Marketing Lessons from Mad-Libs

>> Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One of the most surprisingly common discussions at any advertising agency I've ever been at revolves around registration forms. It usually goes something like this:

Advertising Professional 1: People don’t buy our product / use our service because they don’t understand what it can do for them.

Advertising Professional 2: If only there was some way we could tell them specifically what it will do for them.

Advertising Professional 1: What if we signed them up for a program and asked them a few questions? Then we could send them information that would be relevant!

Advertising Professional 2: Awesome idea!

Advertising Professional 1: Yeah!

Advertising Professional 2: But no one ever fills out those forms. I know I don’t.

Advertising Professional 1: Oh yeah. I don’t either. Darn.

Take heart advertising professionals – there may yet be hope for those registration forms. Hat tip to @organicinc for drawing my attention to an intriguing blog post on two different approaches to getting people to fill out a registration form.

The post comes from Luke Wroblewski, who tried a fascinating experiment.

For one group of people he dispatched the usual registration form using simple labels like “username” and “password” for each piece of information needed. For the second group of people he used a “Mad Libs” type form that put the data capture into a narrative format. For instance, when asking for people to assign themselves a username and password, the form read: “I want my username to be __________ and my password to be ___________.”

Luke goes on to report the “Mad Libs style forms increased conversion across the board by 25-40%.” These are terrific results that could have a dramatic impact on the viability of CRM programs for any number of brands struggling with low enrollment rates.

It struck me as one of those magical “duh” moments. Of course people would prefer the more human “Mad Libs” approach. And yet, almost no one does it that way. Luke’s experiment made me think about all of the little interactions that we as marketers sometimes take for granted. Things that we would never think of doing face-to-face, we often have no problem doing when we are working screen-to-face.

I can’t wait to introduce our clients to Mad Libs-style enrollment forms, and to explore what other aspects of our marketing we can humanize. Hope this finds you well.

Jacob Braude
VP, Strategic Planner


Post a Comment