It doesn’t need to be said twice: we live in a fast-paced, tech-driven world. Today, everywhere you go, everything you do, and everyone you meet has some relation to technology. In a world where you ask Siri or Google your most dire questions, tell Alexa what song you want to hear and expect Cortana to schedule your appointments, it’s more impressive when you find a task or product that doesn’t involve technology. So how is any technology brand, product or company supposed to appear special? Just a few years ago, being in technology was a differentiator. The word “technology” alone was enough to catch someone’s eye, sell your product and communicate your category. Technology was evolving, fascinating, confusing and distinctive. Although it can still be all of those things, it’s not unique enough anymore to rely on that distinguisher to be your main marketing point. Nearly everyone and everything is becoming tech — even down to self-driving trucks and wearable dehydration detectors. The increase of technology innovations paired with the ever-increasing number of messages a consumer sees a day makes it harder than ever before to market your technology in a way that is effective and memorable. So how do you make your technology message break through all the noise?
In one word, science.
This article is featured in O'Dwyer's Nov. '17 Technology PR Magazine
The use of psychology in marketing can ensure that your technology isn’t just another message lost in the craziness of the thousands of communication efforts that consumers receive on a daily basis. By providing the way that humans are hardwired to react, psychology gives you the ability to create marketing efforts that yield exceedingly effective results. Understanding new psychological principles that affect decision-making is imperative in today’s noisy world to get your message not only out, not only heard or seen, but remembered. Psychology deepens your understanding of the consumer’s unconscious wants and needs, and because of this, your messaging is catered to what your audience is looking for — even if they don’t know it. Here are a few principles and effects that you can specifically begin leveraging now to stand out from everyone and everything else in the tech space.
We know there are thousands of products that solve the same problem. Often, consumer choices between comparable options come down to a simple differentiator. People want to feel like they made an informed decision without necessarily having to do extensive research. The authority principle provides that differentiator, and is an effective way to put your product above others that may appear similar in a consumer’s mind. The Authority Principle explains why we desire to hear an opinion or suggestion from an authority figure — someone who we look at as a “professional” or “expert.” If we have access to an authority figure’s input, we don’t feel like we need to make the decision for ourselves because someone who knows better than we do makes it for us. No one wants to buy a product and then hate it, knowing they only have themselves to blame. This psychological principle creates influence behind your brand that increases credibility. By pairing your brand with someone who is looked at as intelligent and informed, consumers will be more confident about their decision to purchase. Of course, this authority figure doesn’t have to be Ryan Gosling — or anyone with overwhelming fame. Just putting your CEO or spokesperson in a lab coat while describing product capabilities is enough to create the idea of authority in the consumer’s mind.
Category size bias
Consumers are known to respond faster when there is a small category rather than an overwhelming number of options or items in a grouping. Technology is, of course, an enormous category, encompassing so many components that it’s difficult to even fathom how many “things” it contains. This large category makes it easier for products to get lost or forgotten. By using the category size bias, your consumer will be less overwhelmed and have a higher chance of noticing, and picking, your product. Avoid generalizing your brand as just technology because that groups you with everyone in the world. When you are marketing your product, create a sub-category that consumers can visualize in their mind with fewer options to compare. This is less overwhelming and lets your product stand out.
Social default bias
People want to feel secure in decision-making, so they turn to other consumers to affirm which product to purchase or technology to use. Social default bias states that a consumer is more likely to make a decision that others have already made, and will consequently be content with the way that the product works because of other pre-existing satisfaction. So, when your product gets a recommendation from someone, make that known. Show that others have used your product, liked your product, and allow for new users to easily demonstrate their relationship with the product to create involvement. The effect that groups of people have on decision-making is immense, even if the consumer doesn’t personally know the individuals recommending your product. Reading product reviews, seeing others with the product, or hearing personal recommendations are all enough to create a confidence in the consumer that will drive them to purchase your product.
Perceptual contrast theory
It’s impossible for someone to look at two different objects or people presented next to each other or in sequence and not create a comparison between the two. The brain always compares the second to the first. In technology marketing, present a primary option that’s not as good as your option. This taps into the perceptual contrast theory and can be the push a consumer needs to purchase from your brand. Showcase your product second and portray clear differences that will inevitably be compared by the consumer, and make sure that your product, brand or technology is superior. People will automatically compare the two and will ultimately choose yours as the best option.
Whether your technology is innovative or classic and dependable, it’s likely lost in the noise of the industry. What used to be an exciting, futuristic industry is now a noisy space full of unheard and unseen messages. Utilize psychological laws to truly understand and reach your consumer in a way that will make your product, your brand, stand out from everyone else in the crowded tech world. Differentiate yourself by keeping science behind your communication.
Elizabeth Edwards, an award-winning communicator, speaker and author, founded Volume PR in 2001.