Every time an ROI driven decision maker ignores or worse, belittles or scoffs at the importance of human psychology and human experience, they leave billions of dollars on the table.
Like you, we recently read how Larry Page has ostensibly grown up enough to come back and be CEO of Google. With Page coming in to replace Eric Schmidt it sounds like déjà vu when Apple said, "Goodbye" to John Sculley and brought back Steve Jobs to revitalize its company.
There seems to be a pattern here of bringing in "gray hairs" to stabilize a creative but wild and erratic company, all the while "incubating" a founder until he matures enough to come back and grow the creative company after it's gained some stability.
What is it that Jobs and Zuckerberg know (and Google is hoping Page will know) that you (and Sculley and Schmidt) don't?
In 1999 I (MG) gave a standing room only, "no tech" presentation at the nearly completely high tech Annual Promax BDA convention in San Francisco. Promax/BDA is a global, non-profit association which informs and advances the role and effectiveness of entertainment and content marketing, promotion and design professionals. The annual conference is held every summer and has marketing executives, graphic designers, journalists, producers, and other notable individuals who speak about promotion and design in the entertainment industry.
With Microsoft, Apple, Chiat Day, representatives from all the entertainment studios present, why did little, "singleton," non-tech savvy me attract such attention? Since the convention focuses on the people who design the trailers and advertising for television and movies, I'm guessing my title was the grabber, i.e. "How to Create Gotta' See It!"
And isn't that what Apple/Jobs and Facebook/Zuckerberg know that you don't? Doesn't Apple know how to "create gotta see it, have it, buy it" and doesn't Facebook know how to "create gotta' sign up and visit ... frequently?"
They know that what you have is just the icing on the cake. What really sets them apart is that they also know how, why and when their target market is likely to buy or join.
And guess what? It's not rocket science. All it takes is a little understanding of human psychology. And that was what my Promax BDA presentation was about. In my talk, I had the following hand-out (as I said, no power point, no video, nadda except my single handout and my presentation and pardon the "shrink" term which I couldn't resist, being a psychiatrist and then adding psychology to marketing and advertising):
Essentially every customer and client is looking to feel and experience everything on the right side of the diagram, such as "Powerful," "Strong," "Pretty," "Smart," etc. and to avoid experiencing everything on the left side such as, "Powerless," "Weak," "Ugly," "Stupid," etc.
Now here's how you hook people. Show or communicate something that taps into what people are trying to avoid on the left and then accentuate it (which is a way of shelling them out of their denial and into the painful light of day and open to being influenced). And then have whatever your service or product does, provide an implicit or explicit promise that it will transport your target market into those experiences on the right side.
The more negative experiences you can drudge up on the left and the more positive experiences you promise on the right, the more compelling your offering.
For example, buy an ipad and go from "anyone" to "cool" especially, if you're one of the first and get to show it off. Or come up with an amazingly neat facebook page and invite any and everyone you know or have ever known or would like to know and, "Voila!" in your mind you've gone from "anybody," or even worse, "nobody," to "somebody!"
You don't have to axe a "grey hair" to revitalize your company, all you need to do is make sure that your products and services generates enough of the experiences on the right side of the chart above to "create gotta' have it."
And if you do "axe" a grey hair (are you listening Steve and Larry), do so with respect and gratitude. Without them, your company may not have survived long enough to give you your second chance.
Mark Goulston is Vice Chairman of the strategic advisory firm, Steele Partners and author of: Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. Doc Barham is a business advisor and owner of Full Spectrum Coaching. Together Goulston and Barham have formed Xtraordinary Outcomes which helps companies achieve measurable results beyond their imagination by deconstructing and modeling their best people so their capabilities can be given to the rest. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.