I was reading an article in AdAge about Ian Ayres. He and his publisher were battling over the title of his new book. He wanted to call it The End of Intuition. His publishers wanted to call it Super Crunchers.
[His publishers said] “The End of Intuition” is a terrible name. So boring. But Ian Ayres didn’t believe it. That’s what he wanted to call his new book about how much better it is to test ideas through random trials rather than just trusting some marketing guru or focus group — or intuition. His editor thought he was nuts and insisted that “Super Crunchers” was a much zippier name.
So the two of them decided to do some random testing of his book on random testing. They took out a Google ad and half the time someone was doing a search on “data mining” or “number crunching,” a little ad on the right would appear for a new book called “The End of Intuition.” Half the time the same ad appeared for a new book called “Super Crunchers.”
Based only on this information, which title do you think won? Make your best guess, then keep reading.
To me, it’s pretty darn obvious; “Super Crunchers” had to perform much better if they keywords they targeted were “data mining” and “number crunching.”
“Super Crunchers” got way more traffic — 63% — and thus became the title of his book.
I was actually a little surprised it wasn’t higher than 63%, but I don’t have access to the actual ad.
There are two types of people in customer research. There are Humanistics, who have a great ability to empathize with other people. They truly want to understand why people behave the way they do, what their deeper motivations are, and how to better relate to people. Then there are Methodicals. They’re superior number crunchers. They like statistics and spreadsheets. They base their decisions on facts (even if they’re merely justifying to themselves a decision that’s already been made based on emotion).
I’d be curious to see this test repeated with different keywords like “customer insight” or “customer research”or “understanding your customers.” These are keywords more likely to be used by Humanistics, who would be more attracted to the title “The End of Insight.”
If the subject matter of the book is truly aimed at more Methodical researchers, “Super Crunchers” is definitely the way to go. I’m not suggesting Ian change the title of the book. But never underestimate the power of words. The keywords you choose will affect your results.