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💌Trust signals, 🤐 the art of persuasion and will AI actually make things more expensive. 🤖

This week focuses on behaviour. How we rely on trust signals to be persuaded, our need to believe we
💌Trust signals, 🤐 the art of persuasion and will AI actually make things more expensive. 🤖
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #16 • View online
This week focuses on behaviour. How we rely on trust signals to be persuaded, our need to believe we are right and the unintended consequences of transparency due to price-bots in markets.

Trust and persuasion
Communication or more specifically persuasion is still more art than science it seems. Elections in recent history show how sharing and retweeting inside your bubbles serve to do very little when it came to changing anybody’s mind. Rory Sutherland in his article on trust and persuasion suggests its a bit like shouting abuse at an opposing team’s supporters during a football match. Though I think you can probably take it a step further - it’s a bit like shouting abuse at an empty away stand. It isn’t doing anything. 😉
Assuming you are getting in front of the people you need to persuade, Rory goes on to suggest that trust plays a key part in the puzzle. This maps closely to what is happening in the B2B marketing world today, where for a decade B2B marketers have thrown content at people via blogs, whitepapers, webinars etc. This has now pushed those recipients of all that noise to look to people they can trust to understand what is true and not. The death of the publisher and the analyst is no longer nigh, nor is TV or the wedding invitation if Rory is to be believed. Read the full article from Rory here.
A sense of rightness
How easy it is to persuade is linked to how firmly a belief is held by the recipient. Steven Sloman, a professor of cognitive science at Brown University looks at why we pretend to know things and why our confidence in those things scale with ignorance.
He suggests that the decisions we make, the attitudes we form, the judgments we make, depend very much on the people around us and what they are thinking. Results from his research show that we tend to preserve our sense of rightness over being right. Only a small group tends to actually pause and reflect before coming to a conclusion and even then not always. If we reflected on everything we could never move forward. The age of now though means that reflection is happening less than ever before. Just asking “are you sure?” can have a big impact. The full interview is here.
When the bots take over
In a recent Twitter chat hosted by B2B Marketing, I suggested there is a need for marketers to do the unexpected - to be different. If marketers all did the predictable (or followed best practice), the result is average at best - more likely you’ll disappear into the noise and be passed by. 
Yet as Artificial Intelligence invades marketing, it threatens to create exactly that environment. The best marketers will need to understand how to take the benefits of AI without sitting back and letting it do all the work for you. Creativity will remain a key human activity in the short to medium term.
In a similar vein, The Economist last week looked at the use of price-bots for comparison websites and its unintended consequences. There is a clear transparency advantage to the consumer but there is also an advantage to the company listed on the site as they now have access to their competitors’ pricing. 
This access gives rise to price-bots which monitor the market and react rapidly to changes and results in little incentive to cut prices as the pricing-bots all follow suit.
By testing higher pricing on the price comparison websites, the companies can test what the optimum price point is for the market and can result in higher prices being set in seconds rather than days. A research paper outlining three case studies looks at how the introduction of these systems have led to these unintended consequences. It seems that ensuring the markets have enough competitors competing becomes a critical tool in ensuring the markets remain fair (no surprise there then - it is Economics 101). Read the full article here.
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Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani)

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