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Martine Farrugia
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Martine Farrugia
Unfortunately we can’t predict the future but we can predict customer response and behaviour by using science. We think this is still pretty cool.

What is it?

In a world where we’re bombarded with information at every angle, it’s getting harder for brands to cut through the noise. With the traditional behavioural model we’re all familiar with starting to feel a little stereotypical, predictive science goes deeper, studying why people like things, join things, vote and, in short, behave the way they do. It deals with the subconscious part of decision-making: instincts.

Many years of neuroscientific research has gone into studying how instincts influence behaviour and how we can use this insight to ‘get to yes’. We work in partnership with Bob Raleigh, founder of PathSight Predictive Science, to develop brands and collateral that attract customers and eliminate ambivalence.

 

It’s all about clusters

Lengthy research has found that we can be categorised into 18 different clusters (or ‘types’ of people). These can then be grouped into five broader clusters, where each cluster represents different characteristics, different triggers, and different likes and dislikes on an instinctual level. Rather than being based on the more common demographic and behavioural segmentation model (where typically an 18 to 35 year old may be expected to like brunching and Netflix, and a 60 year old may be cast as an active and adventuring grandparent), your cluster is defined based on your inherent reactions to certain stimuli.

Cluster map
A graphic representation of the clusters based on inherent reactions.

And so while traditional profiles can be useful (age, gender, race, income, education, employment, recreation), they don’t tell the whole picture. PathSight delivers the unnoticed and underlying structure of customer profiles that have been quietly residing in every complex system or set of data (cause, political affiliation, trait and value).

Based on research involving over 80,000 consumers, we’ve developed a system where we can tailor our communications to suit the person receiving them. Gone are the days of one size fits all and with slick document composition platforms readily available, it means you can tailor your message to different clusters to appeal to their instinct without diluting your meaning. And what does this mean for your business? It means you can guarantee a greater response rate by garnering greater interest and deeper connections all through your choice of words and images.

 

Flipping the script

In the good old days, the first thing to be defined was the value proposition. From there came the message development, the choice of channel anand then the audience. In true to outré form, we’re looking at things a little differently to reach that all important gut reaction.

It’s about defining the who, why and how first (based on the audience cluster make up), determining the most appropriate type of media and delivert, understanding what needs to be ‘made true’ in the message to deliver a ‘they just get me!’ result.

Flipping the script horizontal diagram
The comparison above illustrates how outré flips the script to reach the target.

 

Who uses it?

Brands all over the world are turning to predictive science to give them the engagement they crave. By tapping into themes that trigger the ‘belonging’ part of the brain, we can build a robust relationship that reinforces decisions and keeps customers coming back for more.

We’ve applied the PathSight model to a whole host of industries and channels. Take what we did for the New York Jets. As with many sports teams in the US, loyalty is fierce but there was still room for improvement when it came to email engagement. PathSight profiled the fans and tweaked the language of their campaigns to position the fan as a part of the team and in amongst the thick of it. By appealing to their innate sense of belonging, open rates and clickthroughs shot up by an average of 37% for each one.

But it’s not just words that matter, design has an equally important part to play.

We worked on a direct mail project for The Economist, producing three different creative campaigns all with the same end goal: increasing subscriptions. By adapting the format, choosing specific taxonomies and finding the right visual style, we were able to pinpoint particular points of differentiation in the message to deliver a personalised experience that extended beyond the typical.

 

How does it work at a project level?

In one form or another, every predictive science project requires:

  • A model. We create a proprietary model of your market and use that as a guide to everything that follows. For example, we couldexamine your mailing list and split that up into groups with each group being differently. Or we could determine market drivers, product attributes and motivators based on your audience.
  • An engagement plan. Once we have our model, we develop a strategic plan to put it into action. This involves building a narrative, creative, catalogue of words, images and themes based on your needs.
  • We then embed these personalisations into whatever communications or execution tools you use to connect with your customer base. Anything from something simple like emails and your telephone IVR system, to something more complex like a software, app or website. The possibilities are endless.

And the great thing about predictive science is that it’s futureproof. While the traditional model of segmentation is based on past behaviours, predictive science is future focused and constantly evolving based on the interactions it monitors. It means that you get insights in real-time and can adapt quickly to whatever life throws at your customers, knowing that you’re nailing the ‘gut reaction’ instead of guesswork.

 

We don’t have a bunsen burner but we can definitely set your communications alight.

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