Are You A Sociologist?

While at a client’s party someone asked if I had a background in psychology ¬†or sociology. I too quickly said no. I explained that while I had been a peer counselor and minored in ‘formal organizations’ in college, whatever that means, I had no sociology or psychology education.

But on reflection I should have answered very differently. I should have said yes, I am a student of behavioral sciences every day. As a marketer I am constantly looking at buyer motivators, seeking to empathize with their fears and pain. I get thrilled matching their challenge to pain relief my clients can offer.

As a marketer we strive to educate, motivate and create urgency every day. We do it by evoking emotion. In fact every marketer should think of themselves as a student of human behavior. It’s a responsibility we can’t take in stride. And for me, the studying is never done. We get it wrong, sometimes many times, before we get it right. And each product, each buyer is different.

  • We use consoling techniques to learn. Asking questions like – how many users do you have? What is your measurement system? Which of these features is more important to you? What appeals to you about that ad over this one?
  • We listen to signals. What pages on our website did they visit? Where did they abandon their shopping cart? What button did they press? Did they like us on Facebook? Have they tweeted about our solution?
  • We analyze our buyer profile to find others who have similar characteristics.
  • We nurture our clients emotional well-being. Are they happy with support? Do they know how to use the product they purchased? How can I make them loyal?
  • We strive for long-term relationships with our clients; to encourage them to refer us to their peers. After all the cost to acquire them is the same whether they stay with us for 6 months or 6 years.

With all of this considered if I’m asked again about my background in psychology or sociology. I’m going to say “Yes. I study humans each and every day from the point of view of a marketer and leader. And so do you. Why do you ask?”