Cognitive biases play an important role in the way we, as marketers, create content for clients. Sometimes these cognitive biases can impact your decisions subconsciously and can seriously damage brand reputation. So it is absolutely essential to understand what cognitive biases are and the impact they can have on your digital strategy. Being aware of how these biases come into play and affect your content strategy can help you minimise them in future. So let’s start by understanding what cognitive bias really means and the different kinds of cognitive biases that could affect your content marketing efforts.
What is Cognitive Bias?
When someone’s subjective reality overpowers the objective reality of any situation, cognitive biases occur. This basically means that a person’s perception of reality feels more believable than the actual circumstances and facts in a particular situation. This can occur on a subconscious level due to various pre-existing beliefs, cultural learnings and other factors without the person being aware of it.
Such pre-existing biases can affect your content marketing strategy without your knowledge and could also upset your target audience if it goes against their personal beliefs. So it is important for marketers to understand the kind of cognitive biases there are and take steps to avoid them. Let’s take a look at the different types of cognitive biases that could affect your content strategy.
Types of Cognitive Biases
Confirmation bias occurs when we have certain pre-existing beliefs, and we are constantly looking for evidence to confirm these beliefs. When this occurs, we tend to ignore or discount any situations or facts that go against our existing beliefs. This leads to the building of an alternative reality in our heads as we only listen to information that proves us right and everyone else wrong.
Sunk-cost thinking occurs when we choose to stick with bad investments because of all the time, effort and money we have invested in them. This can be detrimental to your content strategy as we may want to hold on to a strategy that is not working, simply because of the research, time and money we have put into it. This way of thinking can lead to a downfall for marketers: it is important to keep up to date with trends and make strategic shifts as and when required.
The third type of cognitive bias is cultural bias. While many limit their cultural bias to gender and race, it can also occur when, as marketers, we assume that everyone sees the world in the same way as we do. We tend, unknowingly, to project our opinions, that have been based on various shared cultural aspects, onto a situation and push the outcome to align with those cultural beliefs.
This type of bias occurs while studying data. As human beings, we tend to draw our conclusions based on a small sample of random data. Certain apparent clusters of data may cause you to make incorrect conclusions. This is known as the clustering illusion.
Tips to Minimise Cognitive Biases in Content Marketing
Now that you know the kinds of cognitive biases that can affect your content marketing strategy, here are some tips that can help you minimise the impact of your cognitive biases:
Study Your Target Audience
By conducting an in-depth study of your target customer persona, you will be able to understand their personal beliefs and what would have the best impact on them and, as a result, steer clear of the things that would have a negative impact on them.
Focus on Being Objective
As a brand, you may want to state facts as they are, without being biased towards an outcome. It is always good for brands to talk about current affairs, but to do so in a non-biased, objective manner which will ensure that no bridges are burnt in the process.
Take Cognitive Bias Reduction Training
For marketers who would like to significantly reduce the influences of cognitive bias, one-shot de-biasing training can help achieve that goal. The training is known to improve decision-making abilities and judgements in a high-risk managerial context.