100 Days of Leo Burnett, the Midwestern Master of Mascots DAY 55

Here’s today’s Leo:

I like to look on our own shop as a kind of barefoot agency which is mentally always trying to put itself into other people’s shoes — a working ranch rather than a dude ranch.” — Leo Burnett

The greatest mistake I see from marketers and businesspeople — and I see it a LOT — is the near-irresistible urge to apply your own experiences broadly across your customer or user base. My guess is that there is some strong human DNA-driven urge to identify with others, and to assume that your experiences, thoughts, and desires are translatable to everyone else.

The challenge is that the lives of most marketers and businesspeople couldn’t be more different than the population at large. It’s the 1% thinking they know what it’s like to be the 99%. It’s faintly ridiculous at best — usually hilariously out-of-touch.

I’m consulting on a ticket selling effort right now and we are seeing a sales pattern of steadily growing sales, but with a spike at the beginning of each month. What is the spike? It’s people getting paid — most people have to wait for their paycheck to make discretionary purchases. It’s not a well-appreciated phenomenon amongst well-heeled marketers, but the need for cash-based tools (such as Venmo) and marketing to the pay cycle is a real thing.

The best way to ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of assuming your lifestyle is average is to *assume that you lifestyle is NOT average*. Yep, awareness is the first step to healing in this area, and it’s healthy to gobble up a big piece of humble pie. Here’s my favorite slice:


Professor Ben Polak of Yale University has an *excellent* online course on game theory up on YouTube: Link. It’s amazing content from one of the world’s best universities … and completely free. I love the Internet.

Episode 2 focuses on putting yourself in other people’s shoes. In this video we learn that when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you should consider not only their goals, but also how sophisticated are they (are they rational?), and how much do they know about you (do they know that you are rational?). Leveraging game theory as a marketer is something we don’t do enough, but there are significant payoffs to be gained from using game theory as marketing strategy because it allows us to separate our *personal experiences* from our *professional planning*.

In game theory, you put yourself in other people’s shoes in order to figure out what they’re going to do, and then respond appropriately. This is how we should work as marketers. The way to train yourself to think outside yourself is that whenever you hear yourself saying “I think…” or “I [insert behavior]” you are taking a personal viewpoint. What you should hear yourself saying is “I know that…” or “User behavior tells us…” — no one cares what you *think* … we want to know what you *know*.

Take a look at Lesson 2 from Professor Polak:

#madmen #advertising #gametheory #prisonersdilemma

Continue to Day 56