BEworks boosts marketing efforts to educate executives on the business benefits of behavioral economics

BeWorks behavioral economics
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It may not be as well-known as the best-selling author who co-founded it, but BEworks is taking some big steps to raise awareness of its track record in applying behavioral economics to boost conversion rates, stimulate enterprise innovation and more.

Over the past few months, BEworks has set up in a new, larger office space in downtown Toronto, appointed a chief marketing officer (former Interbrand Canada managing director Carolyn Ray) and conducted workshops on behavorial economics at the recent C2 Montreal conference. This fall, the firm will also host a Summit For Science in Financial Services, promising business leaders “a new lens to achieve their strategic priorities.”

According to its CEO Kelly Peters, BEworks has spent its first eight years focused on serving large clients in sectors such as government, CPG and energy as well as financial services. As word of mouth among those clients have spread, however, the opportunity to expand has reached a tipping point where a more concerted marketing effort will be key to its long-term growth.

“We’re finally in a position of starting to let the world know about us,” Kelly told B2B News Network, adding that many customers and prospects first learn about the company through its association with her co-founder, Dan Ariely. “Our secret sauce, our secret weapon, has always been using behavioral economics to change things like how people consume energy, or how regulators measure policies. Now there are case studies that we’re in a position to share.”

BEworks’ challenge is to help marketing, sales and technology leaders who have only a superficial understanding of behavioral economics to realize where it can address some of their most challenging problems.

Most of the theories behind why customers might choose to make a purchase, for example, or partner with another firm are often based on the assumption that people act in rational ways. According to Kelly, however, it’s often more complicated than that. Instead, she spoke of how BEworks can help organizations use “choice architecture” that identifies the biases in individual decision-makers and use them to sway behavior in ways that would otherwise be difficult to predict.

“Customers are sometimes hiring us because they’re frustrated by their marketing teams,” she said. “Marketers traditionally don’t have operational measures — some of them won’t even know what that term means.”

A marketing team may be tasked with revamping a brand’s customer experience, for instance, but BEworks would challenge them on how they’re defining CX. “Often it’s not deeper than what a child could come up with,” she said.

Instead of working from intuition or falling victim to their own biases, BEworks helps organizations create randomized control tests and other approaches based on rigorous scientific methods to get more accurate, actionable data on which to develop a strategy. Sometimes this means looking at a longer timeframe — Kelly referenced an insurance firm that was trying to deal with customer attribution issues, where a BEworks test needed to look at waves of renewals on one-year-old policies.

As the BEworks brand becomes more visible, Kelly hopes to have more conversations with business leaders about moving away from running their firms solely on the basis of opinion, intuition, prior experience, which often boils down to ego. Instead, she said the best leaders are ones who have the confidence to challenge their own beliefs. The best way to frame those challenges, she argued, is through thoughtful behavioral economic testing rather than a simple survey or focus group.

“We know how to run experiments in very constrained environments where data might be lacking, where there may be no hypothesis,” she said. “We’re ready to unleash the power of science.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.