How to Read Your Customers’ Minds. No. 3 & 5 Are Eye-Openers..


Every good marketer knows that to effectively persuade customers, they must first be able to understand them.

However, this is no easy task – after all, customers come in more than thirty-one flavours, and the days of general market segmentation (a.k.a. stereotyping) have since long gone.


Customer Mind to Customer Behaviour.

At Exabytes Internet Marketing Seminar (EIMS) 2016, principal psychology consultant Dr. Wong Kok Fye entertained and enlightened participants with several important insights into customer behaviour.

It based on the basic premise that since customers are humans, understanding how humans react to different situations is the key to understanding customer behaviour. He then explained 5 psychology-based truths about customers, namely:

#1 90% of customers decide with their hearts, NOT their heads.

Despite how we’d like to believe that we’re all rational people capable of making decisions through statistics and data alone, Dr. Wong explained that most of the time, people usually attempt to buy a feeling, not a product or a service. For instance, some people buy expensive gifts to ‘buy’ the affection of the recipient, or their own happiness in giving someone a gift. Therefore, marketers should utilize stories in their campaigns to promote the positive feelings that people are looking for.


#2 Body language and object placement can make customers like you more…or less.

Using himself as an example, Dr. Wong sat to the right of the stage where he was presenting, then changed his position to stage left. When the audience preferred him to be at stage right, he explained the importance of placement and body language in improving someone’s likeability.

People who ‘power pose’ and objects that are placed larger and higher up on a page are both perceived to be more important and powerful.

#3 WORDS ARE POWERFUL – they can change how you or your product is perceived.

Consider a donation plea: “Please Donate”

Seeing this on the bunting or placard, many might think: I already overspent this month. I don’t mind donating 1 Dollar. But what can 1 Dollar do? I think I’d better save it.

So what if the organizer adds a few words to it. Will it make a difference? ABSOLUTELY YES!

What if the bunting/placard reads:

“Please Donate.


In short, it does NOT take an entire content overhaul for customers to subconsciously prefer something more or less. Citing an example of charity donors, small changes in words or phrasing such as adding ‘every penny counts’ to the end of a donation plea, or adding the word ‘small’ behind an amount of money, helps reduces donors’ feelings of guilt and reluctance in giving – and even increased the amount that they gave substantially!

** If your business needs help to write good content or taglines for your compaigns, consider engaging the service of a Copywriting Agency.


#4 Pricing – down to the exact decimals – subconsciously influences purchases.

Ever wondered why you thought supersizing your fast food meal or popcorn was a good deal even though if you were to actually crunch the numbers, it was normally priced? Dr. Wong explained the psychology of pricing: how number and decimal arrangements ‘trick’ people into making larger purchases, thinking that it would save them more than a small one.

He gave the example of 3 drinks priced as RM1 (small), RM1.80(medium) and RM2 (large), and explained why more people will opt for the large – because the small price distance between the medium and large drinks makes people feel good that for an extra 20 cents, they’re getting a drink twice the size. The trick is the deliberate price hiking of the medium drink, which makes the small drink appeal less (80 cents difference between small and medium).

#5 Most of the time, customers trust others’ opinions over their own ones.

To illustrate this, Dr. Wong played a video of two researchers pretending to hold a rope both sides of roads and shopping aisles. To the audience’s amazement, people actually avoided the invisible ‘rope’ or stopped in front of it, which Dr. Wong goes on to explain that people often ignore their own instincts or judgements when they see other people behave differently.

To DIG DEEPER into how understanding customers’ minds can be used to marketers’ advantages, Dr. Wong’s talk was followed-up by a discussion on the psychology of persuasive content. Moderated by James Pong (Social and Digital Head at Maxis), EIMS participants gleaned further insights from Dr. Wong, Crystal Cha (Writer and Content Marketing Consultant) and Clement Chau (Founder, Galado Networks). These were some of their insights:

  • The most important elements in persuasive content
    Clement shared that for content to be persuasive, it must be personalized, relatable and emotionally impactful. Adding to that, Crystal made a helpful distinction between persuasion, which is done for the benefit of the persuaded, and manipulation which is tricking someone for personal benefit.
  • How to appeal emotionally to customers
    Drawing further into her mention of persuasion vs. manipulation, Crystal stressed the importance of being credible and authentic by letting customers ‘brag’ on your behalf. Wong elaborated that by explaining two psychological effects that are associated with testimonials – the 3rd party effect and the layman effect, which help brands relate to customers better.
  • How to avoid content that sounds like clickbait
    To avoid clickbait, Clement suggested that marketers avoid listicle trends and exaggerated adjectives such as ‘amazing’or ‘you’ll never guess what happened next’. Crystal added that as all customers tune out clickbait after a while, marketers should be selective when using catch phrases, making sure that they’re relevant to their industry. Dr. Wong, on the other hand, suggested that clickbait could be salvaged by associating a product or service to a quality person or brand that people trust.

All in all, there are as many ways to understand and persuade customers, as they come from different backgrounds and with different needs.

Marketers should know how to balance using emotional appeal to win customers over, while practicing sincerity and genuineness throughout the process.


So it’s a wrap for EIMS 2016! The NEXT grand scale event organized by the Exabytes Group is Exabytes eCommerce Conference (EEC) 2016!

The great news is, this year’s EEC is gonna be more exciting and happening than last year’s. To find out more, visit:

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