Secret Sauce

Author: Rishi Rawat

The original goal wasn’t to develop an optimization framework. But after running 300+ experiments it became clear some ideas were consistently doing better.

So we went through our entire back catalog and started organizing ideas into buckets. Those buckets were sliced and diced dozens of times. The goal was to organize ideas into well-defined tactics. We’d get really excited when we felt close to a break-through. And then an inconsistency would appear and we’d have to start all over again.

There were times when it felt hopeless.

Finally, on May 20, 2019, the model was complete.

What started as 7 tactics, expanded to 16, and contracted to 8. The goal was to boil everything down to the fundamentals. In the end, we ended up 3 tactics.

Using just 3 tactics you can improve any page.


Using what we know about the user to make a connection.

When a user is on your page they have questions like:

— “Is this good value or should I continue searching for a better deal?”
— “Is it good quality?”
— “Can I trust this company?”

Think about it, right now you have questions about us. If we hope to have you as a client we need to address those questions.

Seeing is believing. Give us the link of your page and we’ll revert with a few interesting questions.


Definition: Influencing a thought.

Every marketing message has to deal with 4 types of pushback:

1: “Too good to be true”
2: Negative
3: Competitor
4: “Do nothing”

Narrative Control is a way to push past these 4 thoughts.

Here is an example of a Negative thought. We know shoppers hate newsletter popups. Most close the popup before even reading the message. This means even if your offer is beneficial most will miss it. That’s a problem.

Narrative Control to the rescue. In this example, the user is being offered a 12% discount. Most will instinctively rush to the (x) button without reading the details:

Imagine if we added a message like this for people who clicked (x):

We’re using Narrative Control by letting shoppers know that if they close this popup, they won’t be able to receive the discount offer again. Now shoppers have a choice to make: close the popup and never see the offer again or take the offer. What do you think they will choose?


Reinforcing a point using a visual device.

Imagine you manufacture a safety device that has a response rate of 5 milliseconds. People don’t really have a sense of how fast 5 milliseconds are. Here’s an example of how Visualization communicates that point:

Our Views on Ethical Testing

Our Idea Diary

Why don't we?

Our work is so proprietary so we're simply not allowed to share details about specific tests. But clients have made testimonial videos where they talk about the impact of the work (they feel more comfortable detailing the work in their own words). You can find this on our clients page.

This might not be enough for you. We get it. We also offer a totally free 1-on-1 consulting session. Here’s how it works: Pick a time that works for you and just throw the biggest marketing questions and challenge our way and see how we respond. We’ll even make quick mockups to show you solutions to your actual problems. All real-time. All on video. Yes, seeing what we did for client X might be interesting but it’s no substitute for an idea that’s custom designed for your situation. Interested?

How a Retired Couple Found Lottery Odds in Their Favor

This is a fascinating story because it shows that things right in front of people are often the least obvious to see.

Here is the story. Jerry Selbee and his wife, Marge, are a retired couple from a tiny town of Evart, Michigan (population 1,900).

Note: Jerry and Marge aren't "quants". In fact, they are the opposite. A simple, humble couple that had run a convenient store.

On a morning in 2003, Jerry walked into a corner store and discovered a new lottery game called Winfall. He read the rules and instantly got excited. If his basic calculations were right they felt he could play this game to his advantage.

But then his rational mind chimed in, "Jerry, think about it, this game was developed by Michigan lottery. There are smart people all over the state. If this was so simple they would have figured it out."

Fortunately for Marge, Jerry dismissed his negative thought.

Want to see the math Jerry ran in his head?

Our Views on Ethical Testing

Neuromarketing is powerful, which is why us marketers need to be on the right side of ethics.

It's one thing to create a strategy to slow down distracted users. It's quite another to use tactics to manipulate.

Seen the Netflix documentary Fyre Festival? That's an example of unethical marketing.

Let's use marketing for good.

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