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Can the ‘Blemish Effect’ improve your closing ratio?

(MARKETING) It may feel awkward to use the Blemish Effect, but it could mean more money in your pocket.

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself.

Delivering something inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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Real Estate Marketing

Open Design – rarely used in real estate, but boosts earnings

(OPERATIONS) Innovation is what keeps the industry alive, and Open Design improves the process, boosting the bottom line.

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As you begin executing your business goals set at the beginning of this year, it isn’t too late to considering embracing an emerging trend to help accelerate your innovations – Open Design. This refers to the practice of being transparent about the process of building products and services (without giving way too much of the final product).

It’s similar to the practice of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education—sharing information and problems about your expertise, for free, with an interested community.

In many ways, Open Design aims to break down siloed industries and workers. By sharing information about how and why your business does what it does, Open Design actually reduces the amount of work your employees may have to re-do. The open access of the design system allows them to work beyond the traditional confines of their roles.

As creative and often specialized fields like design become increasingly open, the amount of “tedious” work that used to require attention is lessening.

Some of these mechanical tasks are becoming automated as a result of collaborative efforts in Open Design across industries and other times it is the result of interdepartmental collaboration within individual corporations.

open design

This evolution makes sense: if your web team gets feedback from your sales team that a certain process isn’t intuitive and that difficulty creates a bottleneck—they’d act on that feedback and eliminate the blockage.

Abstract reports that companies that focus on the streamlining of their design systems have revenues 32 percent higher than those that adhere to conventional methods.

Taking advantage of Open Design systems would allow your entire team to focus efforts on higher level problems rather than recreating the wheel with mechanical (and often easily programmable tasks) each time they need to begin a project. These cumulative, increasingly efficient efforts, can help your business scale.

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Real Estate Marketing

This AI robot wants to find leads for you

(MARKETING NEWS) It comes as no surprise that companies are figuring out ways to use AI for marketing. Let us introduce you to Albert, the AI marketer sure to help business boom.

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mobile marketing trends albert

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the making its way into every sector, including marketing campaigns. One tool in particular has found a way to simplify modern marketing by taking over menial tasks to run completely autonomous and successful campaigns.

Just ask one of their major clients, Harley Davidson, who raised their sales leads by over 2000% after switching to AI marketing.

Albert is the self-described first ever AI marketing platform and enterprise. Albert learns as a company grows, and autonomously analyzes data and optimizes campaigns to gain new leads.

Although many other platforms like Google and Facebook offer their own autonomous marketing systems, our pal, Al, can work across all channels. That means no more checking every separate channel to get an overview of marketing insights.

Not only does this save time, but it also saves money.

In the present digital age, it makes sense to let AI do the heavy lifting. When it comes to marketing, AI software is able to use online interactions to determine possible leads. For Harley Davidson, Albert generated leads from a large pool of potential customers that made purchases in the past, added items to their cart through the online shop and spent a significant amount of time on the site.

From this larger group, Albert developed smaller groups of “lookalikes,” or potential buyers, and tested out campaigns before implementing them.

This allowed Albert to predict appealing headlines and visuals, while also making adjustments to language that had tested better.

For example, Albert replaced the word “buy” to “call” as a call to action sent in emails and newsletters for customers to find out more about Harley Davidson’s top products.

As Harley Davidson experienced, AI marketing like Albert have the ability to make more accurate decisions that increase revenue and save time. Unlike traditional marketing tactics, Albert can make decisions based on actual data versus just guesswork. Without the ability to analyze online behavior, companies end up underestimating their potential buyer demographics.

Our pal, Al, is able to widen that figure, finding leads that were not even considered, and thus generate more business. The best part is that it is all done autonomously.

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Real Estate Marketing

How to optimize your marketing to reach each generation

(MARKETING) Knowing how each generation is interacting with marketing content will help you keep your edge in your chosen markets – here’s your update!

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In the last few years, a higher premium has been set on presenting your content appropriately to your audience. In order to do this, you must really learn about the demographics of your audience as a way to speak to them in the most effective way.

We can do this by looking through our follower list, determining the audience that would most benefit from our audiences, and opening the floor for questions. Sometimes we rely on studies and other collections of data to show us what certain audiences dig and don’t dig.

Such was the case with Koeppel Direct’s roundup regarding optimizing your content for every age group. They broke it down in such a way that helps us look at different generational online uses.

First up, we have our Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964. According to the data, they make up 74 percent of the US population. Sixty-seven percent of that population uses smart phones, while 57 percent use social media. The favorite platform of Boomers is Facebook, with 31.9 percent using the social media site.

It’s recommend to tailor content for Boomers in the following ways: make your content text-light (300 words is the preferred article length of this generation), videos that are heavy on information (slower-paced is preferred over fast), and Facebook-optimized content (57% will visit a company’s website after seeing them appear on social media, and 34% will make a purchase).

Next on deck, Generation X. This group was born between 1965 and 1980, and make up 66 million of the US population. Eighty-five percent own smartphones and 75% use social media (with 45 million Facebook users and 23.5 million Instagram users).

The content recommendations for Gen X are: longer-form video (30-second mobile video ads are preferred over ads that are shorter), tablet-optimized content, and 48% are more likely to buy from a company that offers instructional videos.

Now, everyone’s favorite, Millennials! These peeps graced the earth between 1981 and 1996 (May of ’94 brought you yours truly) and they make up 71 million of the population. Ninety-two percent own smartphones and 85 percent use social media (with 59 million Facebook users and 43 million Instagram users).

Unsurprisingly, two out of three Millennials prefer online shopping. The recommended content comes in the way of: shorter-form video (10-seconds preferred), interactive content (it’s all about the experience! Even with campaigns), email campaigns (Millennials spent 6 hours a day going through email, with 77% wanting to receive business communication by email).

Additional tips include: personalizing content, using less text, and sharing mobile coupons and rewards.

Finally, we’re at the end of the alphabet with Generation Z. Zs were born between 1997 and 2012 (so they were learning to walk during the peak of Friends) and make up 60 million of the population. A whopping 95 percent have access to smartphones.

The favorites of social media include: 73 percent on Instagram, 69 percent on Snapchat (noted to be more popular with girls), and 80 percent say that social media influences their shopping (thanks, Insta models!)

It’s recommended to use: online video ads (56 percent take action after seeing a video), video marketing (85 percent use YouTube), and socially conscious content (94 percent feel that companies and brands should take stands on environmental and social issues).

The roundup also notes that in 2017, it was determined that the average human attention span is eight seconds (which is a 33 percent decrease from 2000).

There was also a 99 percent increase in branded video content views on YouTube over 2016.

In 2019, 80 percent of all web traffic so far is video. Think about that one.

This information is ever-evolving and helpful to keep an eye on. However, it’s important to note that this is a sample of these generational populations, and not every item applies to each population member. Do your own research to really get to know your audience!

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