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Take your customers seriously, not literally

I’ve been reading one of the most fascinating books of the past couple of years.

It’s “The case against reality” by Donald Hoffman.

In it, the author introduces a concept that could literally shatter every conception we have about what is real and how we perceive reality.

Hell, it could even spur the beginning of tech like time traveling (haven’t you been wondering why our mega scientists can’t seem to make it come true?).

Anyway, even though I’m still 20% through the book, I can already say this stuff, if proven true, could also have unimaginably useful implications for marketing and design.

Because it has to do with our psychology. And you know I’m a huge nerd when it comes to it.

The dumbed down version of the main concept in the book is this: the same way we use icons on our computer screen to represent files (instead of seeing the electronics and software algorithm in the background), reality as we see it, is merely a representation of what’s underneath, that we as humans built up with evolution to keep us safe and reproduce.

The car you see speeding up towards you? The bright red color of that apple? Or even your face?

All created by your brain the moment you think about and look at it. Which, according to the author, doesn’t mean it’s the truth of what you’re really experiencing (think of The matrix and Neo waking up in a tank to realize that that is the real world, not his office).

Obviously this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be afraid and avoid the car that’s speeding up towards you. It is dangerous.

But as Hoffman says: “It is a mistake of logic to assume that if we must take our senses seriously then we are required—or even entitled—to take them literally”.

I found it pretty relevant to any user experience. And reason why, if you fail to get an accurate understanding of how your prospects think, you might completely miss the mark when it comes to converting them with copy or UX.

Each of us experiences reality (which includes your website) in a completely different way than you might imagine.

And there have been studies on this, like the SOR model (Stimulus, Organism, Response) in social psychology.

We often think that the reality is Stimulus (website) -> Response (people buy or don’t), but we fail to take a deeper look at the Organism part in between that affects everything in the experience.

So remember, take your prospects seriously, but not literally. Try to get a deeper, nuanced look at their behavior, not just a surface level understanding.

At least as much as you possibly can with the means you have.

For every copy and UX project I always look at customer psychographics, rather than just demographics. Those are what matter when it comes to conversions.

If you want to learn more, get in touch.

Cheers,

Chris

brain dump?

Every day (yes!) I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.