Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Persuasive Power Of Face To Face

Think of the most persuasive person you know. The salesperson you can't say no to, your mother (guilt always works), your spouse or your six-year-old child. Now, imagine if you had never met the person in person and they were trying to persuade you over the phone, or by email. Would they be as persuasive? No. Persuasion just don't work as well if you're not face to face

Hardwired for Face to Face

Robert Cialdini wrote an entire book on the " Psychology of Persuasion." He explains the hot buttons that get pushed, moving us toward doing something we might not otherwise have done. But if you look through all the persuasion buttons, one thing is true: they all work much better when you're face to face.

Let's take just one: reciprocity. Reciprocity, you scratching my back and me scratching yours, is a gut instinct for us. In fact, many of our treasured social institutions, including economic markets and the justice system, are based on our emotional connection to the concepts of reciprocity and fairness. Every single major faith has its own variation of the Golden Rule, which is reciprocity enshrined. But reciprocity is far more potent if the social conditions are set up in person. Political scientist Robert Putnam calls this "thick trust" as opposed to the "thin trust" represented by anonymous rules, law and mores. Study after study shows that even a simple act of giving makes the recipient feel indebted. Something as basic as asking how someone's day is going makes one feel indebted and more likely to give something back. It's one of the most powerful persuasion buttons you can push.

Another inherent human trait is empathy. We have an amazing ability to pick up on the emotions of others. We have a special type of neuron, called mirror neurons, that seem to be the seat of empathy. Mirror neurons explain why emotions can be contagious, why monkeys that see tend to be monkeys that do -- and why, when you're talking with someone, you find yourself subconsciously mimicking their actions or even their accent. Mirror neurons aren't found in every animal. So far, they've been discovered in just a few primates, including us humans. Mirror neurons may be why the more you like someone, the more empathetic you are, leaving you more open to persuasion

What This Means for Selling Online

Somewhere along the line, face-to-face contact seemed to be considered superfluous in our new online world. We moved to virtual sales, commerce transacted at a distance, electronically, with nary a handshake, a wink, a smile or an eye roll to be seen. In theory, it should work, but in practice, it leaves a lot to be desired. We were not designed to communicate electronically. We can and do adapt to it, but like any instrument designed for a specific purpose, things just work better when we do what we were made to do. And we were made to connect with others in person.

We're in the middle of an extensive research project exploring B2B buying and decision-making, and this lack of human contact in online sales strategies proved to be a huge obstacle to success. B2B buying is all about building trust and eliminating risk. It's pretty difficult to build trust with someone you've never met. That's not to say that electronic communication isn't effective, but the social foundations have to be built in person. Research has shown that on Facebook, the vast majority of close "friends" that people keep are all people they know and have met face to face. You can find ideological common ground with someone over the Net, but the bonding happens when you can look in their eye and read their body language.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Consumers Want Proof It's Green

According to the new BBMG Conscious Consumer Report: Redefining Value in a New Economy, 23% of U.S. consumers say they have "no way of knowing" if a product is green or actually does what it claims. But, 77% agree that they "can make a positive difference by purchasing products from socially or environmentally responsible companies," and they are actively seeking information to verify green claims.

To find the necessary information, consumers are:

  • most likely to turn to consumer reports .....29%
  • most likely to look at certification seals or labels on products .....28%
  • most likely to consider the list of ingredients on products .....27%
  • least likely to look to statements on product packaging .....11%
  • least likely to believe company advertising .....5%

Raphael Bemporad, co-founder of BBMG, says "... consumers are redefining what truly matters and evaluating purchases based on both value and values... by delivering... price, performance and purpose... brands will be able to close the green trust gap... "

Key findings from the Conscious Consumer Report (2009):

  • 67% Americans agree that "even in tough economic times, it is important to purchase products with social and environmental benefits"
  • 51% say they are "willing to pay more" for them
  • 66% say price very important in purchase decision
  • 64% look for quality
  • 55% want "good for your health"
  • 49% look for "made in the USA"

Green benefits have increased in importance since last year, says the report:

  • Energy efficiency (47% very important in 2008, 41% in 2007)
  • Locally grown or made nearby (32% in 2008, 26% in 2007)
  • All natural (31% in 2008, 24% in 2007)
  • Made from recycled materials (29% in 2008, 22% in 2007)
  • USDA organic (22% in 2008, 17% in 2007)

When asked unaided which companies come to mind as the most socially or environmentally responsible companies:

  • 7% of Americans named Wal-Mart
  • 6% said Johnson & Johnson
  • 4% Procter & Gamble
  • 4% GE
  • 3% Whole Foods

Asked to name the least responsible companies:

  • 9% named Wal-Mart
  • 9% said Exxon Mobile
  • 3% GM
  • 3% Ford
  • 2% Shell
  • 2% McDonald's

41% of Americans could not name a single company that they consider the most socially and environmentally responsible. And:

  • 71% of consumers agree that they "avoid purchasing from companies whose practices they disagree with"
  • 55% tell others to shop products based on a company's social and environmental practices
  • 48% tell others to drop products based on a company's social and environmental practices

Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of BBMG, concludes that "At a time of... growing demand for accountability, ... consumers are rewarding brands that align with their values... punishing those that don't... and spreading the word with their family, friends and peers... "

For more information, and access to purchase report from BBMG, please visit here. article found on

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trending Up: Nielsen Says Online Video Usage Soars

Online video continues to expand -- now up 40% versus the same levels a year ago.

Nielsen Online says March's 9.6 billion streams and 130 million Web users are a 38.8% hike over March 2008. Total streams for viewers during March were at an average 74.4 with the total time per viewer, in terms of minutes, at over three hours per month -- 190.7 minutes.

Nielsen says the total time per viewer in March -- which includes progressive downloads but excludes video advertising -- was up a big 12.6% versus February. This seems to suggest -- as other research has found -- that users are watching longer-length videos.

YouTube, the big Internet video site, continues to dwarf the competition in two big key areas -- 5.5 billion streams and 89.4 million unique viewers.

Among streams, the next-biggest site after YouTube is at 348.5 million. Yahoo comes after that at 231.8 million; Fox Interaction Media (which includes MySpace)is 207.5 million; Nickelodeon, 196.1 million;, 176.9 million; MSN/Windows Live, 168.9 million; Turner Sports/Entertainment, 137.6 million; MTV, 123.8 million; and CNN, 103.5 million.

Among the unique viewers, Yahoo came in second at 24.8 million, followed by Fox Interactive Media (which includes MySpace) at 14.7 million, and MSN/Windows Live at 12 million. CNN was next at 9.0 million;, 8.9 million;, 6.9 million; Nickelodeon, 6.4 million; MTV Networks, 6.3 million; and Turner Sports/Entertainment at 5.8 million.

written by:
by Wayne Friedman, Monday, April 13, 2009, 4:07 PM
found here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Newspapers Online Bigger Than Local TV... In Video Ad Revenue?

It's bad enough both newspapers and local TV stations are getting kicked around in this economy (and, in the case of newspapers, even when the economy was good.)

But now comes word old-media newspapers actually beat newer-media local televisions in overall revenue when it comes to -- are you ready for this? -- video advertising revenues!


Borrell Research will release a report soon that says newspapers made about $165 million last year from streaming video advertising, while TV stations made $105 million -- more than a 50% gap.

Not only that, but another traditional print vehicle -- yellow pages -- did almost as well as TV stations, pulling $85 million to $100 million in online streaming video.

One note here: Streaming video ads are still a tiny piece of the pie for older media. For example, for newspapers it comes to just 5% of Web site revenues. It's a bit more for TV stations -- 10% of their overall revenue take.

Newspaper sites have opened up Web areas for small and mid-size businesses' video advertising, which is also being used as video content.

This is not something TV stations are used to. They are more familiar with selling mainstream local 15- and 30-second commercials for network-supplied programs, syndicated programs, or local newscasts.

TV stations still have the big brand names that -- in theory -- can turn this equation around. But they need to work fast. For years, marketing executives have touted the next big online thing as the growth of local portals and local Web destinations.

Perhaps TV station executives are distracted; many have wide eyes when talking about mobile technology. But just repurposing news, weather updates and local TV shows may not be enough for local market mobile phone users -- nor for demanding local video advertisers.

Newspapers beating TV stations in their own backyard makes them the unlikely video kings -- for the moment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Study Shows Mags Reap More Ad Value Per Minute

The magazine industry, which has historically opposed time-spent-with-media metrics as fair basis for comparing the involvement consumers have with various media, is warming to the idea, albeit, with a caveat. Instead of looking at all minutes of media usage as equal, the Magazine Publishers of America today is releasing an analysis that assigns a relative value to each minute consumed, and not surprisingly, consumer magazine stack up very well vs. other major consumer media on that basis, including TV, radio, the Internet, and even the other major consumer print medium, newspapers.

"One of the things that is important in understanding how advertising works, is to separate the consumer relationship with the medium from the consumer relationship with advertising in the medium. And very often people look at time spent as a leading indicator of advertising engagement, or advertising wantedness," Ellen Oppenheim, CMO of the Magazine Publishers of America told MediaDailyNews, explaining why the MPA's new "Ad Value Per Minute" analysis is a relevant measure for advertisers and agencies to use when planning and buying media.

Raw time spent analyses, she said, are about consumer usage of "the medium, not the advertising" within them. To get at the relative value of time spent with advertising in the major media, the MPA factored a well-regarded analysis conducted by a respected third party, ad impact scores created by consulting firm Deloitte ("State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008), and incorporated it into a new "Time/Ad Impact Ratio" for the major consumer media.

On that basis, magazines index with more than twice the impact of TV, online or radio, and are actually considerably higher than printed newspapers too (see table below).

Oppenheim said other impact scores could be substituted with the Deloitte data, and it would show similar patterns of stronger relative advertising impact of magazines.

She acknowledged that the studies are all surveys based on consumer perceptions about media, and not necessarily behavior, and therefore are not a "gold standard.

"No one is suggesting this is a currency," she said, adding that the analysis nonetheless is a good way of factoring raw time-spent analyses of media. One that is receiving considerable attention in recent weeks, is a highly regarded study conducted by Ball State University for the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence. That study, which directly observed how consumers use media, initially reported findings only on the major "screen-based" media, such as TV, online, mobile, and gaming platforms. But the findings are sparking a new round of interest in advertising circles about the relative value of time spent with all media, especially as the industry struggles through an economic recession and prepares for another upfront television sales season.

Factors Behind the Calculation
Time Spent % Share Media
with Media* of Total Influence** Time-Ad Impact
Media (Minutes) Time Spent % Ratio
Magazines 70 8.9 49 5.51
Newspaper 68 8.6 42 4.88
Internet 154 19.5 48 2.46
Television 302 38.2 88 2.30
Radio 196 24.8 27 1.09
* Time Spent with Media on Average Day by User of that Medium, MRI MediaDay, 2008
** % of U.S. Consumers Who Said Advertising in this Medium Has the Most Influence on Their Buying Decisions,
Deloitte "State of the Media Democracy" Study, 2008
Time-Ad Impact Index = Media Influence / Share of Total Time Spent

found on