by Mark Goulston and Doc Barham
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
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
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
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
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.