How to Influence Online Behavior: The Smarter Screen


The Smarter Screen is a new book about influencing people’s behavior while they are spending several hours a day staring at screens.

Author Shlomo Benartzi is a professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and has applied behavioral economics to help Americans increase their savings rates with Richard Thaler.

Benartzi writes, “My hope is that we can use the scale of technology to bring more fixes to more people in far less time. In order to take advantage of these digital nudges, I believe we need to tailer them for our new online environment. Although we like to pretend that our brain isn’t altered by technology, new evidence suggests that these splendid inventions are shifting the patterns of our behavior in all sort of subtle ways. What’s more, these shifts are often predictable, allowing us to anticipate how people will act on a device, and how they will respond to our interventions.”

In the book he discusses how people’s behavior differs online. For instance you are more likely to add bacon to your pizza if you order online and you’re likely to overvalue a product you are considering if shopping with a touch screen device. He also discusses how you are more likely to choose a product if it is in a screen “hotspot”, even if there is a better option available and how online viewing affects memory.

You can learn more about the book at Amazon. The Smarter Screen: Surprising Ways to Influence and Improve Online Behavior is available in hardcover.

Listen to 20 Seth Godin Interviews in One Place


If you are a fan of Seth Godin’s work, you may appreciate this curation of 20 audio interviews. Click on a play button to start receiving a heavy dose of insights and ideas that challenge the status quo (the interview should load after you click the play button).

Gape Into The Void: Podcast Episode 9 with Seth Godin Gaping Void

Flying Closer to the Sun with Seth Godin The Unmistakable Creative

AC #132: Seth Godin on ‘Tribes’ Accidental Creative

STARVE027 – Seth Godin – Go Make A Ruckus! Starve the Doubts

Seth Godin – You Cannot Measure Success with a Bank Balance Eventual Millionaire

43: Seth Godin Entrepreneur on Fire

SPOS #340 – Flying High Again With Seth Godin Twist Image

Seth Godin on Choices Work Talk Show

You can’t make ‘Art’ if you are not willing to fail – Interview with Seth Godin on The Icarus Deception Adrian Swinscoe

Funding the Dream on Kickstarter Ep 63 with Seth Godin The Game Whisperer

43 Folders – Interview with “Linchpin” author, Seth Godin 43 Folders

Seth Godin on Blogging, Business Books, and Creating Content that Matters Copyblogger

#143 – Show #57 Seth Godin on Linchpins and Startups The Startup Success Podcast

Interview with Seth Godin: Podcast 31 The Driven Business

ETG Podcast: Episode 1 Ending the Grind

An Agent of Change (Seth Godin) Giant Robots Smashing into other Giant Robots Podcast

Special Interview with Seth Godin Marketing Over Coffee

Talking Linchpin with Seth Godin Duct Tape Marketing

We Are All Artists Now Duct Tape Marketing

This Might Not Work: A Conversation with Seth Godin About Art Goins Writer

On the Future of Books: A Discussion with Seth Godin Zen Habits

You will probably need one of the following browsers to play the MP3 with the HTML5 audio player: Chrome 6+, IE 9+, or Safari 5+. Alternatively you can follow the link to the original interview source.

Seth Godin’s books to check out:

Creative commons photo by Simone Brunozzi

5 Marketing Takeaways from Brandwashed


What kind of behavior brought upon the notion of the Pepsi challenge? Did Pepsi suddenly get curious, wanting to battle with competitor Coke without prompt? No, Pepsi wanted to clean the ‘brandwashed’ associations residing in Coke drinkers’ heads.

A number of consumers are ‘brandwashed,’ routinely seeking the same services and products, forming an allegiance to particular brands. Is it just consumerism running its natural course, or is it a part of the larger, marketing plan of brands?

Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed, thinks the cycle of consumerism is purposeful, having worked for major brands like McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Nokia. In his book, Martin gives readers a view into branding insights, exercised by major suppliers.

Start Young

Like with developing skills and honing talents, advertisers start early, seeking to make impressions in young people. The same person who loved their McDonald’s happy meal as a kid is likely to do the same for their children one day, continuing as a consumer of the brand throughout their life and making impressions on others along the way.

Lindstrom encourages brands to think beyond one-off purchases, making consumers true brand advocates and ensuring they come back again, forming a lifelong buying habit. What does your brand do to attract the younger generation, those who grow to be dollar-spending consumers.

Stroke the Ego

Sigmund Freud, in his exploration of the human psyche, identifies three major components of the ego – the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the ‘childish’ or irrational part of our egos.

While adults often exercise maturity and restraint from primal urges, Lindstrom mentions advertisers use primal urges (such as sexual attraction) in marketing campaigns, thus the notion, “sex sells.” 80% of teen girls mention shopping as a hobby. Feeling attractive and getting attention is on any teen’s list, and advertisers know how to prod primal and generally-held human urges.

Reference Heydays

Notice how people of varying generations debate about music. Debaters often believe the sounds respective of their younger years or heyday as superior to others. Lindstrom relays that advertisers seek to develop associations to good memories, such as those in one’s childhood or teen years.

Consider the Hershey’s brand, producing special wrapping and products for various holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Nostalgia stirs good emotions, emotions advertisers hope extend to include products and services too.

Be Social

What are some of the funniest things you’ve seen on YouTube this year? Most people gain word about viral or well-shared content through peers. Lindstrom instructs viral marketing as a major weapon of branding campaigns.

One of Pepsi’s recent viral triumphs blurs the line between reality and fiction, turning a disguised NBA star into a seemingly un-athletic and elderly man for an entertaining and well-shared video series. While billboards and magazine ads make impressions, stronger ones are created by social sharing.

Express Urgency

You can save 50% on that car, but you need to act now! New members get a free iPod while supplies last! Delivery is free to the first 200 callers! All of these ad messages express urgency, as if the viewer is missing out or something bad will happen if they don’t react.

Lindstrom mentions the creation of paranoia as a selling tactic, compelling consumers to make quick decisions when faced with impending embarrassment, failure, or doom. If you don’t buy deodorant, you’ll smell. If you don’t go to the dentist, you’ll get tooth decay. If you don’t buy diet foods, you’ll get fat. If the initial thought of purchasing isn’t enough to entice consumers, brands insert levels of urgency and paranoia, introducing negative associations to not buying respective products and services.

Matthew Rayfield is business marketing consultant. He has a penchant for business websites and enjoys passing on his expertise through blogging. Visit for more ideas.