That’s called behaviour change marketing, and with COVID-19 showing us that sometimes a fundamental shift in perception and behaviour is necessary, it ought to be one of the most popular digital marketing trends for 2021. So why isn’t it? Because if changing the way people do things was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Maybe part of the reason nobody can quite find the winning formula is that they don’t fully understand digital marketing psychology. So, we’ll be unpacking the idea of behavioural change marketing in this article along with some real-world examples of its success.
What is behaviour change marketing?
Ethos defines behaviour change marketing (sometimes called social marketing) as “strategies for convincing target audiences to not only change their mind, but also change their behavior.” Sounds about as difficult as changing the world, right? Well, it is and it isn’t.
Things to consider before trying to change the world
Have you ever tried to convince a stranger to do something? If you can’t find common ground, you won’t be able to construct a compelling argument. And without that, you may as well talk to a wall. When your common ground is a pandemic, it’s less of a challenge to, say, ramp up your email marketing during a global crisis. But it’s not always that easy to spot.
This is where a deep understanding of digital marketing psychology comes in handy. When you know what makes your target audience tick, half the battle is already won. Here are some things to master if you’re going to run one of the next successful campaigns for change.
Pinpoint who you’re targeting
The first step in understanding your target audience is identifying it. Sounds obvious, right? But be careful here. Often, marketers are blinded by the promise of immense reach. With something this nuanced, you’ll want to be as specific about your audience as possible. Think about it this way: it’s much easier to walk up to someone and convince them of something than to yell into a crowd “hey, anyone keen on changing their behaviour?”
Craft your message
Unlike that last example, your message should be crafted with care. Keep a few things in mind. Who is the message for? You’ve already identified that so this should be an easy one. Next, how do they communicate? It’s no use speaking to a Baby Boomer in Gen Z slang. And lastly, why should they care? The real trick to convincing anyone to do something is highlighting what they can get out of it. And when you think about it, that’s what marketing is all about. So, tailor your marketing strategy around your audience, and watch as you change the world.
Identify and change perceptions
Sometimes, convincing people that they can benefit from a change in behaviour is as simple as changing how the reward sounds. When selling physical items with impressive features, that’s easy. But is it that much different when you’re selling behavioural outcomes instead? No. Not when you realise it’s all about perceptions. Your audience may think they’ll get nothing out of whatever you’re proposing, but when you frame the benefits around their lives specifically, they instantly become more attractive.
Encourage small behaviour changes
Now, don’t get too ahead of yourself because the lengths people will go to for those benefits have limits, no matter how attractive you’ve made them sound. That’s why you’re better off convincing them to make a series of small changes rather than adopt a new lifestyle overnight. Encourage your audience to take baby steps and take the time to build their trust along the way. After all, when you’re on a journey of change with them, you’ll achieve far more “small wins” than when you’re barking unrealistic orders.
Do success stories even exist?
They do, and they’re everywhere. They become part of our behaviour “just because” even though a skilled team spent ages putting their approach together. One marketing case study is the Dove Real Beauty campaign that’s been around since 2004 and has played its part in shaping beauty standards today.
Dove: Real Beauty
The campaign was based on changing people’s body image by asking civilians if the regular women portrayed in the Dove Real Beauty billboards were flawed. Such a simple thought spiralled over time into a global movement, demanding inclusive marketing in the form of representation – showcase all the different bodies that exist. The ripple effect can be seen to this day in #bodypositivity all over Instagram, and Lizzo’s Tik Toks changing the narrative and showing that you can be physically active and still plus-sized.
Ultimately, behaviour change marketing is not too far removed from your festive promotion. The biggest difference? You’re selling an idea instead of something tangible.
If you’re in need of a digital marketing agency who uses evidence to understand and adapt to audiences, contact Rogerwilco today.
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