Marketing is actually its own form of psychology. Marketers must go deep into the minds of their customers to fully understand the buyer’s journey. But industry insiders can sometimes be so focused on helping customers that they may forget that marketers need occasional coaching too. We all fall victim to irrational assumptions. These distorted thinking patterns, or "cognitive distortions," as psychologist David Burns calls them, can cause us to unintentionally sabotage business relationships. Master your marketing efforts by heeding these six dangerous assumptions: Twisted Thought #1: All-or-Nothing Thought "I totally screwed up because the client gave some bad feedback." Sometimes marketers go to extremes. You either kill because the client likes your work, or you go downhill because they express any level of dissatisfaction. All-or-nothing thinking teeters on a seesaw of perfectionism and failure.
They either love your job or hate it. Either you succeed or you fail. This view is unrealistic. Not many things in life are black and white. If you base your marketing relationship on absolutes, you're going to be discouraged and underdeliver. Embrace gray. Remember, don't view any type of feedback as negative or positive, any input from your customers can help you improve. Advice will make you better prepared to support their company's needs, so use their guidance to grow. Twisted Idea #2: Jump to Conclusion and Catastrophization "Since clients didn't respond to my emails, they must be pissed. That's my promotion." Email tracking shows that your customer opened your email yesterday and still hasn't responded. Oh my god. That can't be a good thing. Obviously, they're angry/distraught/confused/"insert any negativity here!" It's best to tell your coworkers to prepare for the worst. This tendency to make assumptions without any established facts can lead to some bad judgment, hasty decisions, or unnecessary tension. When it comes to jumping to conclusions, there are two big cognitive distortions at play: mind-reading and fortune-telling. Mind reading is when you conclude that someone's behavior must be negative. You are so sure that you are too lazy to confirm. When customers don't respond to your emails, you may mistakenly think they're angry and cause unnecessary worry. In fact, maybe the customer thinks your email doesn't need an immediate response, or is just distracted by the response. Worse yet, self-sabotage becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your assumptions suddenly make you feel catastrophic about future interactions, and in your worrying mind, your brain starts to imagine all the bad things an unhappy customer could do to your work life. They'll call your boss to tell you to fuck off -- or, if you send them a follow-up email, they'll think you're harassing them. Rather than rushing industry mailing list conclusions, simply ask questions. Or, set clearer expectations from the start. If you don't need an immediate response, please speak up. If you do, give them a buzz and see if you can help move things forward. Get out of the anxiety trampoline and get back to the client level. Twisted Idea #3: Minimize "Oh, the client did get a little worried, but it's no big deal. It'll blow through." On the other end of the spectrum, minimization in business psychology occurs when you narrow down the value or importance of something. Let's say your client is concerned that their daily blog post isn't published and sends you a Slack message asking why they're late.
In order to stay calm or avoid making more effort, you underreact and turn a blind eye to the smoke signals your clients have been brooding about. You reply later; you are busy. It's no big deal if you're a few hours late. They need to calm down. But leaving them hanging or denying their response creates tension and can be seen as apathy. Never make a client feel that you are not as urgent or concerned as they are. Next thing you know, clients accuse you of ignoring them or not doing your job properly, and now your boss is after you. Make your clients feel heard and respected by addressing their requests in a timely and compassionate manner. If they haven't formally asked for anything, but you're unhappy based on a recent interaction, don't ignore it. Solve problems with empathy. Minimization doesn't always have to be cast on the client. Emphasizing your work can erode your confidence and influence, making your efforts seem small or unimportant. When considering your strengths, don't forget to give yourself credit where it should be and let the important people know.