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People DO Judge a Book by its Cover

By Marc Reifenrath on January 4, 2012 in Digital Marketing

People DO judge a book by its cover (which is certainly the case on the web).

Fortunately for some, and unfortunately others...perception = reality.

  • If the user perceives your website to be of value, than it is valuable.
  • If the user perceives your website to be of no use, than it is useless.

Apple, arguably one of the highest quality brands across any medium, made it a point early on to address this exact issue. Mike Markkula, who for a short time was the third partner at Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, is credited for creating "The Apple Marketing Philosophy"...a basic philosophy for the company containing three points from which the last addresses the importance of value and perception.
Point No. 3: Impute 
Apple should be constantly aware that companies and their products will be judged by the signals they convey. "People DO judge a book by its cover," Markkula wrote. "We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities." 
(Impute [im'pyo?ot]: Assign (a value) to something by inference from the value of the products or processes to which it contributes.)
To this day, the basic Apple philosophy still holds true. Everything from the design of the hardware, to the usability of the software...all the way down to the details in the packaging portray not just a sense of "consumer want", but a sense of "consumer need" (Some might say, "the devil is in the details").

So how does this relate to your website?
Simple, as soon as your website loads, your brand, product, or business is exposed. Within minutes or more likely seconds and before you can even "sell yourself", the user on the other end has made a determination.

How do you ensure your site is worthy of pageviews?

Start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

What are you doing to convince the user that they need your product or service?
Where do you want them to look?
What do you want them to click?
What do your headlines convey?
How are your graphics supporting your copy?

If you don't have an answer, don't be alarmed...many others don't have an answer either. Value, especially perceived value, is hard to create. Your preferences in everything from food to clothes to electronics has come with time (and has surely changed over time). What better time to start creating that user preference and value for your site then now?

For more information on "The Apple Marketing Philosophy" see Walter Isaacson's book "Steve Jobs"

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