What Most Brands Miss With User Testing (That Costs Them Conversions)

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Sonia Thompson
Sonia Thompson


I’m an inclusive marketing consultant and the founder of Thompson Media Group. A former client of mine recently forwarded me an email he’d received from a market insights company he’s subscribed to. The insights the company had included in this particular email was about "The Top 5 Ranked TV Sitcoms in U.S. History" according to consumers. My client’s message to me was one of disbelief at the results, writing, "According to who?". He couldn’t believe a representative base of respondents came up with the very homogenous top 5 list.

Inclusive user testing graphic with market analyst and cogs to represent data collection

For my client, his questioning the results presented in the email caused friction in his mind. That friction resulted in him doubting the methodology and as a result the credibility of the company sending the email.

Like that company, a lot of brands have unnecessary friction in the customer experiences they deliver. That friction negatively impacts those brands’ conversions.

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Why Brands Struggle to Improve Their Conversion Rates

Brands don’t talk to enough different types of people. As a result, if consumers don’t fit into what is considered to be "mainstream" or "normal," their experiences aren’t sufficiently reflected or considered in the products, services, and experiences brands deliver.

Friction-filled experiences can make consumers from underrepresented communities hesitate and ultimately decide not to choose the brands they were once considering.

I’ve seen this happen in user testing quite a bit. Brands will take the time to observe how their ideal consumers receive their product, their website, or their sales pages. But because they don’t focus on recruiting people with different identities, they miss out on the opportunity to understand the unique ways consumers with different identities go about making decisions.

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    I always like to remind my clients — your customer base is more diverse than you think. Just because you may focus your energy on defining who you serve based upon psychographics and specific qualifying criteria, doesn’t mean they don’t have a variety of identities that influence what they do and don’t purchase.

    For instance, my husband, who is a Spanish speaker, chose his mobile phone company purely based on the fact that the guy who works in the local store closest to our house, speaks Spanish. That wasn’t the case for the competitor with the store across the street. For him, it was better to choose an option where he knows he can seamlessly get his needs met in person, in the language he prefers. In this instance, my husband’s identity as a Spanish speaker was the primary factor in his user experience, and ultimately his purchase decision.

    Below are some common ways the people you want to serve are different. As you design and gather feedback on the products, services, and experiences you deliver, it's helpful to keep these differences, and the corresponding identities and communities connected to them, in mind.

    Consumer differences graph

    Remember, when consumers are considering your brand as a solution to their problem, they are often looking to answer this important question: do people like me achieve success here?

    As I’ve worked with brands of all sizes across industries to grow bigger and more diverse customer bases over the years, one thing that has always been clear is that people with identities from underrepresented and underserved communities experience friction at higher rates than other consumers.

    Here are a few examples of friction consumers shared with me during user testing sessions on various brands’ website and social media channels:

    • A gay man expressed frustration with a hotel’s website because the information he needed to let him know he would be safe there was buried in the website’s footer under an obscure label
    • A woman with disabilities told me she wished an ecommerce brand wouldn’t put all their headings and subheads in all caps because it’s difficult for people with cognitive disorders to read
    • A woman who follows a gluten-free diet shared that although she was happy a restaurant posted an allergen-friendly menu on its website, she wished it wasn’t in table format because they are harder to read because of all the scrolling involved
    • A Black woman told me she absolutely would not work with a wedding photographer after looking at her Instagram portfolio and not seeing any clients who looked like her
    • And a Spanish speaker told me he felt like a brand was saying "You’re not important" when they buried the link to access the Spanish language version of their website in the footer, rather than placing it at the top of the page

    In some of these cases, the brands had already done the work of making sure they were serving the needs of people from underrepresented and underserved communities. But those experiences were friction-filled, which made it harder for the consumer to take the next step forward with the brand, which diminished their conversions.

    User testing that specifically incorporated people with these identities would have helped the brand identify ways to eliminate the friction these consumers experienced.

    In this episode of the Inclusion & Marketing podcast, I cover more in-depth ways brands can go about being inclusive with their conversion rate optimization efforts such as leaning into relatability with your messaging:

    Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization
    Welcome to Inclusion and Marketing the show that's all about helping you develop the skills and
    insights you need to win the attention, adoration, and loyalty of more consumers, especially those
    with differences that are often ignored by brands.
    I'm your
    host, Sonia Thompson, an inclusive brand coach, strategist, consultant, and someone with
    a lot of differences. Let's get to it.
    As marketers, we want to ensure that the campaigns and funnels we put together for our brands are
    converting. I mean, there's an
    entire industry within marketing focused on conversion rate
    I got some questions recently from someone who was inquiring about the role of inclusion in
    conversion rate optimization, and the person I immediately thought of to have a chat
    on this
    topic was Tali
    a Wolf,
    founder of Get Uplift, a Conversion Rate Optimization agency.
    I love her perspective so much on this topic and conversion rate optimization on the whole. So I'm
    eager for you to tune in to this discussion.
    So without furth
    er ado, here's Talia.
    Hey Talia, thanks so much for joining me today. How are you?
    I am good. Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited.
    Yeah, I'm really excited about this conversation. So before we get into it, let's just
    kind of
    bring the people up to speed on who you are and what you do.
    I am Talia Wolf and I'm the founder of Get Uplift. And Get Uplift is a conversion rate
    optimization agency and a training space. So we essentially help businesses optimize their f
    their emails, and their websites to sell more using emotion and we also teach the methodology with
    Got it. Okay. All right. We're gonna talk a lot about emotion today and I'm excited about that.
    But before we do that, can you just
    get us all at speed on what conversion rate optimization is, in
    terms of how you define it?
    Yes, definitely. So conversion rate optimization is the art of turning more of your existing
    visitors into customers or clients. So essentially many companies, most companies spend a lot of
    budget on driving traffic to their website and they see the conve
    rsion rate, whether it's a trial, signup,
    a purchase in Google Analytics, my job and our agency, what
    we do is we turn those people,
    of those people into customers. So essentially if you are getting 10,000 people on to your website
    and a hundred peopl
    e converting, my job is to get it to 200 or 300 or more or less, whatever. And
    we do that by testing.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    So we do extensive research or should we, we will talk about today and then basically make changes
    to the copy,
    to the design, to the user experience sometimes to an actual product or a pricing plan
    depending on the business, and all with the goal of increasing their ROI and driving more revenue
    for them.
    Yeah, so it sounds very analytical and methodical and
    I guess every time that I hear people
    talking about like, okay, we're gonna be focusing on increasing
    our conversions and optimizing,
    think people also talk about it in those terms, but you mentioned that there's a lot of emotion involved
    in this proces
    s. Can you just talk about like how, what the role, role emotion plays, and how that fits
    Yeah, definitely. So I have been doing conversion rate optimization for more than a decade
    now. And when I got started I really was focused
    on changing ele
    ments on a page,
    just kind of like,
    let's change the hero image and see what happens. Let's change the color of a button and see what
    happens. But very quickly I realized that that had no effect on conversion rates.
    Or it has an effect,
    but sometimes, but it's tiny and if I really want to increase conversions, I
    need to understand how people make decisions because if I understa
    nd the decision
    then I can help people make the decision to choose my client.
    So I went to the
    drawing board and started working with my team on understanding how people
    make decisions we poured through psychology books and we poured through all the research and
    we understood that the most important key component to making a decision in life is emot
    Everything is ba
    sed on emotion. Every decision,
    whether it's B2B or B2C, if you are selling
    something, there's emotion involved. And actually, there are some incredible professors out there
    and scientists that have proved that without emotion we can'
    t make any decision. And so, a lot of
    our work at getting Uplift is geared around understanding those emotions.
    Why are people
    buying from us? I, I think 99%,
    and this is a made
    up number, but I'm just gonna
    say 99% of companies think that people buy from
    them because of their features, their technology,
    and their pricing. We understand that people don't buy products, they buy better versions of
    So our goal is to understand that and once we understand that it's crystal cle
    Because what happens is I'm looking at a landing page or I'm looking at
    a website or an email
    Let's say it's a landing page and it's at a 2% conversion rate, which is quite good, but I'm
    trying to understand what to opti
    It's so hard to know. But once you do your research and you understand the pains that people are
    feeling, the challenges they're facing, how they wanna feel after buying a product, what they want
    to achieve, the j
    obs they're trying to get done,
    so much easier to look at a page and say, oh, I'm
    saying all the wrong things or this person wants to know one thing and I'm talking about something
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    Or I'm not bringing the right social proof in there? It's just so much easier to critique the page
    then you can write that copy and you can design it better. So that's kind of where emotion comes in.
    And the process that we've built at Get Uplift is to help our clients identify that decision
    process, those emotions, and desired outcomes, and then translate that into high
    converting copy
    and design.
    Got it. It sounds very comprehensive, b
    ut it really hits on the levers of actually what most
    people to action. One of the things that I talk about a lot as it relates to representation and marketing
    is from the standpoint of people need to see themselves or who they aspire to be reflected in th
    visual imagery.
    So they can take that next step forward with you. If they see themselves, they can move forward. If
    they don't, they're probably going to, you know, go someplace else. And I think it connects a lot to
    what you were just talking about arou
    nd the emotion in terms of they want a better version of
    themselves and if they can't even see themselves then it's hard to imagine that better version of
    So that's kind of like how you're adding the psychology and emotion aspect to representat
    ion overall.
    So I love that aspect of it.
    Yeah, I completely agree. That's definitely where it's coming from and I think when you take
    the conversation away from elements and you start thinking about the people behind the screen, it
    just makes it e
    asier to know what to show on the page and who you're speaking to.
    Because when you're speaking to everyone, you're speaking to no one. So you really have to
    understand who you're speaking to. And I think many brands in the past used to go for, let's take
    look at Nike. So Nike in the past used to use Michael Jordan as an example.
    And those are people that you are never gonna be like you. No one's ever gonna be like Michael
    But You know, you aspire to be like him. I wish I was Michael Jordan.
    Nowadays when you look at Nike, they're using people like you and I.
    It's relatability. It's that person that looks like me that I can identify with. And it doesn't matter
    what I look like, I can still put Nike tr
    ners on and go out for a run.
    And that is crucial because that
    is where we are today. We are being bombarded by thousands of brands that want our attention
    and we're gonna go to the ones that see us, that recognize us and we can see them, we can see
    ves in them.
    Yeah. One of the reasons why that prompted me to reach out to you to have this conversation
    today is someone reached out to me and they were pretty upset about their company had recently
    gone through a website overhaul and this person
    felt like the company's website was quite diverse
    and representative and inclusive.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    But then after the overhaul, they felt that it wasn't the case at all and they had received a number
    of, you know, comments from other people within the company who felt the same.
    So the marketing team responded and said, oh, well we did a great amount of
    testing and these are
    the images cuz they were
    really focusing on the imagery,
    these are the images that tested well. And
    it sounds like thinking about inclusion and sort of optimization from this sort of stance is all about
    changing elements.
    But it got
    me thinking a lot about bias and some of the biases that exist. Cuz then you have to ask
    like, well who are you asking and what are the
    , what are the things that are,
    you know, coming in?
    So it sounds like that's really not the way to go at all when it co
    mes to how we incorporate inclusion
    into this process.
    Yeah, I mean, I dunno the company, and I don't know what the process was to me, when
    someone says we tested that, I immediately kind of take a step bac
    k because I'm always wondering,
    are you us
    ing this as an excuse?
    Because it's, it's never about one element, and your offer, whatever it is, is gonna be relevant to
    many people. If it's not inclusive then you're shutting these people out. And I can even give you an
    example of a client of mine. We
    recently ran a homepage test for them just on the header and it was
    just copied.
    And one of the people in the company wrote a headline that was very, very specific to founders only.
    And you'd think that was cool because you'd say, oh quite a big portion o
    f our clients are these types
    of people. But the immediate, the first thing I said is, if you say this sentence, you are excluding all
    the people that are actually testing the product.
    So yes, this founder uses the product later to make decisions, but that's not the person who's
    testing it, who's purchasing it, who's making the decision to use the tool. And if you go about this
    then you're going this, this variation is going to lose. An
    d funnily enough, it did.
    And this isn't because I'm some prophet, it's just beca
    use I've gotten to an intimacy,
    to a level of
    intimacy with this my client's audience where I understand what makes them shy away from stuff
    and what won't convert them. So I
    think it oppositely's the same is that a lot of the times we use this,
    we've tested this cuz it's easier. But as I mentioned before, it's not the best practice to just test
    visuals and images.
    And there were a few things like bells that rang when you were
    telling me the story. So yeah, number
    one is they went through a website overhaul. Website overhauls are rarely tested. They're usually a
    bunch of marketers and a CEO sitting in a room going, we wanna look like that, we wanna be cooler.
    We wanna have some
    movement on the website.
    I'm not trying to like dis, it's just this is what it's like, this is right. The amount of clients we get that
    come to us after a redesign because it tanked everything is enormous because they go by what they
    want, what they think
    they should say, they think about themselves as the customers.
    So there's a l
    ot, a lot is going on in there,
    right? Where where you're like not really thinking about
    the customer, you're thinking about yourself. How will people perceive you? And if every
    one in that
    room is the same
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    And look the same and speak the same, you're going to produce a website that looks like
    So there's something to say about the team that's doing the redesign. And also are you t
    to kind of approve your biases?
    So like you're trying to like to prove if we put a bunch of these
    people on the page it will work and it will work. So
    Yeah, there's a lot of layers there where it, it could bring up a lot of challenges a
    nd not the
    results that you're looking for at all. So you said one of my favorite words around here and it was
    intimacy and you talked a lot about the intimacy that you have with the clients or the peo
    ple that you
    tend to work with.
    And I find that custom
    er intimacy is one of the core foundations of building an inclusive brand. You
    have to know the people Well it's one of the foundations of building any brand. You have to have
    that degree of intimacy with the customers are serving.
    So you can deliver what
    it is that they're looking for from you. So what, how do you bake intimacy
    into your process and like what would you say is your recommended approach f
    or effectively
    optimizing your,
    your content and, your marketing assets so that you're able to convert m
    Yes. I think the first thing I always say is that we have a tendency as marketers to look at
    data. Cause anyone's telling us to be data
    driven. But we're looking at very specific data sets. We're
    looking at age, we're look
    ing at a geog
    raphical location,
    we're looking at gender. Sometimes we're
    looking at browsers, devices, and technology.
    We're looking at numbers and we're treating people as if they are robots. We're not actually looking
    at the person behind the screen. Their pains, th
    eir challenges.
    What they're going through? And I'm not talking about building personas. That's not
    something that we do. It's not a Jane 34, 2 kids a picket fence.
    It's, not what, I mean I think customer intimacy for me is based on r
    esearch. So every single project
    that we start is based on getting to know the real people behind the screen. On an intimate level. It
    really is about understanding struggles, pains, and challenges, it's about understanding what is the
    point that led them
    to my client's website that they were like,
    I can no longer suffer this. I have to do this, I have to solve this. And then again, what are they trying
    to prove for themselves? What are they trying to achieve for themselves? And I see this again both
    in B2C
    N and b2b. And I think when I mention in motion, everyone's like, yeah, I get it in b2c of
    But with b2b, I think it was Google think that proved that customers are eight times more likely to
    purchase high
    premium software for more money if it shows a personal value for them. Which is
    insane, right? Because yeah, to be customers are still people.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    So to get to know your customers, you need to really understand their thought processes. So a lot
    of our work
    is around interviewing people,
    surveying them, doing user testing, listening to sales calls,
    listening, just watching people, and seeing them o
    nline in terms of conversations.
    So going into Facebook groups and seeing conversations between real people who are talking about
    their pains and about their challenges within that specific industry. Something that I learned from
    Joanna Weave, for example
    , who is the queen of conversion copywriting is something called review
    So for our clients, we will go, we will look for a book that tries to solve this. So if you're an accounting
    software, there's a book out there that's like Accounting 101. So t
    hat's kind of the idea. You go onto
    Amazon and you look at the reviews that the book is getting. This book is trying to solve something
    that your software does.
    So you can see what people are complaining about, what's missing, what they're looking for, wha
    they hate, what they dislike, and what they want. And you use that to really get into the mind and
    hearts of people. And then you run tests because tests are really important. After all, you can say,
    well I think we should be saying this and I think this
    will be the result, and here's why.
    But then you have to test it and see. So customer intimacy, this client I mentioned before, we've
    been working with them for almost three years now.
    Wow. Wow.
    So we didn't know all this before, but now a
    t some level, we have a very deep intimacy and
    we speak to every new employee that comes into the com
    pany and we train them to like,
    here's who
    you're speaking to, here are some slide decks to look at so they can get to know who they're
    speaking to. Cuz yo
    u have to do this in the product, in sales and customer success, everything
    For sure. Now as you're going through this process and you're spending so much time with
    the customer, I imagine that for the different b
    rands that you're working with,
    re might be times
    when there are different emotional triggers or levers that you might need to pull for different types
    of customers based on their lived experiences, their goals, et cetera.
    Should brands be looking to understand that they need to sometim
    es communicate differently and
    use different assets, I guess to communicate to different people based upon wh
    ere they are? Or is
    it more of,
    you know, let's kind of focus on maximizing our resources and be as broad base as
    possible? I think I know the answ
    er, but
    Yeah. Well obviously it's not the last, they're not, it's not the latter.
    As you know, almost every company sells to multiple different people.
    It's never just, it's almost never just one person.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    That is exactly the same. Even when you're selling a posture corrector, like one of our clients
    has this beautiful product that corrects your posture and fixes it in a way it sounds like, okay, if you
    have a bad posture, that's the person you're speaking
    to. But there are actually multiple layers there
    and multiple emotions. Some people are looking to fix years of pain.
    Like they've been sitting in front of a computer and they're slouching and they're in pain and they've
    to you know, and they just want to
    sit straight, they wanna sit up better. There are the people that
    have real back pain, like actually like scoliosis and like all sorts of really, really hard things that
    they've tried braces and like really crazy products before.
    And there's the people th
    at are just aware of their aesthetics and people have pointed out that like
    you're hunching or you're slouching and they don't
    wanna look like that.
    So there are multiple layers,
    and multiple emotions in there. Right. Because if I talk about back ping to s
    omeone aware of their
    aesthetics and that's what they care about, that's not gonna connect.
    So there's like layers to it.
    It's understanding what is, is the common pain that you're solving for everyone and then
    etting into it in different sections and speaking to the different people that you are relevant to.
    And if you are a person who's in has tremendous back pain, then there's a section in there for you.
    And if, and you read it because when you tell a story on a page, people read it and if something isn't
    relevant, you'll scroll down and read the next thing.
    You need to weave it all in in a way that make
    s sense and speaks to everyone.
    And that
    doesn't mean you have to say everything in the header, it's throughout the whole page.
    Yeah. And I guess as part of what you're saying is
    like you, the one size fits all approach
    doesn't work. And wherever possible use customization in your content to speak to the people at
    whatever point they are in their journey or whatever emotion is going to help them make the next
    decision to pull forw
    And those emotions can very much be just tied to whatever differences people have because
    that's gonna feed into specific emotions that lead into how they make decisions.
    Okay. Where should people start? W
    henever they want to focus on diving deeper into
    understanding the emotions that are involved with the people that they're serving, particularly as
    they're engaging with newer communities.
    I think one thing that will really help if you are unsure o
    f your existing customer base or your
    existing community,
    what I would do is run a survey for your visitors.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    And that can really help you because if you have a survey on your homepage or website
    where you are asking questions that are relevant to you, you're gonna learn a lot. And what I mean
    by that is don't ask questions of like, what brought you here today? O
    r do you like our website?
    Or how would you rate our website? I would ask very specific questions. We have some that
    we really like asking that help us understand the person as in what was going on in your life today
    that made you sear
    ch for a solution.
    And that really helps people tell a story. It's not, w
    hy did you come to our website?
    I came to
    buy shoes. Or what was going on in your life that made you right now that made you search for this,
    you know, shoes, we
    ll I have to go to a party and there's a lot of people that I know there and I
    haven't been out for a while cause I just had a baby and I really wanna feel good about myself and
    I wanna impre
    ss someone and so on and so on.
    There's a difference in the way t
    hat you frame
    You could also ask, are you using any solution right now? If you are a software, what don't
    you like about the software?
    Or you know, there, there are so many different questions that yo
    u can ask that are deeper
    than, which feature are you looking for today? Or have y
    ou been looking at competitors?
    And the
    goal with a visitor survey is really to understand why they're there and what's holding them back.
    And a lot of the times when we pair
    that with a customer survey worlds erupt.
    Because go to our customers and ask questions about, you know, if you could no longer use
    this product, what would you miss the most? That's, that's a
    question from Ag Consult there.
    I learned it years ago and I always use it if I would take this away from you instead of asking what's
    the thing you like the most about us? If I would take this away from you now how would you feel?
    These are the questions that let you learn mor
    e about the community and the person, what they
    care about, and the real
    value that they're looking for.
    And I think that's where I would start. I would
    start with surveys.
    Yeah. Is there a way for brands to use this methodology and this approach i
    n the reverse?
    So maybe it's, we are recognizing that certain people with certain identities are, but we don't convert
    them as well as we do others. So could we say, all right, our product doesn't convert as many peo
    from the LGBTQ + community,
    or we do
    n't convert as many black people, or we don't convert as
    many people who are Muslim and you know, just for whatever the identity is.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    Is there a way to sort of ask these types of questions to see how they are responding? Or maybe
    there's, a friction poin
    t that prevents them from movi
    ng forward? Or is that kind of,
    is that more
    complex, and how to do that?
    I mean, just because something's complex doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but it is complex.
    My immediate thought on that would be to use a pro
    duct like Video Ask.
    I don't know if you know it. The video asks for those who don't know. It is by Typeform. It
    allows you to record short videos
    where you are asking questions.
    And you can use that as a survey
    on your website.
    And if you're a company that cares about this, then I would assume that your team is built out
    of these communities. You have someone who is in the LGBTQ + community, you have teammates
    that are black or Jewish or all sorts of things.
    And I would put them on the website in a video ask
    because if I am a white person that comes on vid in a question and asks these kinds of th
    don't think, I assume it would be harder to swallow.
    But if I am from your community a
    nd I'm asking a question and you can see me and you can
    relate to me, it's very similar to what we're talking about with CRO.
    Then there's more potential there for answers.
    And I think you can do the same with a
    survey in an email.
    If you send, you say, I have some questions to ask, and they land on the landing page and
    they see the people, they see themselves on that landing page and there's a series of questions in
    there, they will feel more
    , I think they would feel more prone to actually answer the questions.
    So I think you, yo
    u have to make the effort Yeah.
    Of actually doing it yourself and not just, oh
    this is a really interesting community I'd like to tap into.
    Or get this white man to ask
    People Of color what they think.
    Right. Right. Yeah.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    So I mean I think, I mean that's what, that's where my mind goes with that, but I definitely
    need to think about it more.
    Yeah. No, I think that's helpful. We talked in a recent episode, talked about just how important
    incorporating representation
    throughout the market research process is helpful and getting you more
    of the responses that you like. So exactly what you mentioned is, I think gonna help people get more
    depth data and more at the heart of how people are feeling and how they're respon
    ding to
    whatever it is that they're engaging with from a brand.
    Yeah. You know, it's funny because, so I'm vegan, but a couple of years ago we worked with
    a company that sells, that have an eCommerce store where they sell meat and their whole thing
    like, Japanese is meat. And it's, it's cool. And one of the things that when we did our sur
    someone's aunt said, well,
    there's no kosher meat.
    And that kind of struck me and, and it was such a, like a note to look into and I, and I, I was like, oh,
    I wonder if there's a market for that. Because there are just little questions that you can ask or you
    can listen to your audience and just learn. There aren't a lot of
    people out there that are like,
    let me
    tell you exactly what I think is missing and wh
    y they'll just bounce and go.
    Right. Right.
    So I found that to be super interesting.
    Yeah. And then just having the, the thought of whenever people just kind of throw those
    comments out there, knowing that, or having the, the curios
    ity I guess, or even some background
    knowledge to know that this is important enough to t
    his particular group of people,
    it's, I bet it's more
    important to, you know, a broader group of people as well. If you kinda not just think of it as a
    throwaway comme
    nt, but versus oh, this is something that we should probably explore a little bit
    more deeply.
    How often should people be looking to evaluate or revisit their efforts from a CRO
    I mean, CRO is a never
    ending job.
    You're constantly wanting to optimize. I mean, we've run like 20 or something experiments
    just on one of our SaaS clients' pricing pages.
    And it's the same pricing page for the past two years. And we've run so man
    y experiments
    on it. So it's never
    ending. I think it depends on
    how much traffic you have and,
    and how many
    conversions per month you have. But you should always be testing and you should always be
    optimizing. And sometimes that's in copy and sometimes th
    at, that's in design. The one thing that
    you always have to be doing is research constantly.
    Okay. So the customer intimacy process never ends.
    IM_Ep 55_Incorporating Inclusion Into Conversion Rate Optimization.pdf
    Love it. Where can people find you if they wanna learn more about you and
    your wo
    rk and
    your methodology?
    Cuz this is fascinating and I know, like you said, it never ends and you gotta go
    deeper and deeper and deeper and there are so many layers to it.
    Yeah, a hundred percent. You can find me on get uplift.co, which is a websit
    e, and basically,
    I have multiple guides the entire team has written on how to u
    se emotional targeting and how,
    know, find those emotions of your customers. You can find me on Twitter at Taliagw and I tweet
    multiple things Over There and on LinkedIn, b
    ut on the website, we have so many free resources.
    We also have our courses, but you can definitely start out just by reading our guides.
    Okay. I will have all that info in the show notes so people can access it easily. This has been
    such a fascina
    ting discussion. Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you have any Harding words of
    wisdom for marketers and business leaders who wanna use conversion rate optimization as a way
    to meet more consumers, particularly those from underrepresented and underserved
    Yeah, I think ultimately I think where, where companies fall short is we're constantly trying to
    run fast and we're trying to get to the end goal as quickly as possible.
    So we take shortcuts and the companies that take the time to
    build the foundations and really do
    the research are the ones that stand out, are the relatable ones. So I urge you, I know there's like
    AI and machine learning, there's like so much out there and we all just want to automate everything
    and go home.
    But ul
    timately someone has to,
    you know, someone's in the back, they're reading
    copy, they're reading you.
    So I have seen it many, many times. If you take the time to really learn and emerge yourself in the
    different communities and understand whom you're speak
    ing to, the ROI is insane. And you can
    outperform the biggest companies in your industry without, you
    know, spending a dollar on it.
    don't have to have huge amounts of budget to do it. It's just research.
    Love it. Very practical tips. Thank you
    so much.
    Thank you.
    And yeah, and I think it will, people never, never go wrong if they follow what you just said.
    Talia had so many cool things to share, and
    one of the things that I loved,
    loved, loved about her
    approach is a focus on
    customer intimacy. The better you know your customers, including those
    with differences, the easier it will be for you to create products, services, experiences, and marketing
    funnels that move them forward and enable both of you to achieve your goals.
    at's it for today's episode. If you like this show, I'd love it if you leave a review for it in
    your podcast
    player of Choice.
    It really does go a long way toward helping more people discover the show.
    And by the way, if you have a question that you'd lik
    e answered or a topic you'd like to have explored
    more deeply in a future episode, please do send it my way. You can email me, drop me a note in
    DMS on social or e even, leave me a
    Until next time, remember, everyone deserves to have a place where they belong. Let's use our
    individual and collective power to ensure more people feel like they do.
    Thanks so much for listening.
    Talk to you

    How to Get Identity-Based Insights in User Testing That Improve Conversions

    As you’re working to increase your conversion rates, it’s helpful to have a solid understanding of what’s at the heart of the friction your audience is experiencing with your brand.

    User testing isn’t the place to learn all the cultural intelligence and insights needed about your ideal customers who are part of underrepresented and underserved communities.

    Instead, during inclusive user testing with a broader customer base, aim to implement what you know about your customers without creating any unnecessary friction for them.

    The Complete A/B Testing Kit for Marketers

    Start improving your website performance with these free templates.

    • Guidelines for effective A/B testing
    • Running split tests for email, landing pages, and CTAs
    • Free simple significance calculator
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      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      When I do user testing, I recommend that clients focus on asking people to go through the website the same way they always would when gathering information, then talking me through their choices as they go.

      And as you’re talking to different consumers, focus on getting answers to these two questions.

      Is there anything different about their decision-making process that’s based on their identity?

      Different people have different needs based on their identity. And as consumers from underrepresented and underserved communities are going through your customer experience, it‘s helpful to understand the process and key questions they look for. They’re often looking for answers that let them know, "This brand is for people like me."

      Common factors that impact decision-making to a higher degree for people from marginalized communities include:

      • Values
      • Safety
      • Availability
      • Representation
      • Accessibility

      For instance, I follow a gluten-free diet for health reasons. As such "availability" of food I can safely eat (and actually want to eat), is high on my priority list when choosing a restaurant. My need to know there are food options for me is higher due to my identity than it is for someone without any dietary restrictions. As such, user testing will reflect my elevated need to find this information easily on a restaurant’s website.

      In this video, a Black gay man walked me through his experience on an ice cream brand’s website. In this interaction, I learned how important it was for him to know if the brand shared his values, and shared them in an easily accessible way.

      I did another session with a Black woman for a beauty brand, and she immediately expressed her excitement when she saw that the retailer had highlighted "Black-owned brands."

      Once you know the questions these consumers are looking to have answered, you can identify how to ensure you are giving them what they need in a manner that delivers the least amount of friction.

      Are there any friction points that are identity-specific?

      If you do user testing with a general population, you often won’t uncover any points of friction that are specific to an underrepresented and underserved community or identity.

      That’s why it is important to include people with different identities in your user testing. Then you can identify if there are specific things about their identity that aren't being served well with the experiences your brand delivers.

      For instance, I’ve talked to and have conducted user testing with people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. They shared with me the friction they experienced when coming across a form like this one that wasn’t gender inclusive.

      Diverse form options example

      Another great example, from this episode of the Inclusion & Marketing podcast, where I chatted with three neurodivergent consumers. They shared their experiences, preferences, and major friction points when shopping both in stores and online.

      Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers
      Welcome to Inclusion & Marketing, the show that’s all about helping you develop the skills and
      insights you need to win
      more consumers' attention, adoration, and loyalty. Especially those with
      differences that are often ignored by brands.
      I’m your host, Sonia Thompson
      an inclusive brand coach, strategist, consultant

      and someone
      with a lot of differences. Let’s get to it
      As mentioned
      an earlier episode

      1 in 5 people are neurodivergent. That means that it is very
      likely that you and I will not only work with someone who is neurodivergent
      which is why we focused
      the first episode in this series
      episode 57, Neur
      odiversity at Work: How to Create a Culture
      Where Everyone Thrives.
      And now with this episode

      I want to turn our attention to neurodivergent consumers

      because it
      is very likely that some of the people you serve will be neurodivergent as well
      so it is
      important to
      understand various ways to consider and support them in the customer experience you deliver.
      So back on the podcast are my resident neurodivergent experts Aviva, Ludmilla
      and Caroline

      they’ve shared their experiences as neurodivergent cons
      umers along with some tips for you to think
      about as you work to build more inclusive experiences.
      I've got another treat for you today. Thank you so much for joining me, Aviva Ludmilla and
      Caroline, a pleasure to have you for a
      second time here on this show. How are you?
      Thank you.
      We're doing great.
      How are you?
      I'm doing fantastic. So let's go in. I'm excited to learn more during this conversation today.
      Before we do that, just in case people
      haven't listened to part one of the show that we did together,
      who are you and what do you do?
      Thanks so much. So I'll answer first on behalf of a group and then I'd love for Ludmilla and
      Caroline to jump in an
      d introduce themselves as well.
      So m
      y name is Aviva Legged. I'm a college admission and higher education expert with a particular
      interest in neurodiversity from both a personal and professional standpoint. Our collective focus is
      Ascend Talent and we are three neuro
      diversion professionals
      who have joined forces to help
      organizations achieve exceptional outcomes.
      And I've, I love bringing my background in academia and my past experience teaching on Coursera
      and supporting all different kinds of l
      earners to achieve their goals.
      So I'll hand it over to my
      colleagues to talk a little bit about themselves.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      So I'm Ludmilla and I'm a professor of psychology at Vanguard University. I have been
      doing diversity work for most of my life and specifically for the last several y
      ears I've been working
      a lot in the area of neurodiversity. And I just submitted my first graph of the book on
      the topic.
      we're gonna talk about this anymore today.
      Very cool. Congratulations. I know that's a very big feat.
      Thank you.
      It is a huge feat. Congratulations Ludmilla.
      I know how much hard work is. It's, it, we've all written books and so we know exactly
      how much hard work goes into it.
      Oh goodness.
      So huge.
      Congratulations. So my name is Caroline Stokes. I'm the, I'm the third part of
      the trio. I'm, I love working with this particular team because as, as, as it has been outlined, we're
      three neurodivergent individuals.
      We come from either educational or acad
      emic backgrounds. And in my particular instance, my focus
      is on and has
      been in commercial, enterprise,
      in organizations that create consumer products e
      everything through to products, plastic products that you buy, services that you buy online, mobile,
      bile products hard, and obviously stuff that can be downloaded.
      And I've also been involved in everything from PlayStation to, you know, really big brands of film
      and entertainment and video games. So I have a very
      , very different background,
      to the team.
      together we are, we were able to provide the insights that are necessary for organizations and
      individuals to thrive.
      Very cool. Very cool. Well, I'm excited to dig in more. Last time we talked a lot about
      Neurodivergence as it related to team
      s and working. And now I wanna switch gears to
      Neurodivergence as a consumer. But befor
      e we dive into those specifics,
      just in case somebody
      doesn't know what it means to be neurodivergent, can you just kind of ground us on what that is?
      Sure. I
      n general, when we talk about neurodiversity, just like biodiversity. So when Judy
      Singer defined it, it was really thinking about all the different ways in which people think and feel,
      and process information. But we also know that not every style of thin
      king and feeling is equally
      welcoming to society.
      So when we're talking about things like the neurodiversity movement or understanding
      neurodivergent people, we're talking about those who have not quite had the same opportunities as
      everyone else based on
      the way we think, feel, and process information. So it obviously started with
      autism culture and in the late nineties that's where the conversation was, but it very quickly expanded
      to ADHD dyslexia dyspraxia.
      But now we can talk about all kinds of other w
      ays in which people can differ from the neuro typicality,
      let's say long covid influences some of the cognitive processing and a lot of things we're talking
      about, let's say how to accommodate autistic people.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      A lot of that could actually apply to those
      who experienced long covid or something that we talk
      about, well that applies to
      ADHD might apply to long covid.
      So we don't want to just say, okay, you
      need to have this particular label. There are
      That are overlapping.
      Yeah. And I, this, this is often what I call spillover, right? Cuz a lot of times whenever brands
      are focusing on serving the needs of a particular customer group, they also end up serving the
      broader needs of people who still appreciate whatever it is th
      at the accommodation or whatever it
      is that they're doing to serve a particular group of people.
      It actually has a benefit to a much broader route as well. So it's nice whenever they, that spillover
      effect happens and more people are able to be served and
      get their needs met. So can you tell me
      about what are some common challenges that people who are part of the neuro
      community experience as consumers? Cause I imagine a lot of people aren't really aware of what
      some of these challenges are.
      Hmm. As a consumer it's, it, it's, it's a bit like walking into a war zone pretty much in
      various ways for various people. And as Ludmilla expertly explained, there are just, there's such a,
      a broad range of sensory and processing approaches that peop
      le have. Every single brain is
      different. So what is, what is acceptable or easy to manage for one person may be more challenging
      for others.
      I'll give you an example of my youngest son, for example, he's 16, he is on the, he has multiple
      neurodivergent di
      agnoses and when we walk into a restaurant, if the music is too loud if the
      acoustics aren't acceptable, we have to say, I'm really sorry, but we have to go.
      Because they're no
      t going to change it typically.
      And so it's the, it's j
      ust not sensory
      appropriate for him. Another example, just the other day we were having to get his booster shot
      because he's immune
      compromised as well. We were, there's a new facility whereby you can click
      on the options to find, a clinic, specifically th
      e focus for people who have sensory challenges.
      Oh wow.
      We found four in all of Vancouver. But guess what? We made that one
      hour round trip to
      ensure that we went to an appropriate one because the impact is that he will have somatization
      seizures if he is too overwhelmed.
      When that hap
      pens, it can impact his education, it can impact his confidence in settings,
      it can impact his communication skills, and so on.
      So it's, it's a, and that's just one particular case if you think about my particular situation, which is I
      have a DHD and I nee
      d to, I am easily distracted and it can be overwhelming when that happens
      because, you know, if I have a job to do, if I'm distracted, I'm unable to feel like I'm able to accomplish
      what I need to accomplish.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      So for me, it's it if, if somebody asks me, yo
      u know, do you need help? It completely, it can, it is an
      odd thing to say I realize that, but it can overwhelm me. It can derail,
      my mission and, and because I'll be thinking, oh, how can I make them feel comfortable?
      How do I ensure that I'm being polite in this situation when really I need to hyperfocus cuz I will have
      a 10
      minute window where I will buy something?
      But that's just me. So there are just so many different experiences that people have. So
      when they walk into a store, they go online or they walk into an environment. Often those
      environments aren't, do not cater to the multiple divergences that
      are everywhere.
      Got it.
      For everyone.
      So when we talked last time, some of the recommendations that you had for ways in which
      leaders can serve people on the
      ir team who are neurodivergent,
      is not to just give them special
      dations, but to create a culture and environment that works for everybody, right? So you're
      designing it so it works for everybody from the beginning.
      Are there ways that you would recommend that marketers and people who are thinking about
      customer experi
      ence can design a customer experience overall that works for everybody, that works
      for people
      who are neurodivergent and not
      because I imagine
      someone said, well should we not
      like say, can I help you?
      You know, like, so when you, when would you know w
      hen it's acceptable or not? So how did, how
      should people go about thinking about creating experience? That one makes it, I don't wanna say
      fluid for their team to be supportive of everyone.
      I can take this one. So I think that the important thing t
      o consider here for companies is how
      do we personalize the experience to the customer. So
      whether that customer has a disability or neuro divergence or just any particular need that
      they're seeking to have met. I think that if companies are going out there and getting the input of the
      r, so I'm thinking for example,
      before you shop in t
      he store if you have the option to go
      online and
      and then request something, maybe it's like, you know, hey I just wanna really
      quickly like have somebody show me to the pants section or you know, I'm looking for a quiet place
      to you know, try on
      my clothes.
      You know, where can, when
      I get to the store,
      can someone help me find that? And that would
      provide people a space and a voice to express their needs without them being overwhelmed by
      walking the store, trying to self
      trying to g
      et whatever support they need. So I'm
      thinking about that in the retail environment. And then, you know, I think that the online environment,
      I've found this for myself as somebody w
      ith multiple neuro divergences,
      that the online environment
      is generally m
      ore comfortable or most comfortable for me to shop in because
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      I can, you know, take my time picking and choosing things. I can research, I can compare
      and it doesn't require me to, you know, have a specific interaction. I mean I inte
      ract with people all
      the time. It's not tha
      t I have a problem doing that,
      but there's something about the store environment
      for me where I feel pressure if a salesperson is coming over to me to like to buy something because
      I feel like I'm like obligated t
      o buy something if they
      ot it.
      I know that that's not true, but it's just a sort of a feeling that, that you get, at least I get as a
      neurodivergent pe
      rson in a store where I'm like,
      oh no, I don't even wanna like to build a tie with you
      ecause I know I'm gonna wanna buy something if I like you and I don't wanna
      like you so let...
      ot it.
      Just create a little distance here.
      : Right
      So for me, that's why the online environment really tends to be the best. I know that in our
      past conversatio
      n, we were informally chatting,
      I was talking about like how I love Instacart because
      you know, you can go right into the app and then you can, yo
      u know, compare shop with the item
      that you want and then buy from that store and you know exactly when it's coming and you don't
      have to see the person and you also don't have to
      walk the aisles, which I mean,
      I don't know, I
      have other neuro
      divergent f
      amily members who love grocery shopping, but I don't so
      Got it.
      You know it's, yeah, for me, I just like something seamless and easy where I have as much
      control over the experience as possible.
      Yeah. Based on the example that you just gave, I'm thinking of two things in particular. T
      was one where at Chipotle,
      right, like soon Chipotle, you go in and you have to stand in line and
      then you have to talk to the person on the other side and tell
      'em what you want. So it sounds like
      that could be overwhelming for people, it could be overwhelming for anybody.
      But they do have this thing where you can order on
      line and then you just walk in,
      pick it up off the
      cart and then go back out. So you can g
      o in, get your food that you've already pre
      selected, which
      like you said, leads to a degree of control and you don't have to interact with anybody, you just go
      in, pick it up and walk out. And the other one that I saw t
      hat I experienced that kind of,
      I th
      ink a
      similar need was at Best Buy you could select what you want and go in and they'll then you park in
      the lot, say, Hey, I'm here online and the application, they'll bring it to you.
      Again, you're able to do that retail shopping, and have an element of
      person, but with minimal
      contact if you don't want any.
      So it sounds like those might be some examples of some ways in
      which brands can create an experience that allows people to self
      select what it is that they most
      need from experience.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      And I'll add to that sort of a, a similar theme of, of personalization, but kind of a different experience
      would be, I've had positive expe
      riences at Macy's where if you,
      you get a personal shopper in
      advance, you can tell them what your si
      ze is, and what kind of items you're looking for, and then
      they'll just go into the store and they'll pull everything for you.
      And you're not, they're not on commission so they're not trying to sell you their specific, any like, as,
      as many clothes as pos
      sible, but they've already pulled all your sizes so you don't have to go running
      around the store trying to find the exact thing that you want.
      You can give your stylist the guidance and then they pick it for you and then you go into the room
      and you try i
      t on, you keep what you want and you take out what you don't want. So again, I think
      emphasizing that personalization piece is important.
      And then thinking about, the sensory experience and how everybody may
      have a different need
      when it
      comes to that Ind
      ian store way.
      I know Caroline, you talked about there being times where let's say it's too much of a sensory
      experience or like let's say it's too loud and you'll have to leave. Are there other impacts that you all
      have found that the impact of a
      brand not necessarily taking into account people who are neuro
      divergent has on you as a consumer?
      Like sometimes you might have to leave, but are there other things that ha other ways that impact
      you and the choices that you make?
      So one thing I would say, and I'd love to hear what the group has to say too, I think that one
      of them, the challenges of, I think of branding that a lot of companies might have is sort of creating
      that customer avatar and then how does the neurodivergent
      person relate to that avatar?
      So, you know, if you think about, you know, historically like the Victoria's Secret model or like the
      Abercrombie model, I think there's like a certain lifestyle or culture or a set of beliefs that are behind
      these images. An
      d I think that, that when cust when companies fail to take into account the
      neurodivergent consumer, they alienate them from a brand image perspective because neuro
      diversion people don't necessarily want to feel or aspire to a specific standard that may b
      e out upheld
      So I'd say there's, you know, when there's a, an identity clash and I think a lot of brands may alienate
      neurodivergent customers
      For sure. Caroline, did you have more to add?
      Yeah, a few more things to add. So one of
      , one of my friends, she's, she, she was
      diagnosed with autism at age
      45 and she couldn't understand,
      for example, she would go into a
      shop and there would be all of this imagery just, to continue with Aviva's point, which is that there
      would be all of thi
      s family imagery.
      And it was so overwhelming for her that she just would crawl and want to crawl out and, you know,
      get, move into a dif
      ferent environment. It was not,
      it just wasn't comfortable for her. And I said,
      honey, just go to Whole Foods where the
      re isn't that Ima that kind of imagery and, but it was just
      not that accessible for her lines too much clutter. I can't, for example, go into Target cuz I look inside
      and I'm just like, no, everything is not aligned appropriately. It's upsetting me.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      I, th
      ere's nothing I wanna buy here. There's too much there, there things aren't packaged in a
      particular way. They're not stacked in a particular way, they're not positioned in a particular way.
      Things are not logical.
      Things keep moving. Brands keep moving,
      you know, into different places, different and, and what
      you, from my sales background, you’d
      , you'd have to create for retail, you would have to create
      a, a design of, of how a product should look for each environment, you know, for electronics bouti
      for, for, I'm just trying to think now, which stores are still available? They're still around Best Buy and
      what have you. And you'd, you'd have these examples of exactly how it should show up.
      And I don't think there is any coincidence that actually i
      t shows up in that particular way because a
      lot of people that play video games, and I don't know what the sta the data is here, but they're,
      they're, they're usually pretty introverted. They may have, you know, specific, they may have specific
      diagnoses a
      s well where they focus on those kinds of environments
      so they can escape from or get,
      get involved in an area where they feel more secure.
      Got it.
      And what have you? So I think it's, I think it's very, very complicated and the opportuni
      for marketers is to really do a deep dive on different brains that are out there. It's not about, you
      know, whenever I hear my
      clients say, well, our
      product focuses on the 18 to 35 market. I'm like,
      okay, th
      at is one particular area. What
      do they think
      about, what do they eat, what do they eat?
      What, how would they describe your product? What is it that they like about your product? What do
      they n
      ot like about your product and,
      and or the industry? What opinions do they have and how,
      how do they process
      that? How, what do they value? It's just such a complicated avatar to go back
      to Aviva's point of, you know, what, what is the consumer and how are you ensuring that you're
      touching all of these different aspects?
      That's Right. Yeah. I think that
      more and more as brands are starting to get more specific
      with defining who are the people that
      they're gonna choose to serve,
      who have the problem that
      their brand solves, right? Then they can start to say, all right, does it include this group of people
      does it not? You know, for inclusive marketing, I always like to remind people that it doesn't mean
      that you have to serve everyone, it's being choiceful. But a lot of times the problem is people aren't
      So because they're not making the choice
      s, they are just by default excluding many people because
      they are unaware that these differences exist. However, there are some brands who have been
      making choices about specifically how they can serve this community and they've implemented
      things like au
      tism hour or sensory
      friendly shopping. What are some examples? Like is this
      something that you all have experienced and appreciate and what are some example
      s of what this
      might look like?
      What is sensory
      friendly shopping?
      The typical definition would be turning the music off and turning the lights off. And usually,
      it happens sometime in the morning. I'm really not sure what's happening with my son. I'm really
      sorry about that problem. So it's something that happens in the
      early morning hours because there's
      just an assumption that your diversion, people want to use
      early morning hours,
      even though many
      are night owls and it doesn't work. And it's further complicated because some people hate to sound
      like me, but love light
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      So if I go, I'm, I'm enjoying it, it's quiet, but then I'm looking okay where the stuff is because I can
      see it saying and, and then I start falling asleep. So
      it's more complicated. So yes,
      it's taking care of
      two major sensory sensitivities, especial
      ly turning off the loud music, which does drive me out of
      stores, which is why I never went to shopping malls.
      I avoided them even when that was the only way to obtain things. But it doesn't quite solve every
      person's issue again because of timing. Like y
      ou're making assumptions that I'm eithe
      r an early riser
      or don't work,
      neither of which is true
      or don't have kids or whatever else people are doing. So it's
      still kind of limiting like okay, there's your special hour, and if you can't make it too bad. So
      we definitely want a little bit more of a flexible experience and so I know it is appreciated that at least
      there's no music all the time.
      Got it.
      We talked a lot about the way in which brands can support people in a retail setting.
      Are th
      ere things that people should be doing and considering about the experiences that they're
      delivering online? Especially if it sounds like a lot of people who are part of this community end up
      shopping online, right? So are there things that people should b
      e aware of about how to make sure
      that they're delivering
      an experience that works well
      for people in this community?
      I'll jump in on that. So in terms of the online experience, what people can do really well.
      Amazon nails it, Amazon nails it, i
      t doesn't provide you with distracting imagery. You go in, you know
      exactly what you want to be able to buy, you type it in and up comes in. Incredible selection.
      The choice is overwhelming, too overwhelming, but that's okay. At least you've got the choice
      you don't have to go into 10 different stores to do that. As, as we all know, when you go onto a
      website, let's just use Gap as an example. If you go onto a gap, they're, they're, they're trying to
      communicate a lifestyle.
      They're trying to make you t
      he, the imagery, the connection, the emotional connection that they're
      trying to create doesn't necessarily help an individual understand where to go.
      It's a little like the in
      store shopping experience. So Amazon does a fantastic
      job. It may
      not give you the nice warm and fuzzies, but in terms of going in,
      getting out
      for example, I
      bought some shorts this morning from Amazon, from Amazon. I wanted to buy some new Balance
      ones because I knew New Balance was great. And so I cou
      ld do my walks around the neighborhood
      and I was in and out of that in five minutes. Had I gone into the store, they wouldn't have had them.
      I would've had to have chosen another brand.
      And then I would've just walked out and then b
      een disappointed and that would've taken
      several hours. So in terms of being able to direct people to exactly where they need to be and where
      they need to go, that's really, really helpful. Nordstrom does that well as well. They've just closed up
      in Canada
      unfortunately. But then, when going through that shopping experience,
      I didn't have to go downtown to do that. Other websites, for example, from a B2B perspective that
      is, are really good. For example, Google, Google's accessibility for example, when creating Google
      forms, even compared to looking at something like Typeform,
      Typeform has a nice glossy feel.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      It makes it very accessible. But in terms of being able to become hyper
      cused to get in and to get
      which I think is a priority for people that can hyper
      focus Google
      for example, is much
      better and it enab
      les both neurodivergence and neurotypicals to get in and out.
      And, and tick that box, not feel like they've, they've had that energy drained.
      And what have you?
      The online experience really also
      touches on many differ
      ent forms of neurodivergence.
      could be color and font contrast. So especially for people who are dyslexic in you, to pay a lot of
      attention to the layouts and how easy it is to navigate. My personal pet peeve of pop is pop
      s. You serve me pop
      up videos, it literally gives me a jol that makes me sick. Like I can't work
      because it scares me and it startles me.
      So, I will never go to your website if you keep survey pop
      up videos in my face. So there are a lot of
      things that the
      online environment, yes needs to be organized, but it also needs to be a just a little
      bit more considerate of sensory experience.
      So if I'm hearing what you're saying a
      nd I wanna try to summarize it,
      is that things need to
      be simple and intuitive
      so that people are very clear, I can get in for what it is that they need and get
      back out in a short amount of time and not get distracted by all these other things that you might
      have going on. And that is in maybe the user experience and flow, but also
      making sure that we are
      considering design.
      And is the design, as you said, fonts, graphics, how those work together? Are those supporting that
      same simplicity in ease of experience, right? Is that what you're kind of, is that kind of summarize
      Yes, Perfectly.
      Aviva: Yes. And, if I could add, I think that an important part of the customer experience is return
      policies because
      You know, with online shopping especially, you don't always know exactly what you're getting
      until it shows up at your door if it's not something you've ever purchased before. So I don't love to
      promote them
      I know they're a big giant evil corpora
      tion, but Amazon is just so easy with
      So it's a very natural place for neuro diversion people to
      shop because you know,
      maybe sometimes
      you need a black shirt, but you're not sure which texture you're gonna like in person. So maybe you
      buy three
      black shirts, so you're gonna return two of those black shirts and keep the one.
      So knowing that there is a return policy and also Amazon is very flexible, so if you accidentally get
      out of the return window, you can chat somebody and they'll sort of say,
      sure, you can still return
      this. So there's a lot more flexibility and understanding I think.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      So I think there's, you know, I would say there's just a level of empathy in the whole customer
      experience in Amazon, which is why I think they've managed to d
      o so well and become the giant
      that they are, is that they make everything convenient and easy for the customer.
      Got it. What recommendations would you have for a brand that wants to get started, whether
      they, that's in their online experience or th
      eir in
      person experience, what recommendations would
      you have if they wanna get started supporting this community better?
      Oh my goodness, that is a lot because it, it's everything. It's from the quality of the product,
      disclosure, what it's
      made of,
      because let's avoid returns. Please don't lie to me about the fabric
      content, for example. Cause
      I'm allergic to polyester and I'll know if you'll sneak it in and not disclose
      it, but why making me return it and just live at something that is natu
      ral and it's not? So make sure
      that the product is honest because we have a lot of stuff going on already.
      And if somebody lies to us and just tries to put all kinds of psychological pressure on us, that's not
      going to work. So just create a good, honest e
      xperience and we're going to stick with you. Cause
      you're not going to get
      brand loyalty by bombarding us,
      by emails with more, you know, with more
      and more, more is less give us a good customer experience and we're going to keep coming.
      Yeah, you
      ust brought something up and
      I feel like it connects to something that you all were
      talking about earlier with regards to if you're interacting with a salesperson if you connect with them,
      it's kind of like they wanna you, you wanna buy from them and there
      's pressure there. Ludmilla, you
      just talked about emails, and because I think sometimes in online
      marketing in particular,
      there are
      a lot of persuasion tactics that are used to, of course, get people to buy and to get people to buy
      more. Do those persuas
      ion tactics have an impact on you as a neurodivergent consumer? And if
      so, like how does it, how does it make you feel?
      Well, I'm a social psychologist, so when I see that it's a huge turnoff because I know
      someone is manipulating me.
      Even though sometimes it's still difficult to reduce and I'm like, yeah, like Avi
      saying, there's a touchy feel. I also think it's predatory because some indi some neurodivergent
      people are more vulnerable to this. Some elderly people a
      re more vulnerable to this. Some other
      groups of people are more vulnerable to this. So to me it actually feels unethical in many cases.
      Hmm. Okay. No, I wanted to make sure that we got to that part. All right. As we wrap up
      here, what is it that y
      ou wish brands knew about neurodivergent consumers?
      For me, the most important thing to emphasize, I guess two things. One is personalization
      and two is empathy. I think if a company can
      prioritize personalization and,
      and empathy in their
      marketing efforts and in their customer experience, then they will have a good framework from which
      to welcome all different kinds of customers.
      I love the word empathy around here.
      And if I can add to that, you're o
      nly gonna develop empathy if you really truly go out to
      the audiences to, and to, to understand. And that includes the people on the sh on the shop floor as
      well that say shop floor,
      you know, in the store. It requires education, it requires systemic educa
      globally on, the different types of types of brains and to, and, and that's how empathy is formed.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      So that would be my strongest recommendation, which is to get out do that, and be curious. Just
      like you would, you would need to be a marketeer and a
      salesperson and somebody that's
      representing your company
      or just interested in learning.
      I think that's the most fundamental thing.
      Very cool. All right. Does anybody wanna share a specific experience where a brand made
      you or showed you that you
      belonged with them?
      So, when I was thinking about this, I thought to myself, there is no one company that I
      have come across, unless it's for, specifically for neurodivergent children in a neurodivergent school
      that's a completely separate mark
      But outside in the real world where people are trying to find out or they're, they're learning in midlife
      or in young adult life that they have a neurodivergent diagnosis. They are, they don't know that they
      have it and they may just feel that a brand
      is completely incongruent. There is no brand that I have
      seen or maybe there's someone who is about to come out with something that is relevant.
      But I have not seen a brand that will wholeheartedly accept and understand or attempt to understand
      gent human beings. And I would love to be able to see a brand that goes outside of the
      medical community or the psych or the organizational psychology
      community that really embraces,
      embraces all different types of brains and, and their approach for it rat
      her than everything just being
      a marketing sale from, you know, since, since consumerism began.
      Yeah, No, it sounds like there are a lot of areas for the opportunity and for, for brands overall
      across the board. So we're gonna put this challenge ou
      t so that we have more leaders who will have
      empathy cuz this is a pretty decent
      sized population.
      I think I heard one in five people are neurodivergent. So this is a pretty large chunk, right? So even
      if it wasn't, it's still important to have empathy in
      this regard. All right. Where can people find you if
      they wanna learn more about your work?
      Thanks. So please, you could follow us on LinkedIn ascend talent or you can email us at
      Nice. All right. Any parting words of wisdom for marketers who want to show neurodivergent
      consumers that they belong with them?
      Ludmilla: Okay. Neurodivergent consumers actually care about a lot of other things. We tend to care
      lot about justice in general. So there are some things, don't rely on your own empathy. Hire
      neurodivergent pe
      ople. Hire all kinds of people,
      period and treat them right. So there's one brand
      that I and my colleagues and always patronize and we do that be
      cause they never do layoffs and
      they haven't done layoffs in a tough economy and it's a pretty small, you know, chain and they just
      kept all of their employees and we've been patronizing them for 10 for whatever, however many, 10
      over 10 years since the pr
      evious recession.
      So, when you create something that we just think you are a just and fair brand like we don't even
      care what yourself, we'll eat your food and we'll stay in your hotels. Cause that is, that's just an
      important thing if you are in jail if y
      ou treat people right, it doesn't even have to be specifically catering
      to neurodivergent, but treat people right and be honest.
      And that's really something that's much better than any kind of anti
      H or diversion people.
      IM_Ep 60_Designing Inclusive Experiences for Neurodivergent Consumers.pdf
      I love it. I love it. I think that's just good makes, it's a wonderful way to run a business period.
      Treat people right, whether they're in your company or they're part of the people that you're serving,
      I think is fantastic advice and
      really great advice
      to end on.
      Thank you again, Aviva, Ludmilla, and
      Caroline, it's really been so insightful and a lot of fun chatting with you and learning from you. So
      thanks again for stopping by.
      Thank you for the opportunity.
      Aviva, Ludmilla, and Caroline
      had so many insightful things to share

      and I’m super curious to know
      what stood out most to you as it relates to supporting neurodivergent consumers. Let me know on

      tag me in your conversations there, or even
      chat about it in the DMs
      love to continue
      the conversation with you on this.
      If you liked this show, I would so love it if you’d share it with a friend, colleague, or your network.
      You could also leave a rating and review for it in your podcast player of choice. It really does go
      long way toward helping more people discover the show

      which I like to think will help more people
      practice inclusion.
      And if you want to go deeper into the world of Inclusion & Marketing

      be sure to join the Inclusion
      & Marketing Newsletter

      where e
      ach week I send news, stories, insights, and more to help you
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      Go to inclusionandmarketing.co
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      I’ll also drop a link to it
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      Until next time remember

      everyone deserves to have a place where they belong.
      Let’s use our individual and collective power to ensure more people feel like they do.
      Thanks so much for listening.
      alk to you soon.

      I did some user testing with a woman who is hearing impaired. She told me that because of her disability, she often experienced friction when looking for online learning resources for her business. This is because a lot of the time the brands didn’t have any accessibility information listed on their websites or sales pages.

      If you want to find out more about some of these friction points before you even get to user testing, it’s a good practice to incorporate talking to a broad cross-section of your customers into your marketing workflow. On this episode of the Inclusion & Marketing podcast, I cover how to do this more in-depth, including how to infuse what you learn into your work.

      Andi Jarvis:
      So, right. Look. Marketers let let's just take a step back first before we go forward
      because the clue of marketing is hiding right there in plain sight in the name, market. It's it's right
      there as part of marketing.
      So I don't understand how we, as a d
      iscipline, can operate unless we are close to the market.
      Because then if we're not doing something for the market, it can't by definition be marketing.
      But when you start to dig into this, once you get out of a kind of maybe the top 100, 200 companies
      in in your sector not in your sector, in your country, a lot of companies just don't do any real
      research or talking to customers at all.
      Maybe if they've got a physical store, yep, maybe they do that then, and you can listen and interact
      with customers
      But certainly with the push into e
      commerce and the push to move a lot of services online, even
      businesses that aren't necessarily online. In the UK, certainly, so many businesses, like, you try and
      get in touch with them and, like, oh, use our chat
      Use our live chat function. It's like, yeah. But I want I want to talk to a person. And they make it
      impossible for you to do. Why? Because the gods of efficiency have won over and say that it's not
      efficient to have people talking to customers.
      we're losing so much because data and reports and everything you get from running your
      Facebook ads campaign, your Google campaigns, the surveys that you run, really super useful, but
      it doesn't tell you everything.
      And until you talk to customers and hea
      r what they have to say, you miss out on so much rich texted
      information. And that I think it's part of it is that we're kind of losing the efficiency battle, so we don't
      do it.
      The other part of it is we don't train marketers to do it. So there's
      actually a whole generation of
      marketers who are actually scared of talking to customers. They don't know what to do.
      They're worried about saying the wrong thing, or they say things like, well, what's the point now?
      Because if you only talk to 5 people, a
      ll your decisions are gonna be biased around what they want.
      You say that's not what you do.
      You're talking to them to get an idea. You're not talking to them to say this is research. It it's very
      different. So we have a lack of skill. We have a lack of u
      nderstanding, and we have a lack of being
      able to make the case of why it's important.
      So what that leads to is most companies
      don't do it, or they do it
      Once a year or once every couple of years in this grand piece of research. And everything e
      lse is
      ne by intuition.
      I think we've got to be better than that.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      We do. So my my background is health care marketing. I spent
      years at j and j, and
      I remember that every year our
      as marketers was to go out and spend time in the field, ri
      talking to the doctors and health care providers.
      And every year, it never failed. We might have gone once or twice. Right? And we spent that time
      talking to
      providers. And you're right. Like, it was one of those things.
      We might have been
      out in the field, but a lot of times, we were, of course, with our sales reps. But
      we were just kind of, like, tagging along.
      We weren't having conversations either, because I think a lot of people were like, I don't wanna say
      the wrong thing. I don't wa
      nna mess up. Up.
      And it just kinda goes into that thing of, like, we're making we're spending all this time because we're
      too busy doing whatever it is we were doing in the office to talk to our customers.
      And whenever we were in front of them, we had no
      idea what to say. So it just kind of felt like this
      bumbling sort of thing where
      Andi Jarvis:
      I would guess as well that when you were doing those
      , you saw them as
      an annoyance rather than part of your job.
      going out with a sales rep for a day or 2 days out of your diary, and that's a day or 2 days
      that you're not doing work.
      And I was like, flip it around. This is the most important 2 days in your year. And
      there are
      McDonald's McDonald's do a lo
      t wrong, but hats off to them.
      Everyone who works at McDonald's in marketing and senior positions spends 1 week a year in a
      restaurant. Now
      Andi Jarvis:
      I think the word restaurant works very hard for McDonald's. Right? It's not a restaurant,
      but they work in there. They serve customers.
      They sweep floors. I mean, you've got, like, the most senior marketing person in McDonald's. Once
      a year, you can see that person sweeping a floor in a restaurant somewhere near them, flipping
      burgers one day
      , doing the fries the next day, on the
      That keeps you close to the customer. You see what people do when they're in
      You understand the questions they ask. You understand when people stand there and go, can I
      have does ther
      e is there a pickle in that? And Yeah.
      Can you super all those questions you get because you're there, I think it's wonderful that they do
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      Yeah. I think
      it goes
      deeper to having these conversations.
      So there's a couple of things. Talking to customers, spending time with them, building relationships
      with them, not only does it help you understand kind of just what's on their mind, what they're thinking
      about, but it helps you get a better understanding
      of really what is the journey and the customer
      Because there's a big difference the way with the way that you think something's gonna work in
      theory, the way you might have designed it, and the way it works, and the way it plays out. So that'
      another benefit. It's like you just actually see, does this work or not? And is this something that they
      even need?
      Andi Jarvis:
      Absolutely. You know, that whether you call it market testing or whatever. But once
      you get out into the wild you see how the
      decisions people make.
      So if you're a a retailer or if you're a product that sits in a retailer, just watching how people navigate
      the shelves of a supermarket or a store, where they stop, where they spend time, how many
      products they pick up
      and put do
      So I worked with a a fake tanning brand. This
      7 or 8 years ago. And look. Anybody watching
      the video will be looking at the 2 of us and going.
      So I have absolutely no idea of what the customer goes through when they go into a fake tan brand
      e I have an inbuilt tan, so I don't need this is something I've never had to worry about. So I
      went and stood in the pharmacy.
      It's, over here. It was a company called Boots, which is a bit like CVS in the States. So I went and
      stood in the British equiva
      lent of CVS for 3 afternoons as part of this and just watched. You know, I
      probably looked a little bit creepy, but I
      just stood and watched.
      It was a brand that was aimed at kind of younger end of the market, women under the age of 21. It
      was a c
      ompany that had lots of products
      different age ranges, but this was a cheaper product
      the younger end.
      And just watching how girls would come up, pick it up, show it to their friends, talk to each other, put
      it down, see what the price is, look for
      promotions, and just really get under the skin of how people
      buy this product. Now I had to do that because I had no background in it before.
      But it's really difficult when you are in an industry and a product, you have 15 years
      You just t
      hink you know the product or you know the customer.
      And I think we just need to be a little bit more humble than that and say, do you know what? Every
      year, I have to go out. Every quarter, I have to go out and check this and try this and understand
      Because things change.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      Andi Jarvis:
      Yeah. I think the biggest takeaway for me that I'm getting from one of what you're
      saying in this whole concept is talking to your customers is not the same as doing market research.
      Because I think as marketers, by default, we spend a lot of time, oh, let me look at the research if
      I'm gonna get
      this insight
      based upon what this research report is telling me, and that isn't the same.
      It reminds me of, like, whenever I was learning Sp
      anish and whenever, like, I would learn it from the
      applications. But, like, when I tried to use that same kind of Spanish, when I was actually out trying
      to talk to people, What they were saying was
      not what I was learning. Right?
      Like, this isn't being
      in Duolingo.
      Yeah. Yeah. It was not the same. So you have to there's a difference between that theory
      and that practice. Right? So
      Andi Jarvis:
      Absolutely. And I think one of the key things, and hopefully, this is a lesson I can give
      to people and they can take away from this, is that you use the information that you get from these
      conversations or from observing people or watching them.
      You use
      that information to format what you're gonna do. If you are gonna
      if you've got the
      budget and the capacity to do research, use this information to create that study.
      So if you are it we talk about McDonald's and we talk about, you know, Johnson
      and Johnson J and
      J letting you do
      and things like that, but smaller businesses can do this too.
      If you are listening to customers, you're talking to them, and you keep hearing maybe 4 or 5 things,
      I use you guys because, you deliver faster, o
      r I use you guys because the service is brilliant, or I
      use you guys because, you know, you have a wider range of products, so your store is better.
      Whatever these 4 or 5 things people keep telling you are, it's good, but you are still talking to a really
      small group of customers.
      If you're gonna run a survey, this is where you put those in and you let and then you say to a bigger
      group, order these things in order of preference.
      You know,
      you don't say how important is price to you because everybod
      y will tell you that
      price is really important.
      Andi Jarvis:
      Yeah. You give them a list of 5 or 10 things and say, put these in order of importance
      to you. And when you ask the question that way, y
      ou get a very different answer.
      And one example of that is
      whenever you do that with, people buying based on ethical values, if you
      ask the question, do you want to buy from a brand that has great ethical values? Everybody says
      When you ask people to put it in order of preference, it always comes about 7th
      or 8th behind things
      like delivery time, price, quality of product,
      returns policy. And that makes sense, but you've got
      to ask the question the right way. So you said,
      here are
      the things we're hearing in these discussions.
      Let's put it out to the market and say, right, now tell us the rest. So if you've got
      budget to do
      surveys, use the talking to customers to inform that.
      Use it to start to have those wider discussions. Don't make you know, don't launch your new product
      on the fact that y
      ou've spoken to 7 people.
      But use it to start building into what you're doing next.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      All right
      . So I'm curious from your point of view. Let's do a little bit of a true or false
      type of thing.
      I'm gonna give you a statement.
      I wanna see, like, if you have a what your thought is on the
      Underrepresented and underserved communities, people who've got differences, people who are
      often ignored by brands based upon their identity, They probably wouldn't be so underrepres
      and underserved if more marketers talk to people from these communities. What's your thought on
      that? True or false?
      Andi Jarvis:
      Hard degree. Hard degree. True. True. True. Look. We all have
      . Everybody
      everybody has a bias in some way or
      And I think what happens in marketers, there's
      I could only talk from a UK perspective. So all the
      research I've seen is very
      Andi Jarvis:
      But you look at marketing agencies, I think it's 84% of marketing agency staff a
      re under
      the age of 40. Wow. That makes us very strange I'm I'm over 40. But that makes marketing agencies
      a very, very strange place full of young people, mainly
      , very middle class. That's
      a very narrow subset of society.
      And if you o
      nly have those people making decisions about what the rest of society is and they
      haven't spoken to them, you start to have problems and things like Kendall Jenner saving racism
      with Pepsi. You're like, that just smacks me of a campaign developed by
      marketers who've never actually spoken to anyone who's not Kendall Jenner or her agent.
      Andi Jarvis:
      I do some teaching,
      some lecturing at Liverpool University.
      the other week, I
      gave the students a challenge, and 20 to 23 maybe these students are. And somebody said,
      pensioners or or seniors, as you'd probably say in the US, seniors
      and people over 40 don't know
      how to use cell phones.
      Andi Jarvis:
      I'm like, right. Okay. Well, I'm marking your final assignment, your final paper, and I
      can tell you now you fa
      iled already.
      I mean that hurt. So that cut me deep.
      Real deep. But from the perception of 5 20 somethings sat around in a circle, once you're ov
      er 40,
      you are a pensioner. You know, And they think that people over 40 must have Zimmer frames and,
      you know, don't use old mobile phones, cell phones.
      They don't know how to use them. This is their perception of what happens when
      you get old.
      And the o
      nly way around that is to go out and meet people who are over 40, over 60, over 70, or
      better still, bring them in to be part of your team.
      And then you go, oh, you know, you still like to go to a club, and you're 44. Yeah. Yes. I do like to
      go to a club,
      but I'm 44. You know, all these things. So the more you talk to people, the more you
      realize that, okay. This is what this group looks like.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      So I think underrepresented, underserved communities would 100% be better served by marketers
      and the marketing c
      ommunity if we got off the chair, got out from behind the screen, and went to
      speak to them.
      Yeah. I think that you know, I'm somebody with a lot of differences. So I'm, like, been on the
      receiving end of, like, this underrepresented and underserved
      One of the things I talk about a lot is, like, the
      diet that I follow. And people who don't
      have to follow this diet, they don't never thought crosses their mind, they don't think about it.
      But once you have somebody in your inner circle who is and you talk to them, you observe them,
      you see, like, the thought process that they go through, it changes the way you kind of think about
      going about, you know, whenever you're gonna eat together.
      e're planning my mom's 70th birthday and she just sent a note to me and my sister and she's like,
      could you all pick the restaurant, You know, a restaurant that's gonna work for you all
      But how
      does that happen? She's talked to us.
      She's spent time with u
      s. She knows that it's important that we have something to eat too. But you
      only get that from talking. Right? And so I think that once you have that awareness, you can make
      those adjustments in your marketing.
      Andi Jarvis:
      Absolutely. And I think I unders
      tand the challenge sometimes when underserved
      communities feel like they're being brought in, not as guinea pigs, but, you know, it's like almost like
      sort of caged animals.
      Like, we need to ask you some questions because we wanna make sure that we get th
      is right. And
      I understand the pushback that some people have that says, look. Hold on. Come on. No. I'm not
      here just to help you learn.
      But generally speaking, I would say most people from whatever community it is, whether it is
      , whether it i
      s black, whether it is a minority in whatever way, once or twice, we'll be happy to
      share their experiences with you to stop you making a mistake.
      Now if you keep making that mistake and keep do
      ing it over and over again
      . Sorry. You
      know, you're
      not learn
      You're not listening. You're not learning. That's your stupid fault.
      But, like, generally, if you go with an open heart and you're inquisitive and you ask the right
      questions, most people would be happy to at least say, look. This is my experience her
      e, and I think
      you need to, you know, be aware of that.
      All right
      . So earlier, you mentioned that people often don't know how to talk to
      customers, and I wanna layer on that with something that I've observed.
      I don't know if this exists in th
      e UK, but I feel like whenever people have to engage or they know
      they have to engage with people who are different
      them, it's kind of like suddenly they forget
      how to build relationships with people.
      I think they're so concerned about saying the wro
      ng thing or offending that they forget that the other
      person is just another person. Right?
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      And so have you, how do you, like, coach people through and gate like, having conversations with
      people who are different from them, in a
      manner that feels very human?
      Andi Jarvis:
      So I've had long discussions with myself and with a friend and kind of friends of the
      business about should I be saying talk to your customers, or should I say listen to your customers?
      Now I'm I went for talk to your customers because I feel it means more active for the marketer to get
      up and go and do it. Yeah. But the key point is listening.
      And I think, yes, you know, you're like, what am I gonna say to this person? I mean, the key
      part of
      that sentence is
      You know, that person, no matter what they have, will still probably have a sports team they follow
      or, you know, things in common with you somewhere along the way.
      But the the important thing is is they're a person, an
      d the questions you want to ask them are just
      open questions.
      Because you're not gonna learn anything if you are taking 80% of the conversation and they're giving
      This needs to be you doing 10% of the talking and them doing 90%. So as long as you're
      open questions which are about the problem that your product solves remember, it's all very
      So when you're doing tanning products, you're asking very different questions
      to if you're working
      with a building supplier. You're ask
      ing very different questions if you're working with car sales.
      But what you're looking to do is just ask open questions about that product. Are you going out this
      weekend? Is that why no. That's not even an open question.
      Sorry. But, you know, questions a
      bout why are you buying the product? How are you going to use
      a product, do you usually buy the product, those sorts of things that just get people talking
      Just ask them about it. One of the things that we discovered, back to that tanning example, is tha
      Thursday is
      tanning day.
      Because if you're gonna go out the weekend, you don't tan on a Friday. You don't wanna tan on a
      Tuesday or a Wednesday because then your tan might wear off. So Thursday is
      tanning day.
      So sales go up on a Thursday.
      would leave the office on a Thursday, go to their local CVS, buy the tanning product, go
      and tan Thursday night. We found that out by talking to people who bought the product and,
      like, you know, how do you use it? When do you use it? And just askin
      g the question.
      And then once somebody starts talking about that, everybody starts talking, oh, I do Thursday
      tanning too. And everybody didn't know everyone else tanned on a Thursday. But they did. Yeah.
      And you're, oh, okay.
      Now that was only a small gr
      oup of people. But when we tested that further and further, we were
      like, oh, this is what everybody does. This is how people tan.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      You know, you girls tan on Thursday to go out Friday So you know, you find that out by asking a
      question and shutting up
      and letting them come back with see you with the answer
      Yeah. And I think that once you're doing like, having those conversations and you're looking
      for patterns, as you include more people who are from identities that are generally underrepresented
      and underserved, you'll probably start to even learn and pick up patterns in what they say in terms
      of, like, how their experiences might be slightly different or if they're different at all. Right? So, but
      you don't know if you don't have those conversat
      ions and include them.
      Andi Jarvis:
      Yeah. Absolutely. And there's a guy called Matthew Said who wrote a book called
      Rebel Ideas. He's a British guy. He was a former Olympic table tennis player of all things. Right?
      But, really fascinating, great writer.
      Rebel Ideas, he talks about a visual representation of how underserved communities and diverse
      . And if you think of it as a box, and if all you do is talk to
      marketers, right, you talk to 10 of them.
      They're th
      ey're 10 little dots in one corner of this square. If the problem that you're trying to solve is
      in the middle, everybody's perception of that problem is the same.
      But if you start talking to people who haven't had a university education, there may be dot
      s in a
      different corner. You talk to people who, maybe did have a university education but came from an
      ethnic minority, they're with dots in a different con.
      And all of a sudden, you're all looking at the same problem. Yeah. And the
      perception is
      And I've found I've used that diagram and I've used that example with so many clients. Some clients
      like, why do we need to do this? There
      still, sadly, a lot of people asking that question. When
      you visualize it in a very different way, rathe
      r than me shouting at them and going, you're just an
      idiot. Of course, we need to do this.
      You show them a visual representation like that, and they're like, oh, we're gonna get better things,
      aren't we, out of this by doing this because we've got differe
      on the problem. Amen.
      Let's do it.
      You know? So Yeah. It's, it's good to get that perspective from different communities at all times.
      It's not an
      . It's not a let's do a diversity thing. It's how you do better marketing by talking to
      more diverse people.
      Yeah. How do you recommend that brand teams incorporate what they're learning from
      talking to people in their plans? Because I know a lot of times people like, oh, this is our 2024 plan
      created 6 months ago, and then we're gonna like, how do you how do you adjust and adapt
      if you need to?
      Andi Jarvis:
      It's it's tough. I mean, this is a market research problem. I know we're confusing the 2
      things, but on a big level, you've probably seen
      this and I've seen it loads where companies have
      spent tens of 1,000 of dollars on market research reports.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      And you're like, oh, where's that report that was done before? And it it's this and it's holding up
      somebody's desk. You know? Oh, yeah. We don't really and you're I know how much you paid for
      that, and you don't use it.
      So the thing for me is a little bi
      t little and often is bring those in those insights and the things you
      learn into those team meetings and talk about them. And I love asking people, almost not putting
      people on the spot.
      You could put it on the agenda if you want. But say, right, You tell
      us one thing, Sonia, that you
      learned from talking
      to a customer this month.
      And if it's on the agenda now it's sometimes these
      are just little things, and sometimes these are things that might have you going, yeah.
      Maybe we should start maybe we could t
      alk to operations about that, or should we consider
      . At
      no point should you completely change all your processes on one bit of feedback from one customer.
      Which happens all the time, by the way. Gosh. It happens all the time.
      Andi Jarvis:
      I call it handbrake marketing. You know, when you see, like, Fast and the Furious
      where they pull a handbrake up and spin the wheel and go off in a different
      ? It's like that.
      You're like, what are you doing? You know, have a strategy.
      You'll kee
      p going towards those goals. But I think the key thing is you either start seeing the patterns
      or you ask the question and you say you know, maybe if you're in a bigger organization, you've got
      customer services is a different division to here and sales is
      over there.
      That means you have to go and have a conversation with them. Are you hearing this? And then,
      yeah. We do, but we don't know what to do about it.
      Oh, ar
      e you hearing this?
      We he
      ar it all the time. Right?
      We have a problem. May
      be we should loo
      at this.
      It doesn't mean you change it.
      And if you're in a smaller organization, my only bit of advice is so one of my key things for small
      organizations is if you're struggling to talk to customers, look at customer reviews and Yeah.
      Either read them o
      r try and get in touch with them or reply and say, look. We'd love to talk to you
      about this experience. Can we arrange a call? The key thing to do with that is don't just talk to the
      negative customers.
      There's a natural focus to say, let's talk to the p
      eople who've left a negative review. Let's ring up the
      complaint and understand what the complaint was.
      that. But if you only do that, you start to see
      the world in this myopic view of everything must be terrible because everyone I speak to tells me
      You also need to ring the
      reviews as well and say, can we have a call? I would I'd love to
      understand a little bit more about why your experience was 5 stars.
      to that person as well
      because you need to get that balance so you don't ju
      st run off making decisions.
      Like, we have to change everything based on talking to 4 customers who've had a terrible
      experience. You might only need to change one thing, and that might just be the person who
      answers the phone or the person who takes thei
      r order.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      You might just need they just need a bit more training because this always happens on a Monday
      at 8 PM. Yeah. You kn
      ow? So don't change everything.
      You have to get that balance.
      Yeah. I love the part about asking in a meeting because it creates a culture of talking to your
      customers and feedback.
      And it's sort of sort of the expectation, and it's an evolving thing versus, like, that what you do once
      or twice a year. Right? So, an
      d then you have that that handbrake reaction that you mentioned.
      Andi Jarv
      Yeah. And I think, you know, like you you said, that that whole day out of the diary to
      go on and ride along, to go on tour, it just feels like but if you're constantly just tryi
      ng to stay on top
      of that or, you know, just reading some reviews, then that that's it's not as good as talking to
      customers, but I understand real life in real businesses.
      You're not gonna be able to spend a day a week out talking t
      o customers. I know th
      But you can
      read reviews once a week. You can spend 20 minutes reading every review that's coming that week.
      And then once a quarter, get out and talk to some customers and go, we're seeing a lot of complaints
      about x and y. What's your take on t
      Mhmm. It makes a big difference.
      All right
      . One thing I wanna switch gears slightly because
      I wanna get your experiences as a consumer. Can you tell me about a time
      a brand made you
      feel like you belonged?
      Andi Jarvis:
      No. I love this question, and I have a really obvious answer, and I don't wanna give it
      because it's a company that's hard to replicate.
      So if you are on the other side of this podcast, you're listening going, yeah. That's great. But how
      are we ever gonna
      do that? So I'm gonna give you a big example and a little example. Okay. We
      met at Disney. Now I'm British.
      I am completely
      , you've gotta say have a nice day
      people. It's like, I'll decide if I'm
      having a nice day. I'm having a bad day. My
      car just broke down. I'm skinned, so I have no money.
      You've just charged me $8 for a coffee. Stop telling me to have a nice day. Leave me alone.
      I'm quite cynical in that sort of way. I go to Disney, and everyone's like, have a nice day. It was my
      birthday when I got there, and they gave me a birthday button. And you've never I was 12 feet tall
      walking down the corridor with my Disney birthday butt
      on on.
      And I was so impressed with how they just walked the line, in my eyes, perfectly between
      personalizing saying hello to me, chatting to me when it was obvious that I wanted to engage with
      somebody maybe while
      I was
      waiting for a coffee or a meal, bu
      t also just like when I'm in a rush
      going between 2 events, people would walk past you and kind of leave you alone.
      I thought they had it well nailed down and kind of made me feel in a sea of 100 thousands of people,
      no doubt, made me feel like my experie
      nce at Disney meant something to them, which I thought
      was really, really nice to do and very difficult to do at scale.
      But on the other side of that, I have a little coffee shop that I go to. There's 3 staff work there, And
      every one of those staff and I
      go fairly regularly, but every one of those staff knows me by name.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      They know the 2 drinks that I order depending on what date. You know, they'll be like, oh, is it this
      day or that day? But it's not just
      we're not friends. Right? We're not best mat
      es or anything like
      that, but they have a nice line between engaging with you, delivering your drink, taking the money,
      and it's just all very on the money. You know?
      They know that if I go in on a Saturday, I'm coming in to eat, and it's like, oh, there'
      s a table here. I'll
      bring the menus up. I feel like I matter to them, and I think that's important in a small business, which
      is relatively easy to do if you just have the right stuff and the right training.
      Yeah. I love that you gave both of those
      examples. In particular, the Disney one is I take
      great interest in it because it just shows that you can bottle that thing that exists.
      I think a lot of times people feel like once you grow bigger, you can't you will lose that thing naturally.
      But what
      I love about Disney is they have systematized it so that they don't. I went a couple of years
      ago to the Disney Institute where they've taught this exact thing, like, how to do this, and how they
      do it on scale.
      And it was
      training just t
      o kinda go behind the curtain and see, like, how they do
      it and then see it in the parks and the way it's relevant and think about how we apply it to our
      di Jarvis:
      My takeaway was the training and I didn't know there was a Disney Institute,
      but my
      takeaway from the day was that th
      e training was fantastic.
      And it felt like everybody was trained.
      That was the other thing. I was
      They are.
      Like, I was out, I was up running quite early one morning, and the the the grounds staff were out,
      plants out and watering areas and things like that. Now most businesses I know in
      Britain wouldn't even bother training them in in customer service and hospitality.
      They train them in how to dig holes,
      how to put plants in the ground. The
      ys doing that
      job were and I'm running laps around the lake. We're all trained to the same level of customer service
      as the person who checked me in.
      And I knew that when I stopped to stretch and they were talking, and I and it was just lovely. I was
      , they've had the customer service training too. Yep.
      Yeah. The security you know, they have security at Disney to stop you taking guns into certain parts
      of the park. I get hassled by security in lots of places.
      I'm it's a terrible symptom of being a bla
      ck guy and quite a tall and fairly broad one. The Disney
      security guys made sure I didn't have a gun going in a part of the park, and I never once felt hassled.
      It was the nicest security experience I've ever had. Compare and contrast that with TSA when y
      flying in and out of the
      Yeah. Yeah.
      Andi Jarvis
      Oh, man. It's like, put Disney in charge of TSA. Fantastic.
      It would be completely a different experience. I feel ashamed whenever I encounter TSA
      whenever I am coming back
      e US. It's always a different kind of experience.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      Andi Jarvis:
      Welcome to America. And you're like, oh, thanks. I mean, I'm here for a vacation.
      Leave me alone.
      Yeah. Yeah. Andy, I feel like we could just keep going for such a long
      , but we
      wrap it up. Where can people find you if they wanna learn more about you and your work?
      Andi Jarvis:
      So, my company website is eximomarketingstrategy.com. Eximo is spelled e x I m o.
      But the easiest way I spell Andy
      with an I rather than a y.
      generally speaking, if you just search for Andy Jarvis on any platform, you'll find me there.
      LinkedIn and Instagram
      where I'm, mostly show up. But, yeah, just search for Andy Jarvis.
      Put it into Google, and I just appear magically, because there
      only there is 2 Andy
      . One
      of them is
      softball player somewhere, but she doesn't seem to have as many
      links and as great
      SEO as I am.
      So you see, you find me more than her.
      Nice. I'll put all that in the show notes. And you have a podcast t
      oo. Right?
      Andi Jarvis:
      I do. Yes.
      I called
      the Strategy Sessions. So that is it's kind of a well, the clue's in the
      name. Right? So it's a strategy podcast.
      We talk about kind of broad marketing issues and, you know, how do we set the direction for
      companies. But it's an
      discussion format. So we tend to talk about strategy for 25,
      minutes, and then we meander into other topics.
      And we've covere
      d all sorts of amazing what you get into when you just let people talk, and I love it.
      So the strategy sessions, you will find on the Exmo website or via all the good podcast places.
      Nice. So I'll put all that in the show notes for you, and it sound
      s very
      . Whenever
      you what happens whenever you just let people talk
      Right? And you're listening.
      Andi Jarvis:
      The problem with me is getting me to shut up. Sorry about that.
      Any parting words of wisdom for marketers and business leaders
      who do want to do a better
      job of talking to their customers, particularly those from underrepresented and underserved
      I think my one bit of passing wisdom would be just start. Start where you are, to quote Arthur Ashe.
      Use what you have. Do w
      hat you can. Small businesses listen like, oh, we don't have the resources.
      Everyone can talk to a customer. It doesn't matter whether you are the biggest company in the world
      or the smallest company that's just started. Everyone can have a conversation w
      ith a customer in
      one way or another.
      Andi Jarvis:
      Start having a conversation and then build another one, build another one, and find a
      way to feed that back. But just get started. It will put you miles in front of 98% of the competition by
      talking to cus
      tomers and understanding their problems.
      I will.
      Thank you so much, Andy, for stopping by.
      Andi Jarv
      Thank you for having me.
      had a great time.
      IM_Ep 102_How (and why) to get better at talking to your customers with Andi Jarvis.pdf
      I hope you enjoyed that chat with Andy as much as I did. And more importantly, I hope you've got
      some great ideas on how to move forward
      developing a deeper degree of intimacy with the people
      you want to serve. It is worth your effort.
      That's it for to
      day's show. If you liked it, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with a friend, a colleague,
      and or your network, and leave a rating and review for it in your podcast player of choice. All these
      efforts go a long way toward helping more people discover the
      show, and I like to think that helps
      more people and brands be more inclusive. Also, are you getting the inclusion and marketing
      newsletter? Each week, I send news, stories, insights, and other goodies to help you build an
      inclusive brand that attracts an
      d retains a bigger, more diverse, and fiercely loyal customer base.
      Go to inclusion and marketing.com/newsletter to get signed up.
      I'll also drop a link to it in the show notes so you can access it easily.
      Until next time, r
      emember, everyone deserves to h
      ave a place where they belong.
      Let's use our individual and collective power to ensure more people feel like they do.
      so much for listening.
      Talk to
      you soon.

      How to Get Started With Inclusive User Testing

      1. Get dialed in on who your customer is.

      Where possible, dig into customer data to uncover the identities of the people who are coming to you to solve their problems.

      2. Focus on the identities you want to ensure feel like they belong with your brand.

      Then, be sure to recruit people who have those identities into your sample any time you engage in user testing.

      3. Eliminate friction that already exists in the customer experience you deliver.

      You’ll do that by identifying ways to quickly and intuitively demonstrate that people with the identities you’ve chosen to serve do indeed belong with you.

      It’s Time to Increase Your Brand’s Conversions

      Make what you’ve already created work harder for you.

      Optimize your conversions by engaging in user testing with a broader diversity of your ideal customers. When you work to cut out the friction consumers experience, particularly as a result of their identity, you’ll make more of the people who engage with your brand feel like they belong with you.

      That sense of belonging will lead to higher conversions.

      Learn how to run effective A/B experimentation in 2018 here.

      Topics: a-b-testing

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