At the recent Louisville Digital Association Digital Media Summit, I was finally privileged enough to meet one of my marketing mentors, Roger Dooley.

Roger Dooley

If you’re not familiar with him, Roger is the pre-eminent expert in neuromarketing, the use of behavioral psychology and neurology in marketing. In his presentation, he reviewed a few of the non-intuitive things that can influence consumer behavior and buying decisions, such as…

The color of a price influences men’s perception of value:

The font choice of a soup label boosted intent to purchase by 100%:

Along with dozens of other interesting tips, tricks, etc. in his book, Brainfluence, which I strongly recommend.

What does all of this mean?

It means that when it comes to optimizing our marketing, we probably don’t know the answer. We probably don’t know what is going to work optimally, because each audience is unique and different. Each offer is unique and different. Heck, the choice of a font on a label can radically change purchase intent, so what does that say for the dozens of other buying signals that we’ve come to rely on?

At the end of the day, multivariate testing is the only way to determine what’s actually going to work, what will truly resonate with your audience. Services like Adobe Test and Target, Optimizely, Maximizer, and many others can do this on the web. Any email service provider worth its salt offers multivariate testing built in, where you can test different combinations of creative, subject line, from line, etc. Even native social media advertising platforms allow for testing with different ad formats, copy, creative, etc.

In every test you do, consider having one hilariously bad test case. Nothing off brand or inappropriate, but a piece of content that looks like it came from 1999. A banner ad that flashes (remember Netscape marquee?), an email that uses huge block letter, etc. You might just be surprised (and perhaps dismayed) at what really works with your audience.

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