I sat down with a psychologist friend of mine the other day, and after all the pleasantries were exchanged, we got to talking about product growth and human behavior. While I’m sure most psychologists are used to putting people on the spot, it was an interesting sight to see how uncomfortable I made him with the question I posed.
I asked something along the lines of: “Michael (name changed to protect his professional integrity), you deal with people and data sets all the time, and you know all about psychological profiling and making educated assumptions in order to help people overcome compulsions, right?”
“Yes,” he nervously replied.
That was my green light. “What would you need to do to turn the tables? To use profiling and data-driven stereotyping to amplify a compulsion?”
He paused, conflicted, partially by the thought of flipping his power for doing good on its head and partially by the surprise of such a request.
What followed was a discussion of the process one could use to profile, generalize, and deconstruct marketers’ tendencies to create more impulsive calls-to-action.