TLF Gems Newsletter May 2023

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

Observing is a muscle.

David Hieatt

How do new ideas spread through society? You'll be familiar with the Rogers adoption curve (innovators, early adopters, etc.), but I think this Seth Godin version of it is a more helpful view of how ideas spread:

As I was putting together the links for this time, I noticed that there's a strong undercurrent to them of ideas from behavioural science. But where would those ideas sit in this diagram? In some ways they're talked about less often than they were a few years ago, but that's at least partly because they've entered the mainstream of mass acceptance.

Maybe those ideas are not "new" or "hot" any more, but there's no question that understanding the psychology of customers—the ways in which context influences their thoughts, feelings, and decisions—remains a huge opportunity for most organisations.

Thanks for reading,Stephen

Here are 8 things we think are worth your time this month

Context Matters More Than Character

Superb article in Marketing Week making the point that mood and external factors can have more influence on customer behaviour than their character or personality. Which rather brings into question the value of most segmentation programmes! Good personas, I would argue, are about how the customer is feeling right now, not about who they are. "’s a mistake to think of people as having an entirely constant, fixed character. We don’t—and marketers can harness the subtleties that change us from one moment to the next."

Read: Context Matters More Than Character

The Science of Colour

This is a superb site - definitely one to bookmark if you're interested in colour! It's detailed and well supported by references, but concisely written and clearly laid out so that the information is easy to find and take in. I stumbled across it when I was trying to explain the phenomenon of chromostereopsis to someone, for example. "Color can be used to reinforce brand and affect user experience for sighted users by leveraging common psychological color meaning."

Find out more: The Science of Colour

Force The Insight

Excellent edition of RJ Andrews' Chartography newsletter, illustrated with some lovely examples, showing why presenting findings visually through charts, maps, and data graphics is more effective than making the point as text. Making a visual comparison forces the audience to understand the impact of change in a way that text alone rarely can. "The bottomline insight of both Rosling’s Vietnam and WSJ’s vaccination could be transmitted with a short sentence. But neither text would achieve what Tukey described. They would not force you to engage with the insight."

Read: Force The Insight

F*ck Oatly

Interesting site set up by Oatly to engage with some of the criticism and controversy their brand is subject to. It's quite brave to address things so openly, with a playful tone of voice, and it's probably not for every brand (don't try it if you're a bank!); but it does speak to a level of confidence in what they're doing and a transparent approach to communication with customers. "...we’re not the type of company to hide from moments like these. We see all the negative headlines, posts and petitions as an inevitable consequence of trying to create positive societal change."

Find our more: F*ck Oatly

Protecting The Integrity Of Survey Research

Bit of a heavy read, this, but might be interesting to some of you. This is an article looking at some of the challenges facing survey research, such as falling response rates and the increasing difficulty of getting through to people, together with some suggestions for making things better (or at least more transparent). "Decades ago, adults in the US could be reached at a particular landline phone number, and most received very few requests to participate in surveys of any kind. When they were invited to take a survey, many people agreed to do so. These assumptions no longer hold true."

Read: Protecting The Integrity Of Survey Research

Multitasking Creates Sadness & Fear

Interesting study showing that attempting to multitask, and in particular being constantly interrupted by email, makes us miserable, and that those negative emotions can be catching. "From writing papers to answering emails, it's common for office workers to juggle multiple tasks at once. But those constant interruptions can actually create sadness and fear and eventually, a tense working environment..."

Read: Multitasking Creates Sadness & Fear

Deceptive Patterns

A new site from Harry Brignull looking at the ways organisations trick customers into doing things they want them to do (like accidentally committing to an annual contract, or making it far harder to cancel than it is to join). The list of types of deceptive pattern, with examples for each, is particularly useful—does your company use any of these with customers? "Businesses that use deceptive patterns are often caught up in legal cases and get hit with big fines and penalties."

Find out more: Deceptive Patterns

Top Reads: Permission Marketing

If you don't count SPSS manuals (and I don't) this was the second book I ever read at TLF (Nigel's was the first), and until today I don't think I've picked it up for 20+ years. It's fascinating how prescient much of what Seth was saying is, and yet how little so many digital marketing people have taken on board. Some of the technology mentioned is wildly out of date now, of course (who remembers Shockwave?!), but the principles are eternal. "Interruption marketing fails because it is unable to get enough attention from consumers. Permission Marketing works by taking advantage of the same problem—there just isn't enough attention to go around."

If you'd ever like to have a look at our list of past Top Reads, they're all catalogued on our website here - enough reading to keep anyone going for a while!

Top Reads: Permission Marketing