Why You’re Failing at Educating Your Customers

What’s better, a lecture or an adventure? An explanation or an experiment? A report or a story? Depending on the goal, the answer varies, but if you want to engage your customer and have them commit to something new and exciting, you don’t want to bore them by educating them. Decades of psychological research shows that a question can be more powerful than a statement. There’s a reason why questions are used laboriously as “hooks” for papers, or why questions were Socrates’ greatest weapon. We tend to enter a comparative mode in our brains when given new information in the form of a statement, whereas we enter an imaginative mode, creating possibilities when given questions. When you want to introduce innovation, it’s always better to embark on a journey to discover the possible ways information can be a benefit, rather than begin with information to memorize and comprehend.

For example, consider these two pitches for a new piece of technology:

“Is there an easier way to capture your favorite moments?”

“Use the Gear 360 camera to film in 360 degrees, Never miss a thing!”

One hints at a discovery, while the other plays on the psychological heuristic of scarcity in an attempt to trick you into a purchase. One is subtle, while the other is overt, in your face, and reminiscent of pre-internet marketing. Both have clever elements, but it’s not difficult to see which is more effective in actually increasing customer interest. There’s plenty of new and exciting information that reaches your customers every day. Just because someone can explain how (business name) offers x,y,z which is good for j,f,k doesn’t make any of that interesting. If you want to survive in the era of information overload, your brand strategy needs to understand that it takes more to stand out. Customers don’t want to be educated, they want to be entertained and engaged. Make a journey for them to embark on.

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Art, Business