Ask, and it will be given to you;
Seek, and you will find;
Knock, and it will be opened to you.
~ Matthew 7:7
On January 11th, 2010, about two weeks after my mother, Lezlie Linder, past away, I posted the above image on Facebook
. Now over five years later, I am again working on bringing Seven magazine into fruition and changing the nature of marketing and advertising.
Seven magazine is dedicated to Lezlie Linder.
Overwhelming clutter has made traditional advertising nearly worthless for most businesses. We live in a world that has become ad rich but idea poor. We are tired of being bombarded with ads—we want instead to be inspired by ideas that will change our lives. Ads may create transactions, but great ideas create transformations. Ads reflect our culture, ideas imagine our future.
Draft of the cover for the premiere issue of Seven magazine
The fact that people are tired of ads is demonstrated by the use of DVRs to skip television commercials and the use of ad blockers on the Internet. According to a TVGuide.com survey of over 5,800 respondents, 96 percent say they fast-forward through on their DVRs.“Ad blocking is beginning to have a material impact on publisher revenues,” says Mike Zaneis, general counsel at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a US industry body whose members account for four-fifths of the country’s online advertising market.
Paul MacLean’s “Triune Brain” theory, whose basic idea is that every human brain contains three independent competing minds – the reptile, the early mammal, and the modern primate.
Another big problem with traditional advertising is that it mainly engages the “lizard brain.” Whether you know it or not, we all have what Seth Godin refers to as a lizard brain. He says, “The lizard is a physical part of your brain, the pre-historic lump called the amygdala near the brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive.”
“The lizard brain is hungry, scared, angry, and horny.”
“The lizard brain only wants to eat and be safe.”
Godin writes in The Icarus Deception:
[T]he lizard brain is the resistance. The resistance is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise. The resistance is writer’s block and putting jitters and every project that ever shipped late because people couldn’t stay on the same page long enough to get something out the door. The resistance grows in strength as we get closer to shipping, as we get closer to an insight, as we get closer to the truth of what we really want. That’s because the lizard hates change and achievement and risk.
CLOTAIRE RAPAILLE, a French-born medical anthropologist and psychiatrist, is paid top dollar by American corporations to tell them what consumers want from their coffee, toilet paper, artificial sweetener, luggage, cheese and political candidates…. Consumers make decisions from the gut, not the brain, Dr. Rapaille maintains, based on the earliest memories of home and happiness.
My theory is very simple: The reptilian always wins. I don’t care what you’re going to tell me intellectually. I don’t care. Give me the reptilian. Why? Because the reptilian always wins.
One famous example of Dr. Rapaille’s work is the Philip Morris’s Archetype Project. Rapaille’s report recommended to PM’s marketing department the following findings:
- Stress that smoking is for adults only
- Make it difficult for minors to obtain cigarettes
- Continue having smoking perceived as a legitimate, albeit morally ambiguous adult activity. Smoking should occupy the middle ground between activities that everyone can partake in vs. activities that only the fringe of society embraces.
- Stress that smoking is dangerous. Smoking is for people who like to take risks, who are not afraid of taboos, who take life as an adventure to prove themselves.
- Emphasize the ritualistic elements of smoking, particularly fire and smoke.
- Emphasize the individualism/conformity dichotomy Stress the popularity of a brand, that choosing it will reinforce your identity AND your integration into the group.
Rapaille’s recommendations explain why PM supports—and advertises widely that it supports—restricting sales cigarette sales to minors and moving cigarettes out of reach of kids. Philip Morris promotes restricting sales to minor, but this is merely a tactic using human psychology to sell more cigarettes.
According to Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding
, billions of dollars of market research is being wasted because asking consumers what they want, or why they do what they do, is like asking the political affiliation of a tuna fish sandwich. We humans make the vast majority of our decisions unconsciously.
Even if we make the vast majority of our decisions unconsciously, does this mean that the reptilian always win? In contrast, Emile Durkheim described human beings as “Homo duplex,” or “two-level man.” The lower level is the level of the profane—the level of ordinary consciousness and self-interested pursuits. The higher level is the level of the sacred at which we lose our petty selves and become simply a part of a larger whole.
I mean that we evolved to see sacredness all around us and to join with others into teams that circle around sacred objects, people and ideas. This is why politics is so tribal. Politics is partly profane, it’s partly about self-interest. But politics is also about sacredness. It’s about joining with others to pursue moral ideals. It’s about the eternal struggle between good and evil, and we all believe we’re on the side of the good.
This perspective also helps explains the persistent undercurrent of dissatisfaction in modern life. Ever since the Enlightenment, modern secular society has emphasized liberty and self-expression. We exult in our freedom, but sometimes we wonder: Is this all there is? What should I do with my life? What’s missing? What’s missing is that we are homo duplex, but only our first-floor, profane longings are being satisfied.
The old model of advertising and branding was to improve public perceptions, and mainly focuses on our “profane longings.” The new model demands that companies improve public life and satisfy the needs of our higher sacred selves. To survive, companies must start nurturing ideas, not just pushing products and services.
Knowledgeable marketers understand that what worked in the past is not working (or not working well) now. A new approach is needed. As A. G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble and author of The Game Changer, told his executives, “We need to reinvent the way we market to consumers. We need a new model.”
The Game Changer
Did Steve Jobs discover that new model?
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
~ Steve Jobs
In 1998, Bill Gates “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft.” Today, Apple’s market capitalization is $683 billion, more than double Microsoft’s current value of $338 billion.
Apple made $18.04 billion in profit and $74.6 billion in revenue
for the first quarter of 2015. Those are both records for Apple alone, but there’s more: The numbers mean Apple just had the most profitable quarter of any company ever, beating out
Russia’s Gazprom by a neat $1.8 billion. Apple now has five of the top ten most profitable quarters. ExxonMobil has three.
Steve Jobs unveils first iPhone
Steve Jobs took a near bankrupt company and turned it into the most valuable company in the world by understanding the importance of human psychology in designing products and services, and also by understanding the need to address our higher sacred selves.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
So what does this all mean for Seven magazine?
In the first six months of 2012, Google raked in $20.8 billion in ad revenue, while the whole U.S. print media (newspapers and magazines) generated $19.2 billion from print advertising. Even if we need a new marketing model, given the decline of print, one might question the wisdom of introducing a print magazine.
Yet a Millward Brown study strongly suggests that greater emotional processing is facilitated by the physical material than the virtual. And a report by Qube looks into the pros and cons of print and digital. Unsurprisingly, they echo the findings of the aforementioned neurological study.
Print is best used for three things, according to the study:
- To build and maintain brand awareness (even if there is a shift to online).
- For more in-depth or longer pieces.
- When marketers want consumers to focus only on one item (as opposed to the multitasking of consumers when they read online).
Digital, on the other hand, boasts the following advantages:
- The greatest of the web’s benefits is the opportunity to interact with and listen to customers.
- It can be utilized as a quick testing ground to garner feedback:
- to broadcast time-sensitive, quick information bites to consumers
- to serve as an effective channel when consumers are looking for immediate information
At Seven magazine, we are developing a model to utilize the benefits of both print and digital, while also addressing the human element. And even though Google brings in more advertising revenue than all of U.S. print media, there is still weakness in Google’s model. In a TechCrunch interview Tyler Cowen proclaimed:
Google is an old business…. Google has never really been about human psychology.
Truly effective advertising is based on human psychology.
Whether or not you are convinced that reptilian does not always win, truly effective advertising is based on human psychology. There is very little human psychology embedded in Google’s technology and business model. Google approaches problems from an engineering perspective but what is needed to build an effective new marketing model is a human perspective.
Groupon and other daily deal providers give us more examples of a lack of the human perspective. In the year ending May 2014, Americans made 61 billion visits to restaurants
. That’s down from 62.7 billion in 2008
and flat compared to the last several year. Of the over 1 billion visits lost each year, the vast majority have been to independent establishments.
Groupon grew out of a social activist website called “The Point” to became the fastest growing company ever
with an apparently great idea that seemed to serve the needs of small business owners. “The Point” got its name from The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,
a book by Malcom Gladwell: “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”
The Groupon model lost sight of the fact that all businesses have Gold customers – a small percentage that provides 80% of their revenue and profit. The deep discounts of daily deals devalue these customers.
Instead of devaluing customers by offering deep discounts, small businesses can use database marketing campaigns. The basic idea in database marketing is to build a close personal relationship with each customer that is based on quality, service, friendship, loyalty, and communications. And, not based on discounts. You would not give a neighbor $5 for helping you move furniture. It would be an insult. Instead, you offer a cup of coffee or a beer, and 15 minutes of chat around the kitchen table. That is the kind of relationship that database marketing creates. Discounts send the wrong message: we are cheap guys whose basic product is overpriced. We want to buy your loyalty. We don’t care about you. We care about your money.
Database marketing campaigns identify Gold customers and develop programs designed to retain them. Resources that small businesses can not afford to spend on all of their customers. Profits come from working to retain the best, and encouraging others to move up to higher status levels.
Seven magazine will help small local businesses identify Gold customers and develop database marketing campaigns.
At Seven magazine, we are willing to take the time to understand the goals of local businesses and become strategic partners. What we do is strategic integration, which means starting right at the beginning of a project by determining the needs of a client and then planning how to meet those needs by whatever functions are necessary. Effective marketing starts with a better understanding of the media plan that ties to consumer touch points more than it does to the creative idea. Effective marketing that results in greater profits is problem solving, it isn’t movie making.
Groupon became the fastest growing company ever by apparently serving the marketing needs of small business owners. What would happen if a business came along that truly served the needs of local business owners and local communities?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.