The Revenue Race

Written by Martin Lucas

Part 2 of the revenue race, catch part one here

Lap 4. Is Data the new bullshit?

‘Insights’ that come from surveys should come with a warning sign.

When buying a holiday, do you like to see reviews from other people?

57% of people say they agree.

If I ask you a question in a survey, you will give me a surface response. This kind of answer is the response that is right at the top of your mind, hence why it’s called a ‘surface’ response.

AND you are doing a survey, which means you have an incentive to do it, which means you are more influenced to give positive responses.

AND for most of the decisions you make, you don’t actually know WHY you made that decision. You decide unconsciously; remember the polo shirt? That’s life, that’s the mind, that is being human. It’s the old:

So how can we use data science to seek the truth?

The answer is: by applying people-led data. We can evaluate with surveys and analytics but need to balance that with what we put into our process in the first place. For example, it is generally accepted that social proof is effective when buying holidays, as do personalisation and recommendations,  but beyond anything else, it is the language, imagery and user experience that creates the sense that the company cares about you, that they get you; they suggest things that resonate. That is an example of using math to zero in on the needs of the person, using the data of people in the specific situation you wish to influence.

What evaluation do we use?

Let’s begin with free thinking and we will end with the model. There are always a set of common needs of a person; quality of service and quality of experience have always ranked highly. In my experience by injecting quality, you increase your chances of winning as this is a two-way feed of understanding what the customer needs AND giving them what they want. Humans leave behind behaviours in all we do offline and online, you just have to be looking for them. Why look for them? If companies can understand your personal behaviours, this gives them strong indicators of your needs which allows them to serve you a personalised experience that you truly desire. This is all within context of previous mentioned ‘ethical data’.

Holistic Experiences

Companies can use this behavioural data to model  personalised customer engagements, which can occur live - online and offline - and also be included in the follow up. We often fail to look at the holistic experience. Consider the example of booking a holiday,  the focus is getting the money. As a consequence the holiday company does not focus on WHY do you choose where you go on holiday? Some examples of Why:

Food Weather Shopping Adventuring

Beach Tourism Accommodation Service

These are just 8 of 34 factors I’ve previously used. Think of them each as being on a scale; you may care greatly about the weather being hot and the food to be just right or you may wish for cold weather and not give a hoot about food. It’s a personal scale which then gets balanced with those of your partner, friends, kids, family, whoever matters. Yes, accommodation and service matter a lot but - and it’s a big but - it’s not the main concern, so why do holiday companies focus so much of their selling points on these alone? They do it because it’s human nature to focus on the thing that pays the bills. It’s logical to focus on the things we want people to buy, in this case - the holiday, but the customer desires the overall experience and they buy based on this anticipated experience. By failing to sell them holistic experience, companies win less. It’s the  same across all markets; it’s about how we make decisions and where in the mind that decision occurs that varies throughout the process.

Psychology meets Science is the equation for future success:

consumer psychology + individual psychology + neuroscience + data science + behavioural science + nudge theory = holistic experience

This lap is an arms race with both lanes using psychology, both professing to understanding science but no one connecting the dots of multiple disciplines together. It’s a classic siloed thinking challenge: Division X uses neuroscience and Division Y uses psychology and never the twain shall meet. This is the kind of simple change that will create wins for those who act on it.

Your prediction for who will win?

Lap 5. Perspectives

How businesses focus their services in the future will always be key. If you were going to choose between multiple providers of ‘change’, what would help sway your decision? A clear understanding of cultural perspectives and how that varies by country, company,  division, team and individual is certainly rising as a demand because it anchors enablement, productivity and more belief in your purpose at work.

First, let’s consider the question ‘what is perspective?’

Time for an imagination game:

There are three people walking down a street at exactly the same moment in time.

A plane flies by and Person A looks up. Person B doesn’t look up.

A bird flies by and Person B looks up. Person A doesn’t look up.

Person C just walks along the whole time and never looks up at either the bird nor the plane.

Which person are you more likely to be?

The unconscious mind is set to take in the millions of data points each and every day and it only registers what you care about as conscious actions. In this case, you have a predilection for birds, planes or neither, and depending on which is your preference, you may or may not register (or react to) any of these. Consider human-to-human communication; we have all experienced a time when we have listened to the same thing as someone else but have heard something different? That is perspective based on preferences; it can be maddening, but that’s what it is.

You have billions of preferences, biases and behaviours in your mind. To function, the brain grabs hold of all the data (things that we experience) it can to make as much of the human decision-making process unconscious. The brain does this so it can literally leave you with enough capacity to consciously think only about the things you really need to. Ever felt overloaded? Now you know why; you had too much to think about.

Some of the millions of things that have been loaded into your unconscious mind you care about deeply and some you couldn’t give two hoots about BUT they exist. Most occur by the time you are 14 (the brain forms in two, 7-year cycles relative to your mind being influenced about what is good, what is bad, behaviours, habits, bias, preferences, ethics you follow and rules you follow). It’s all moulded by that person’s experiences.

We humans need to be able to function in our day-to-day lives and in order to function we learn how to do things. That knowledge becomes behaviours, which then become habits and - BOOM! - the unconscious mind takes over. That is not just the practical doing stuff, which is obviously key; we learn the habits of how to eat, to dress, to walk and so forth. We don’t often think how to tie our shoes do we? Of course not, it’s a habit, no more than an instruction inside our unconscious mind of how to do something. Whilst most people understand how that works, what we don’t often think about are the preferences and biases inside the brain; it works on the same basis.

The Why of change

I resisted typing the ‘Why of culture’ as the world has been focussed on this for some time now. The world is saturated with culture change (nearly as much as it is saturated the word Millenials) as a point of focus. What about tomorrow-land? When we understand culture in a much deeper context (we’ve stopped talking about Millennials and Centennials takes over - those born from 2000), science allows us a much deeper understanding of how humans make decisions and how to positively influence that.

What do you see?

It may depending on your upbringing. If you were raised in the West, you would generally say ‘a tiger’, yet if you were brought up in the East you would say ‘A tiger in the jungle’. Western culture focuses on seeking the nearest and most dominant object, whereas Eastern culture looks at the whole environment. I love this example; it’s great one to think about how and why miscommunication occurs and understand we don’t all see or hear the same things, given our many different perspectives.

There is always a Why to any behaviour; when we understand the Why, we can create mass-market behaviour change. This type of change will create a rise in demand for Philosophers, adept in the art of free thinking. Communication, as ever, is key, but we just can’t win by using a one-size-fits-all approach.

Your prediction for who will win?

Part 3 > The home straight & your chance to decide who wins!