Silverpop - Subconscious Decision-Making
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Subconscious Decision-Making

Bill Nussey, Silverpop
by: Bill Nussey (@bnussey)
14 March 2005

So much of marketing, and email marketing in particular, relies on understanding and driving that split-second response from the people we market to. Good marketers test relentlessly; they make sure to use attractive graphics, easy-to-use fonts and, of course, compelling and relevant promotions. You've basically got just a few seconds to make your impression or the busy customer will move onto the next email (ad banner, search engine ad, etc.).

As much as we talk about that split-second reaction, do we really understand how it works?

Malcolm Gladwell, the author of one of my favorite books, The Tipping Point, has just released another excellent book called, Blink, which I mentioned in one of my earlier blog entries. Gladwell has once again discovered a profound pattern amongst the otherwise mundane decisions we make every day. And, like his last book, Blink has insights that are extremely relevant to marketers of all stripes.

The book's main premise is that much of our decision-making is done at a near instant, subconscious level. In fact, many of the decisions that result from deep analysis and intellectual evaluation turn out all wrong. (Gladwell tells the tale of how New Coke was born.) The book cites numerous compelling examples from subconscious racism to the way political polls work.

The book does not suggest that we cease our intellectual analysis for key decisions but, instead, that we recognize this new part of our decision-making apparatus and find a balance between the two approaches.

I think a revolution is taking place in the awareness of our true human nature. How do we really make decisions? What is instinct? What influences us and what scares us? If you think the answers to these questions are relevant to your efforts to reach out and build customer relationships, I strongly recommend you read Gladwell's book.




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