This weekend I read FREAKONOMICS with rapt attention. The authors, economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner, apply economic measuring tools to reveal, in a fascinating way, how and why conventional wisdom is oftentimes wrong.
The material covered in FREAKONOMICS could serve as Malcolm Gladwell book fodder for eons to come. And just as with Gladwell’s writings, the takeaways from FREAKONOMICS are not readily apparent, nor immediately applicable in a business sense.
While there are many lessons to be learned from FREAKONOMICS, I came away with four lessons learned I plan to use as a marketer.
Marketing lesson learned #1 … demystifying the assumption the amount of money spent by political candidates matter greatly in an election.
What really matters for a marketing campaign is not how much you spend on tactics. What matters most is what your product/service can do.
Marketing lesson learned #2 … demystifying how monetary incentives (and disincentives) results in changing one’s behavior in an unintended manner. [LINK: book excerpt on incentives and the dark-side of cheating]
Don’t think a customer loyalty program which doles out monetary incentives will alter consumer behavior for the better. Instead, find ways to base so-called customer loyalty programs on social currencies like recognition and admiration.
Marketing lesson learned #3 … how the diffusion of information eradicates the power of knowledge being a leverageable asset in business. [LINK: book excerpt on how experts try (and have tried) to use knowledge as leverage]
The abundance and availability of information today makes storytelling more important than ever for marketers. Storytelling, not information, is the new leverage-able asset in business. (This ‘storytelling’ story is one Seth Godin tells in his to-be-published book ALL MARKETERS ARE LIARS.)
Marketing lesson learned #4 … how conventional wisdom is a powerful story most people want to believe even when shown sound analysis to the contrary. [LINK: book excerpt on why drug dealers still live with their Moms]
Don’t try to change one’s conventional wisdom by marketing how your product/service upends one’s thinking — it’ll take too much money and time. Instead, success will come truer if you focus on telling your product’s story to people who are more inclined to believe your story from the get-go. (Again, this marketing lesson learned has been shaped by Godin’s LIAR thinking.)