Science, pseuodo science and construction marketing: Who do you believe?

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Neural pathways as part of neuro-linguistic research, not to be confused with NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, described as pseudo-science, but the stuff of much marketing material

Yesterday’s blog reported on some intriguing marketing material, where the proponents suggested careful scripting of your materials and initial inquiries/questions could result in control and programming success to complete your objective. The marketers, seeking business as consultants within the AEC community, carefully used examples from other industries, notably insurance, presumably to show the idea, but not give the specific scripts and messaging — unless you pay for their services.

Reading through the lines, they appear to advocate Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a concept from the 1970s and 80s that has found its way into Tony Robbins’ and other motivational gurus marketing materials. It sounds scientific, though I have some intellectual challenges in grasping the underlying concepts.

This may be because I’m slow intellectually, haven’t put in the effort or  have a particular weakness at the traits required for NLP success. (Face/name and social recognition indeed are weak spots for me, compared to for example our wonderful son adopted as an infant, who can as a young adult now recognize others by looking at the back of their heads in fast-moving cars across the road — and then identify everyone in the individual’s family, including interests, likes and values.) Or it could because the assertions for NLP are scientific bunk, or pseudoscience — as outlined in the relevant Wikipedia article.

So, who do you believe? Many marketing consultants certainly have mastered the art of persuasion.  I suppose that is good, because if they can persuade you, you certainly can have a better opportunity at persuading potential clients.

As well, some tested scientific marketing concepts work effectively — I’ve reported on them in earlier postings — including the principles of consistency and authority: (People don’t want to change, and indeed respect authority figures in general). There are other nuances and specifics that have been tested, including pricing psychology (generally it is best not to price in even numbers) and choice parameters (massive choices deter decisions, but creating a “third option” that is absolutely no better than the one you really want the people to choose will generally result in the more expensive option being selected from the two that are really available.)

So who do you believe and how do you implement effective, scientifically based construction marketing concepts?  Here, I won’t diss the other consultants who play around with things like NLP, because embedded in their material are concepts that really work. However, I think there will be a project ahead — looking at the various scientifically proven marketing techniques, demonstrating (ideally with real-life examples and stories) of how they apply to the AEC community, and sharing them in a future book. A research challenge for 2017? Probably.

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