It’s official. I am obsessed with understanding what makes people act, or not act, on a stimulus. I know this because this is my third blog post on the topic.

I’ve come to the conclusion that almost anyone can “do” advertising. Getting your message in front of your audience is relatively simple. But activating behaviors that directly convert into business results – purchases, applications, registrations to events or programs, etc. – that’s an entirely different story. That is where you really earn your keep.

What does it take?

To start, you need to understand consumer behavior – your consumer. What motivates them? How can you parse a lead nurturing pathway and provide personalized rewards and reinforcements along the way? What are the potential barriers to action?

You also need a lot of practice with testing and tuning conversion strategies. Knowing what to ask of a consumer, and what to give back in return is a learning process. A skilled conversion marketer is a good negotiator: planning, anticipating, and always maneuvering.

Then there’s technology, of course. You’ve got to have command of the digital tools to create the consumer experience and track the data necessary to be an effective marketer. Social media platforms, marketing automation software, content management systems, CRMs, each have an impact on the way you interact with your audience.

Even with these capabilities in hand, the reality is that consumers move in mysterious ways. This question of why consumers approach and avoid various stimuli will perhaps always be intriguing. In the meantime, a lot of experimentation and effort will help you become more predictive and productive in reaching your goals.

In the end, it’s not just the ability to launch an advertising campaign or design an ad. Creating a thoughtful, multifaceted, evolving approach that supports your consumer is the only way to truly have an impact.