Think Closely About the Choices You Present

One wrong word (or phrase) can injure conversions.

Dyson is an amazing company. They KNOW how to market their engineering story. They also have beautiful products and a beautiful website. But no one is perfect.

Before I go on, let me ask a question: do you prefer reading text or watching a video?

“I prefer watching a video”:

“I prefer reading”: Ok, so here are the options they present:


Pay attention to the first 3. The 3rd option (3rd from the left) has one extra feature listed: Intelligent processor in the head:


This leads to all sorts of cognitive issues because I assumed the first 3 options were the same, except for color. They have the same price and number of reviews, which supported my theory. I even clicked the down arrow to see if maybe the 3rd model had differences in terms of accessories. Here too I couldn’t spot any difference:


To investigate I explored the Learn more button for all 3 models. The phrase Intelligent processor in the head isn’t mentioned anywhere on the product pages. At this point, my brain is getting a little fried.

I believe Dyson made a mistake. They accidentally added the phrase Intelligent processor in the head on the 3rd option even though that’s a feature that applies to all 3 models. This could be a fatal conversion killer. I’ll tell you what it did to me. When I first got to the page the red color model spoke to me (1st one listed). I was about to pull the trigger when I noticed the phrase Intelligent processor in the head. The narrative in my head was that the iron/fuchsia model is $399.99 and has Intelligent processor in the head. Do I really like the red color so much I’m willing to forgo a compelling feature (“Intelligent processor in the head”)? I don’t think so.

Navigation flow slowed (that’s not a good thing for Dyson). Ended up spending an extra 20 minutes to get to the bottom of Intelligent processor in the head and couldn’t figure it. My emotional self wants the red color and my rational side isn’t willing to give up on Intelligent processor in the head feature (especially because it is FREE on the fuchsia color model).

Guess what I did? I decided to defer the purchase. Guess what that really means? I might never return to the site.

One wrongly worded phrase totally messed up the comparison table.

What Makes a Good Story?

Of the 7 conversion triggers Story is probably the most powerful. But, what is Story? Story is the emotion we evoke in the mind of the audience.

The difference between an average and good story is 512x.

What Makes a Good Story - Feature Graphic.png

Let me illustrate with a story.

A sales guy has been working at a mattress store for 5 years. Like most brick and mortar businesses his store is facing margin pressures and diminishing foot traffic. Finally, the store closes.

This sales guy needs a new job. There aren’t too many (or any) retail businesses that are hiring so he applies to for a sales job at a local software company that’s rapidly expanding.

He can tell his story in one of two ways:

Format 1: I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I was their top salesperson.

One important aspect of storytelling is managing the narrative. In format 1 the narrative wasn’t managed well because the hiring manager is thinking, “who the hell works for a dinosaur retail store? Is this guy aware the world is rapidly changing and shoppers are buying online? His current job represents the past. Our company represents the future. Do we really want a person like this leading our sales? I’m not sure …”

If you don’t manage the narrative the reader will manage it for you. And they will always manage it in a way that doesn’t make you look good.

Format 2 (512x better): I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I know what you’re thinking, “why did I work for a dying channel?” It was intentional. Yes, the online channel (where you guys excel) has all the advantages. But there is one sales skill only a retail store can offer, which is the ability to study and react to shopper facial expressions on a real-time basis. Because very few retail stores remain this aspect of sales training is a dying art. Was I a good sales student of sales? I was their top salesperson.

Can Price Sensitivity Be Influenced? Yes

Written form of the video above:

As marketers, we tend to want to put the consumer into price buckets.

I’ve had conversations where the marketer would say: our target audience are retired people, or our target audience are people who make over $130k.

This implies an affluent shopper who is price insensitive is price insensitive for ALL purchases. And someone who is price sensitive is also sensitive under ALL scenarios.

Price sensitivity is situational. Here is my story. I use a marketing tool for work and spend several hundred dollars on it each month. It doesn’t bother me at all.

I also have an iPhone app called which we use maintaining our grocery store. It’s great and I’ve been on the free plan for years.

I recently wanted to add a picture of a food item to the app so I could identify it at the store. That required moving to the paid plan for $11.99 / year for a family. The moment I upgraded I realized I had made a mistake because their individual plan for $7.99 / year was a better fit (since we have just one account). I immediately emailed their customer service team. It took a few minutes to locate their contact info and compose an email to explain my situation. Keep in mind the difference was $4 / year. Four dollars a YEAR. In other words, I spent more time writing the email. So, what happened here? What happened is that I was being situationally price sensitive. I didn’t care about the few hundred I spend a month on the marketing tool because I’m primed to pay for those “types” of services. But paying an extra $4 a year for an app that I’ve been using for 6 years didn’t seem like a good deal. Why? It’s because in my mind apps are free.

I’m the same person, yet I’m behaving in two completely different ways, simultaneously.

My point is that affluent customers can be super price sensitive depending on a situation, and lower earning buyers can be super price insensitive depending on the situation.

Marketers can influence the situational price sensitivity of the shopper. How? By telling better stories.

Fear …

Narrative Control is an attempt to make something positive that is or will be perceived as negative.

Fear is something often considered as negative, and since everyone is affected by fear, this poses a great opportunity for Narrative Control.

Take for example this ad from ProShares:


It’s no doubt that brick-and-mortar stores are being affected from online retailers such as Amazon. The future is becoming uncertain, and ProShares knows this. They take the user’s fears and instead turn it into a positive by talking about “EMTY, the first ETF designed to turn the decline of bricks-and-mortar retailers into an investment opportunity for you.”

This can be used for a variety of things: Don’t offer free shipping? Use Narrative Control to inform that you have to charge for shipping in order to meet bottom lines. Shipping times longer than expected? Use Narrative Control to let the users know that every product is delivered from your warehouse and no third-parties are involved.