How to become a smarter digital marketer

Digital Marketing Cognition Agency
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As marketers, we tend to focus on the creative side of marketing - but the truth is that outstanding campaigns are rarely formed from a sudden strike of inspiration.

Instead, many of the most memorable and effective marketing campaigns are the result of in-depth research, careful analysis and strong storytelling. Crafting a marketing strategy that delivers real ROI requires a marketing team with a mix of right and left-brain thinkers  - and wherever you sit within the spectrum, it’s always worth exploring whether you could take a smarter approach to marketing.

As psychology is at the heart of everything we do here at Cognition, we’re always looking for new ways to be smarter in our marketing. In this blog, we share what we’ve learned to help you become a smarter marketer. 

Three steps to smarter digital marketing

You can take a smarter approach to digital marketing by following these three steps…

1. Delving into your data

Since the pandemic, when companies across all industries saw digital interactions with their audiences increase significantly due to lockdown restrictions, most businesses have been collecting more data on their customers than ever before. Savvy marketers are using this data to gain a better understanding of their customers and create data-driven marketing strategies. 

However, 87% of marketers say that data is the most underutilised asset in their organisation. If you feel that your business could benefit from taking a more data-driven approach to marketing, start by reviewing how you collect data on your target audience. 

With third-party cookies set to be phased out in 2023, now is the time to explore new ways to gather more first-party data. Could you create some new gated content assets, for example, or start a monthly newsletter? 

If you’re wary about putting prospects off by asking for too much information, you could try progressive profiling. This involves asking them to provide one piece of information (e.g. their email address) the first time they download an asset, and an additional piece of information the next time, until you gain a full profile of them.

Once you’re confident in your data collection strategy, you should also ensure that you have the right tools and technology to truly understand the data you’re collecting. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools like HubSpot can help you to make sense of your data by integrating it all into one system and by clearly showing how each individual prospect has interacted with your business. 

This insight can empower you to tailor your marketing campaigns to your prospects, and as 71% of customers now expect brands to deliver personalised interactions, it could make a big difference to your conversion rates. 


2. Telling stories to stand out from the crowd

On average, we’re exposed to over 5,000 brand messages every day. However, research has shown that we’re only aware of around 86 of them, and just 12 make a lasting impression on us. Why? Well, our attention is a limited resource, and as the number of messages we see online and offline increases, we simply do not have the neural capacity to process all of them. 

So, how can you ensure that your brand’s messages break through the noise? By using the customer data you collect to create compelling stories that really resonate with and engage your audience. Your data should tell you what your customers’ pain points and motivations are, and you can use this information to inform your brand identity.

Perhaps your customers are concerned about the risk of cyber attacks, for example, and they’re looking for cyber security solutions. Telling them that your company was founded because the founders experienced the devastating impact a cyber attack can have on a business when working in previous roles is much more likely to resonate with them than simply stating that your product protects against 97% of attacks (although you can bring this into the story). 

The reason is simple - many other businesses may offer the same products/services as your company, so when prospects are in the consideration stage, you need to tell them why you do what you do. By explaining why you’re passionate about helping them, you put the customer at the heart of your story, and set your business apart from your competitors. 

Stories are also much more memorable than simple stats and facts about your products and services. In a Stamford University experiment, students were asked to give a 1-minute speech containing statistics. When asked to recall the speech 10 minutes later, just 5% of the audience remembered the speeches that were solely focused on stats, while 63% remembered the speeches that told a story

This experiment suggests that facts are 12% more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story. So whether you’re building your brand messaging, creating content or establishing tone of voice guidelines for your business, remember that storytelling is the best way to engage your audience.

3. Using psychology to engage your audience

Smarter marketers understand that although every buyer will have their own unique challenges and motivations, when it’s time to make a purchasing decision, there are a number of cognitive biases that influence each and every one of us. In fact, over 300 cognitive biases determine every decision your audience makes.

When you understand these biases, you can combine them with the insights you gain from your customer data to take your marketing to the next level. Because the truth is, most buyers don’t even truly understand all of the factors that influence their decision-making - so even customer surveys, interviews and focus groups can be fallible. 

There are lots of ways that you can adapt your digital marketing to appeal to your audience’s cognitive biases. Most marketers will be familiar with the concept of providing social proof, for example. Simply adding case studies to your landing pages could help you to increase conversions because when people aren’t sure about what to do, they often copy the actions of their peers. 

And did you know that due to the anecdotal fallacy, people are more likely to believe the ‘evidence’ of one person’s anecdote than scientifically proven statistics gathered from a large study group?  You can play to this cognitive bias by including customer stories and testimonials throughout your marketing. 

Many marketers are yet to take a smarter approach to marketing and delve deeper into buyer psychology, which means their strategies can fall short no matter how much data they collect or how well they can tell a story. This means there’s a real opportunity for you to get ahead of your competitors by marketing smarter.

Supporting you to market smarter

At Cognition, we’re smarter than your average marketing agency due to our unique, psychology-based approach to marketing. Our marketing strategists collaborated with the neuroscientists on our Scientific Board to develop the Cognition Brain: a scientifically and psychologically robust model that uses your data to create a through-funnel marketing strategy that engages prospects across multiple channels.   

The Cognition Brain brings together three systems that are vital to any marketing strategy: data, stories and engagement. Together, they form a psychologically robust, commercially effective model that changes your organisation’s behaviour, which directly translates into engagement and sales.  

We used the Cognition Brain to help the food industry specialists at Sparc Systems to take a smarter approach to marketing. Their Managing Director, David Buckley, was initially sceptical about allocating much budget to marketing - but within two years of working with us and executing a psychology-based marketing strategy,  they had doubled their turnover. You can read the full Sparc Systems case study

If you’re ready to take a smarter approach to marketing, our team of marketing and psychology experts are here to support you. Contact us today


Contact the team at Cognition Agency for all your digital marketing requirements.