More about testing your business

In April 29’s Boston Globe, you might have seen a story discussing Robert Cialdini’s report in May’s Psychology Science.

You do read Psychology Science, right? Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but I’ll bet you read the Science Daily website. After all, there’s a lot more gold there for the entrepreneur than you might imagine. Don’t read Science Daily? Well, surely you’ve read Cialdini’s classic book “Influence”?  If all those answers were “No”, then start with the book and you’ll see what I mean.

Look, I strongly suggest that you add psychology, at least some regular reading about it, to your arsenal.

Cialdini’s report spoke of the value of using shame in marketing, even in materials that aren’t designed to sell something. Items simply attempting to evoke a behavior – such as asking hotel guests to reuse their towels in order to conserve water and power, or when asking folks to cut down their use of electricity in the summer wherever possible.

Shame, such as “Join your fellow guests in helpingâ?¦the majority of our guests use their towels more than once.” That extra sentence at the end produced better results. Testing.

You may not have realized that psychologists are testers, just like you should be. When they try to figure out why people do what they do, they study and record behavior. IE: Testing. They insist on proper sample sizes, because they want to be sure that the results they get are actually meaningful.

You need to be just as sure when measuring results in your business. In your case, when observing behavior with your product, service, store layout, etc  – your sample sizes can be a good bit smaller than what psychologists use.

As I noted earlier, the education you get about your design will probably surprise you. Hopefully, it’ll be a pleasant surprise for the rest of your clients sometime in the future.