Home Articles How to use human selfishness to fire up your marketing

How to use human selfishness to fire up your marketing


Have you ever wondered why some companies seem to be more successful with their marketing than others? No matter what business you are in, it’s likely that there are millions of messages all competing for the attention of your target markets.

Yet, only some messages produce the results companies set out to achieve.

How do successful companies do it? Is it chance, coincidence or luck?

Effective marketing design requires more than just technical knowledge and an eye for what is beautiful or attractive. How a design can effectively engage the mind and influence human behaviour is far more important than simple aesthetics.

Understanding how the brain influences human behaviour can give you insight into how to approach graphic design from a different perspective.

This is the premise for my eBook (linked below) and this blog series (the first of which you are now reading).

While there are various ways to create a successful design strategy – you could benchmark against the competition, use focus groups, study statistics or look at other forms of research – the most important foundation for creating your design strategy hinges on your understanding of how the brain works.

What’s in it for me?

‘What’s in it for me?’ is the common response to any marketing material your audience receives. It’s also an apt place to start this blog series.

(I’m assuming that you’re reading this to get better at whatever you do – as a business owner, designer or marketer – and not for altruistic reasons.)

Self-focus is something that comes naturally to humans and, therefore, your customers.

3msecurityglassWhat better way to articulate how marketing can be used to exploit this trait than 3M Security Glass’ bus shelter campaign (right), created by Rethink in Canada.

Between two sheets of its bullet-proof coated transit glass, 3M deposited $3 million dollars worth of fake bills with a few real bills on top.

How many people would this campaign have stopped in their tracks? How many would have been left with a lasting impression about the strength of 3M’s security glass as a result of this campaign?

While we often don’t like to admit it, most people are motivated by selfish causes.

While you might not be able to rustle up $3 million for your next campaign, there are some less grandiose methods to trigger those ‘selfish’ tendencies.

Try using the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ when writing copy. The more the reader finds that the message directly involves them, the more they will connect with your marketing and it’s more likely they will be converted into customers.

When using testimonials and case studies, the more personal information you can provide, the more likely it will be that similar people will connect and believe the testimonials. For this reason, including not only a name, but a photograph, location and age can often help.

And never forget, your marketing materials should never be about you, unless they answer that other vital question first: What’s in it for me.

Next: Understanding perceptions of value.

Image: ronnieliew

human-behaviour-v1Wes Towers is founder of Omnific Design, a graphic and web designer business who understand good design is not only aesthetically appealing, but more importantly, an influential communication tool in branding and marketing. www.omnificdesign.com.au

To download the free eBook, click here.