see better sales conversion (and lower ad cost!) .

Here is the summary for marketing to Intrinsic Motivators again.

• Write your headline to appeal to their inner desire to explore and learn, to enjoy the process;
• The motivation comes from within themselves;
• External stimulant won’t work well or at all (skip discounts, free gifts and praise)

Next week, we’ll take a look at Extrinsic Motivators.

p.s. I suspect not many of you here are Extrinsic Motivators. But still do open the email to read yeah.

Everything is possible,
Intrinsically Motivated Kok Wai

Kok Wai

Author Kok Wai

Kok Wai is a content producing marketer, media trainer at Kelvin Sng Productions, a dad of two and photography contributor to multiple magazines. A sponsor of B60 Charity Run 2017, Kok Wai's goal is to help busy and ambitious business owner focus on running their business even with their limited time and lack of marketing know-how. He especially loves kids, playing the guitar, and exploring with software. You'll find him pondering on the exhilaration of securing two more good clients on a retainer basis. Connect with him on Facebook (thePF)

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