S03E07 – The Slot Machine Of Human Status

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

Pull that handle. Do coins trickle down? Not every time. And that is what hooks humans into addiction. And so it is with social media, says Will Storr.

In this seventh episode of the third series of Talking About Marketing, we start by reflecting on just what it is that holds so many of us completely helpless against the attraction of those social media channels.

Just why do we keep that phone in our hands when we have decent movies to watch or people to talk to or children to play with? Will Storr has an answer and it revolves around our dire need for status. You didn't see that coming, did you?

Plus, one of Steve's favourite marketing thinkers, Seth Godin, calls bullsh*t on the SEO business. He says, the maths just does not add up.

As sure as SEO spammers talk rubbish and lie to us, we can rest assured that hackers are continually probing our accounts to see if we have weak passwords.

Sadly, in the Problems segment, Steve refers to a client who lost access to his Facebook business page because the old hotmail account securing his personal Facebook profile was compromised. You know what Steve's going to say, don't you?

And in the Perspicacity segment, we continue our focus on David Sandler's Sales Submarine, this time the sixth compartment of Fulfillment.

Get ready to take notes!

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

01:40  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Social Media Is The Slot Machine Of Human Status

Will Storr's fascinating book, Status Games, is a wonderful exploration of the great game of life; our constant search for status and connection.

When you look at life through this lens, everything makes sense.

It starts with the proximity of our smartphones. He shares statistics that claim in 2019, smartphone users checked their phones an average of 96 times a day, which is once every 10 minutes up. That figure was an increase of 20% compared to the 2017 survey. Similarly, it found that 23% of users check phones less than one minute after waking. And, Storr confesses that even on lovely walks in the country with his wife and dog, he found himself checking for his phone and then scrolling on a social media app every few mintues. The action was not even conscious!

He then talks about the influence of BJ Fogg, an American social scientist founder of Stanford University's Behavior Design Lab, formerly known as the Persuasive Technology Lab. He is one of the masterminds who helped social media companies hardwire their sites into our hunger for status.

And he points to the signs of status games everywhere online:

  • Success games of the selfie takers and humble braggers
  • Virtue games of the wellness gurus and digital campaigners
  • Dominance games of the mobbers and cancellers

He notes that the everyday striving that once happened online, was intensified by technologists, who tweaked their rules and symbols to make the use of social media madly competitive and highly compulsive.

And his claim that social media is a slot machine of human status, is captured in a key quote we play in the episode about Fogg's insight of holding back symbols of reinforcement; it all boils down to giving us rewards BUT to make the receipt of these rewards unpredictable, just like the random tinkling of coins from a slot machine. The more we grow in anticipation of a reward, the more we do the behaviour.

From our "Person" perspective, this book should help us reflect on the games we might be caught up in and equip us with some tools for taking back control.

12:51  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

The Pyramid Scheme of SEO

In This Is Marketing by Seth Godin, his 2018 book still has some timeless insights, this time related to advertising and Search Engine Optimisation.

In short, he says the promises of SEO companies of getting you number one on Google, just don't add up.

In building up to his point, he notes more organisations run ads today than at any other time in history and this includes you, whenever you hit boost on Facebook, you become part of the ad business.

He differentiates between direct marketing and brand marketing with a simple illustration:

  • If you do ads on Facebook, count clicks and measure how many convert, that's direct marketing.
  • If you put up a billboard for your funeral home and hope someone books with you when a family member dies, that's brand marketing.

Seth says for the first, measure everything. For the second, you need lots of patience, you need to forget measuring, and you need to invest time to consistently engage with culture. Don't get them mixed up.

He then gets into his truth telling about SEO.

One final analogy from his book is about putting that bank robber dye into a pool vs putting it into the ocean. The former makes a big splash, the latter, nothing. He relates this to where we direct our marketing and storytelling efforts.

Listen to the discussion.

23:48  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Check Those Passwords, Yes, Even That One

There was a distress call on the weekend.

A client's old hotmail-type account, which was connected to his personal Facebook profile, was compromised. This let bad people get into his Facebook account, then take over his Page, and then start spending with his credit card.

Seriously, folks, we all need to check email passwords and turn on 2FA with anything of value, especially banking, emails, and social media.

26:04  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case study from the past.

Sandler Sales Submarine Part Six: Fulfillment

Each Perspicacity segment this series, will focus on one part of the Sandler Selling System, this time, it's Fulfillment, or as we call it, your Presentation.

copy that sells

David Sandler argues that in your presentation, this is the moment when you get to display that you were listening through all the previous stages and that you can show how your solution fits the bill.

Our conversation is being guided by David Sandler's excellent book, You Can't Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar, Second Edition.

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