The 8 Most Important Psychological Principles That Growth Teams Should Know (With Growth.Design's Dan Benoni and Louis-Xavier Lavallee)

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This is a podcast episode titled, The 8 Most Important Psychological Principles That Growth Teams Should Know (With Growth.Design's Dan Benoni and Louis-Xavier Lavallee). The summary for this episode is: Understanding the core psychological drivers behind the humans using your product can supercharge your growth. And you’re definitely leaving money and product usage on the table if you’re not employing them. So on this episode of Growth (recorded live at HYPERGROWTH Boston), Matt sits downs with Dan Benoni and Louis-Xavier Lavallee, founders of Growth.Design, to talk through some foundational principles of psychology – like mental models, priming, and dark patterns – that will help you design and run better experiments. You'll get a rundown of what each principle means, examples of how other companies are using them, and suggestions for how you can test them out in your next growth experiment.
Warning: This transcript was created using AI and will contain several inaccuracies.

Alright hello and welcome to another episode of deep Bro podcast. I am really excited today to talk about some psychological principles that grows team should know I have to guess with me. I've Dan and Louis from Grove design. How's it going guys? Amazing amazing too excited to be here at the conference podcast food ad drift hyper-growth conference near Boston. They might hear a little bit of noise in the background. But no worries that the main content is here and we're going to we're going to talk into the mics. What is the height of over talking about who you are and what you guys do back in the days then I kind of got bored of building machines all by myself in the lab. I wanted to feel closer to the customer. So that's why I went back to school.

The master in design and I've worked in Frac companies ever since early on I realized that psychological like that human behavior is we're really important for products and that's why I've been studying psychology ever since that's it sweet. My name is done to me not to be confused with the word Diwali I guess so I'm a civil engineer by trade to Louis actually, so graduated realize that I didn't want to do that. Wanted to get closer to the customer became a self-taught designer and started founder the latest Venture being an officer. Com think through SMS app for going to talk through today, which I think is amazing. I am so excited for this and it really saying you should be as well. So we're going to talk about psychological principles that grows team should know.

Is there anything you want to say before we jump in the number one, so we started that most people tend to focus on the very top level tactical stuff. But we tend to forget the basics and as as long as you don't get the basic psychological principles behind it, you can make a lot of growth experiment but you got to miss out some very important points. That's what that what we want to bring awareness back to the foundation's how people behave cuz there might be a lot of different sizes and you know a couple of years but humans are still going to be humans. That's what that's what really trying to educate that as many people as possible around that it's not exactly an Isaac DC said that earlier in the conference customer experience is really the next month year for all but I companies so that's that's part of why I also we we started to educate the product teams all around the world to build experiences for the customers. So I think that's that's a big part cuz we believe while we work together in the past few years.

Will you we saw acupoints and a few pitfalls in the front of company where we didn't listen enough to the customer? That's what that something that we that we want it switch with Grill design and really focus on educating a product things around the world and pics of like I like this thing that it's so hard sometimes just like slow down and think about what is the thing that is going to make this work? Like what is the foundational principle that's going to make this work is never one. So number one here is around mental model Dan. What is was mental model model is a perspective of how the world works and the word the word perspective is actually very important because it's not in the show me the truth is just how people perceive how things work an example of that would be adrift.

You have assumptions around hot people behavior on messaging and that's something that be sexually spoke about back in the days on seeking wisdom saying that the evolution of messaging as a trend made it a lot easier for drift to be position has it is today. So that's what mental models another one would be Trello with how to use boards and lists and no columns and cards. It seems obvious today. But the truth is that was completely novel. I want to start it back in the day. I think it was 2011. So just as can be looked at in a format of cards and list of mental model on Trello and I had the chance to talk with the gentleman who was responsible for the growth in there and he told me the whole back story about it, which is super interesting because they were struggling to get people to understand what a card was would a list was and how big could be used either for Content marketing calendar all the way to wedding planning more trip letting you know, so making sure that you start

From where your customer is starting as a mental model understanding what they look at than what they were thinking about helps you a lot designing the best Rope Experiments because then you can craft an experience that specialize to get them step by step about this thing or what is something else that they used a similar in style or work for that. You can break down the light core components and then you can build something that Hawaiians really well with that and the idea that makes it easier for that customer to adopt it or use it because it's it's like oh, yeah, of course, you know, I think my to-do list like this and then I check it off in a way that I can check it out like that kind of thing is that I should be another example to get people to understand we are to start from but then you have like almost other dimensions around it up. How could be used so

You spoke about how it's very useful also has not just like the theoretical stuff behind it. Yeah, but how the number one regarding mental models would be to do some user interviews and ask people to like to think out loud user interviews busy getting people to say out loud. Hey, you know here I'm thinking about what's happening there. I don't understand this stuff and so on and you'll see that you get some nuggets of information in there that let you peek into their mental models. And from there. We have to acknowledge the fact that you have a curse of knowledge that you have a lot of assumptions around how things work. And from there we can try experiments that bridge the gap models all the way to your product are about the thinking out loud is a tween them telling you the answer to a question that you asked and then

I'm going to click this now because I think that it's going to do that like that. Very different then. Why did you click it? Right that's like a hindsight I clicked it. And now I know it happened in so I can like fit but you know retrospectively fit what I thought was going to happen to what actually happened instead. You know what they're going to do beforehand. So you can Better Built what's going to happen next. That's great, which is around social proof. Yes. So social prove, it's everywhere, right? Yeah. We Bay's pretty much all our decisions in life based on social social proof. If you go to restaurant you look at Google reviews radio picked up at the highest rate on Google reviews. So it's fascinating because since a very young age we look for validation from others and especially in in new situation or new context. We tend to rely heavily on what other people do or are did.

I so that's social proof and we like I said, we see it everywhere. If you shop on Amazon, you'll have reviews. It's like I said if you're looking for a restaurant and in one of the key City that I did on the Spotify play the new podcast Edition, it was actually a lack of social proof that made me kind of hesitated with Jaden with what I was going to listen to so I had like if I was in discovery mode, yeah. Yeah, and I was just looking for a new podcast to listen to and basically there was no way things new reviews but I just felt like you are looking at a like any of them could be as good as the other what makes you think that this one's the one this makes exactly an investment to listen to it for like I don't know 15 30 minutes. So if you don't have any social proof that it's kind of awkward or just just just misleading it in a bit and so

Action item for this. So if you want to build trust early for your product or for your app, that's that's one thing you need to do try to build social proof. And and if you want to go a bit deeper try to personalize the social proof as well. Don't just say there's a bunch of people that actually did that if you can say there's actually a bunch of people like you just like like your Target customer right that that share the same hopes and pains as you are that's that's a plus as well personalized social proof to the type of user that's doing right cuz it's not just about 300 other people also did the saying it's like, you know, do your job and think the way that you do also use it then you're like all this is for me. That's exactly

Did we figure out the type of visitor and then we were able to match that to the most likely roll that that visitor was in and then we would customize the website based on that role and it was very different social proof. Like there was a wall of tweets for one type of roll. It was one big quote from a calendar for you know, if the visitor was the founder and your front-end engineer in Atlanta, if if you see a testimonial from a front-end engineer that says hey this course sold all my problems then it's it's it's good. I bought how were how were also like tying it into into action items. That's that's cool external vs. Internal triggers. Yes. So triggers are a prompt for user to take action on an external trigger information about the action to take within the prompt himself. So, for example, I say you go on Facebook and you should not that says

My drift now so I could be to be a billboard on side the road has the information for the action to do within the association through the memory of the user the distance between the surface of the Earth. And Moon is a billion miles. I don't know. I'm not sure about that. Well, like what is that fit into Amarillo going to go to Google and then go and so you weren't sure what happened. So what happens is that most people tend to focus a lot on external triggers attention. So they send a bunch of emails that I liked. You know what they want.

I call you get all these notifications on your phone and email yet. So and the phone with that is a good thing as are aligned with the internal trigger. And that's one of the very few companies that do it right. Now. I saw all the gay cities that we did. You actually surprised me a lot where when you sign up you actually try to get why you want to learn a language of their users might do it for travel purposes and egg excetera and then to use kind of close to that copy afterwards to rehook you and make you consistency consistency bias around the desire to chat initially. So he will say hey, do you still want to learn a language at someone learn Spanish free triple whatever is so Julie schleep Auto stops make the auto pause the notifications.

Say hey, you don't realize that this is not really working for you will meet them and it's really when you think of it because if they did not do that, I would probably, you know, remove the application or turn locations off in exactly as Sober by then doing this that she take corrective action on that to make sure that they respect your time sending you a message and it actually made me want to keep practicing because of the leave me alone. You don't want to practice as if that's an example of it for number 3 for the triggers. I would say try to figure out what Rd. Hope Spain Spears dreams Mary. What would call the customers are not identified them as best as possible and then try to hook that through internal triggers and then do a life example, if you're working the activation and you want to work on your own boarding try to have in the morning that's goal oriented. And if you notice the main most popular options that people have in terms of why they would want to use our product yet.

Then your soul triggers email reminders excetera. It would be very important and useful for you to know. Why is someone downloading this health app? Is it because they want to train for a marathon is because they want to lose some weight like that. If you can a wind that purpose with all of the triggers that you set up. I feel like I need to have a better shot at getting people to engage with the product types of priming diesel priming is actually the foundation of all as when you think about it. It's spite definition is just a subtle visual verbal suggestion that influences you later on when you're ready to take action. So it literally plays into your shirt or short short term memory and once you're ready to not ready, but once you have that notch,

Got something really fresh in your mind that you can just you're already Prime, right? Yep. Yep, an example of this is Billboards on the highway. Yeah. Basically if you see a McDonald ads for sure, there's going to be a McDonald's like in the next we actually have our own us. We had an OG in the people. We're sharing our blog on Twitter on Lincoln everything and we just had our logo right as a no damage and we decided like this is kind of boring while it's good for our brain. Right? Right, but it's it doesn't really Prime the person that we have case studies that are and Dracula and that like we do storytelling everything. So we decided to actually show the logos of all the case that we did have to Prime people are so Wendy see the link there. They actually know that like, there's something coming. Yeah. Yeah, so that's one example as well. And the other one was when I did the Superhuman kit.

Play study. I don't know if you guys are familiar with super given the basically it's an email service and they have these one-on-one onboarding calls and the person that I was talking to during my onboarding call at the end. She says hey, you can expect an email from road which is there a CEO you can expect an email from him every day in the next two weeks and gas going to show you the new features that we didn't cover during the call. So that's that's another form of priming cuz then I was like, okay not too sure the next day. I'm going to open that email yet part of his expectation setting and another like way of thinking of Honey is it like plants a seed in someone's head? Like if you go back to the are McDonald's good. For example, you pass it. I see it. Maybe you don't think about it much but it back you had your like. Oh McDonald's fries taste good and then five minutes later you pass McDonald's hungry and then

And then you going to you're going to look into a short-term memory in unity like that McDonald ad and you probably going to see if you have one action item for it is find the key action in your in your clothes and just find ways to Prime people before that much pride and if you can couple that that priming with eye care benefits if that's even better. So it like let's say you have a home screen you can prime visually with like images and everything, but if you can if you can couple that with a clear benefit for that person, then it's going to be the Holy Grail.

That's awesome. I love that Holy Grail amazing. But I'm sure some of this stuff you pulled from his principles. And another thing is that we judge past experiences almost entirely based on their peaks ended. So let's say you was okay was actually average but the waiter that came to us was extremely friendly till this is funny story about how you went to Italy and then he offered us some like that it ended is that he brought us inside and showed us This Magnificent part of the hotel that's really close to me. And that's the thing I'm talking about today.

Midi in terms of digital products MailChimp. Does it very well, so when you get to the end of the campaign, they had two small funny animation would like to finger over button that says are you ready to send it? I remember everything is good to have that moment. It is extremely important. But the truth is I like how important that woman is and I want to make you remember that. Hey, you did something great and you did it and somebody else was with you throughout that process. So that's one example, another one would be the case that he was accurate. And as soon as you go through the Aubrey process or are you you pay for it? They have like confettis that song. I don't remember that one. But the truth is they want to take your focus away from hey, we just paid $156 for that month to say. Hey, let's celebrate the fact that you're not saving time.

When and for that reason, you're more likely to remember that part then just shutting out the hundred fifty dollars of people. And so if you want examples for that every single one of her case studies except for two, I think have customer Journey at the end just stayed the key moments highlight them based on the emotion of the person that try to find some well first, where are the valleys and try to match them up or try to make sure that you can offer something else make them even more delightful and make sure that the end of your curfew customer Journey ends as high as possible because that's actually more important than some of the stuff before he matters most to me is last impression when you walk away from something you usually latch onto like what was the last thing that you had their asshole like bad taste in your mouth?

Did you think that like should people focus like I so first you find you find what your cheeks are and then should you like really really focused there and get it amazing. I can you kind of forget about the other parts or is it like how do you think about that trade-offs to hear what you think about that. Louis the way that we see it and when we analyze and give the score to the case of these that we do as we look at the deepest valleys because those are probably money, you know situations in the journey and then we look at it and say how could they have made it better and was that proportional to the information that they wanted to convey and the emotional state that he wanted to come back? And the last I see the end. So in the case for that hearing they did a great thing with the confettis but said he did not answer my need. And so I got to the last that I was like well did it work like the week get what we actually paid for it to go through support and then their documentation and send an email that I remember now from it.

Great product, but the right path was not as good as it could have been leave your app if it's for a good reason and at the right moment and if you can if you can optimize for that moment, then you're going to for sure increase retention in the long run to cuz then you you you you won't have product fatigue. There's a bunch of us that that that that comes with it. So definitely providing exit points. That's that's a really good point. Another part is I always wonder why we pay like for most of our experiences towards the at like at the end if you go for a massage playlist made a hundred fifty bucks in your leg. Was that really work?

Then you would enjoy it even more grace. I was right. It has like a reverse psychology. So yeah definitely pecan rule is is something really powerful that you need to design for you made me think of something at regarding providing exit points. So Duolingo, that's one of the things that I pointed out that he fell at so when you go through your journey, you basically have to complete certain license to have your daily goal. But as soon as you reach it, there is no end. So he's just leave you in that endless feed of lesson at that bar is right. We'll see you tomorrow makes you a lot more likely to do it and it's going to be cuz Julie goes team reached out afterwards and said that they were they were considering something around that sell something to think about for a product. That's cool.

I think I've gone out with Facebook app. I deleted the app for my phone just cuz I found myself endlessly scrolling and then I could never ends and never ends. Then you opened then it never ends right? I think people are you are starting to feel like push against that right? They realize that all these tools are built to just like keep your poking around forever and ever and I think it is becoming more and more respect for that. Like yeah. Give me an exit point when I've completed the thing. Let me feel good about it. And then I'll come back later to see bias as yes. Yes. So basically we tend to develop a preference for things that were friendlier with and right. I don't know if you if you work in a private company, so you probably heard this before but if your colleague or see you or whatever he says, he looks at an abandoned or your design and he's like that's not very intuitive what he really means is it's not familiar to me.

And that's that's the the the thing that you need to be careful with. His intuitive is just another word for what's familiar to you as a person what you've been exposed in your password what your past experiences were like, so so that's it. That's that's the definition for why would you use it is basically just make your users really comfortable right from the start if you have a new app or a new product and there's that it's something new that users hadn't seen before then you need to you need to lay out the foundation for the patterns that you're using are actually familiar with other products other pool or the products that I take those pattern. Like how do you think about like making the thing familiar honestly like to start but you can just copy with the best do and that's that's a really I guess Simple Start for you for you to take Butkus.

Where Janet Jackson dislike change anyway, so so a really good starting point. Remember Snapchat. I think it was two years ago. They release like a full revamp of the of their you ask and it was like everybody went crazy about it. Everybody hated it the even sign a petition to actually change it back to what it was before like the gesture was wearing the same navigation was completely different. So but basically what it what it was. Yeah those trick people about that.

Like Tyler thought that are case studies were something else called flies. I won't get into the technical know basically was a fully immersive experience right? But then when we started by then be like like created this whole new layout of the case study on top and then we had like this full written analysis of like what we thought of of the quesadilla and everything and since people weren't familiar with our type of story and our type of medium. They just rolled right past the case study widget and it started reading it while I went. So boring another boring black boys, right? So I just got to turn at the beginning

We didn't understand what is going on exactly like the full experience. Green but then. That was a good lesson for us at that point. That's awesome action action on the market Friday you stick with familiar patterns that already exists, but that's nothing that would be the best thing to do. I guess so we value things more once we feel like we own them. That's the basic premise of it. The thing with this is that people that are coming to your product. They see you as a stranger and we tend to forget that we have this knowledge where we like whatever like this is not familiar and this is somebody else's product and you have to find ways to make it feel like it's bears.

Smelly and at the right time, so there is this thing. I guess I'll go back to the travel case study and I should very carrying a case of you. So if people want a visual example of that they can go through it when you get past the first few steps. So first of all, the change your mental model be explained you side-by-side with a list is where the board is but a card is and then to get you with an aborted cell tissue pre created and once you get there, you have disliked green background that's almost like too flashy and when I got hoes, I called and had this beautiful image from unsplash like mountains and valleys and whatever that's when you click it all of a sudden changes your background is something extremely clean and you kind of chose it and I was like really and I'm wondering if this helps for Activation or retention and again, I spoke with the gentleman was responsible for that that grow team would like the initiative for a whole year and what he told me was that they look at to metrics.

So we have a 2 and 7 which is two key actions within 7 days and then 4 + 28. I think the guy from Adobe also talked about the 28th or actions in 28 days and what he said was that it did not lift the activation to use a background picture but it drastically lifted the retention for the 4 and 28 which is super interesting and it also shows that acts on a longer-term at and get you back because you have a vested interest always hear you chose to made it yours and I know that I don't know if you still have this morning the last time I did it was I think a few months ago, but I know that drift very early makes you customize the Brent you're building something. That's partly your sound that just something that's somebody else's.

Yeah burger, so I should have them for that is right after your first aha moment within your activation is a great moment to ask for a small investment by the user and that could be a small customisation good beaches making that part of your product feels like it's theirs so that they have a reminder in the trigger that be the place by themselves in there so that when you nudge them afterwards and you sent him another external trigger, baby, don't just see you as a stranger in DC. That's something that's also there. If you want you can customize the way this ass wipes work on mobile or you know, when you're going through email and you set one is done. Which order do you go in next Ray and change those things early on and now I feel like right this thing is mine like it works the way that I wanted to work at and I like mashed it to some of the patterns that I previously knew. It's all those things are intertwined in the more that I totally agree the more that you

Think that something is yours in and know that something is yours even something as simple as he's having a Macbook you make your user and then you pick the little icon that shows up on the lock screen is yours and you pick the Eagle Eye. Yeah, that's that's my ego. I picked it like you're always reminded of that precise. But yeah, that's great. Dark pattern. Exactly. Actually, it's more it's not a tip for say power comes great responsibility. And I think that as product and growth expert we have to be aware of what we're creating and what we're creating as behaviors as well. So basically what a dark pattern is is is just a strategy to trick user into doing something that they don't really want to do. You see it everywhere like it can take the form.

Scar City. If you try to book a hotel there going to be like red all over saying 95% of those hotels are booked. Only two two rooms left at that price and like all those things you have to do you need to ask yourself. Like there's there's one past that you can do and it comes from near are y'all and I don't know if you know near he's he's the father of psychology. Well behavioral psychology and products does one question that you can ask yourself and it's called a regret regret test that goes like this. I'm just going to read it cuz I'm going to see if people knew everything the product he knows it would they still execute the intended behavior and are people likely to regret doing this afterwards interesting. So it comes it comes back to what I was saying is if people actually regret taking action

Then you're doing something wrong with your product and you need to actually come back to the drawing board and say okay. Is it is this? Okay is this okay that we do this? So yeah, so that's how much you have any any thoughts on this but I think it was a lot more prominent right now in discussions is within five circles before we used to look at conversions as just a short-term metric and I feel like more and more people are aware of the importance of retention and the long-term impact of decisions that we make as per our people and when you realize that when you put like many planks, I don't know they call it like when you have something I said you want to get this free ebook. That's like, yep. He sent it to her know. I'm a dumb person who doesn't like the fact you're not sure if you're lucky but at the end of the day people remember your brand and your customer experience a lot more than just a small life that you got for a small experiment.

Shaming basically, I open Uber Eats just cuz I was pouring out and order something and at the top it added this new thing which it it's like topics for you and you can scroll and pick like for 5/4 by there and then there's a timer that counts down its new pixel show up in 4 minutes and 59 seconds 4 minutes. If you knew what the product is the way that this timer matter, is there just try to get me to pick something in order before I realized that I actually can just get off my couch and go walk and get some food down the street exactly and that's a very good point. If you fake the scars, then it's worse cuz people would react the opposite way that you're that you want them to do that you wanted to so so we have to be aware of

Play countdown and everything if if that's all fake then try to stay away as far as possible. I really enjoyed that. I know that you guys have a head like a phone is thing for the listeners. Yes. So to every listeners of this podcast be prepared a little something if you go to growth. Design / hyper growth, we prepared a summary of debts of the psychological tips that we spoke about today with some check list some examples link to the direct case studies and everything in there. So if you're interested you want to run some interesting growth experiment get some nice list in your activation retention Gwen Derrick Rose. Design / hyper Griffin could have said better know it is one of these episodes that I am. I was just really excited to do and then hearing I know I learned a lot and and I'm I'm sure I listener is learned a bunch as well. So thank you again for

Thank you so much pleasure. And as always I'm a wrap it up with my my normal speed and have any feedback questions. Whatever might be my emails mad at Joe. Com. If you love the podcast, I would really appreciate a review and I will catch on the next episode and see enough six stars reviews. I know that beach indeed you did it. I did it. I know that we went in there. Let's review as well as we really need them whether I'm asking for reviews and one more thing before I go because you're a listener so drift has its hyper growth conference coming up in San Francisco on November 18th in this is 2019. So far this year. We've had one in London and Boston and they've been an amazing time.

You're going to get a discount code so you can go to hyper growth. and sign up with the code growth 99. So I'll capitals growth 99 with no spaces. And if you happen to be listening to this at a future date, November 18th is already passed. No worries if it is now 2020 and you're trying to come to the hyper growth in 2020 or Beyond to send me an email to Matt adrift, and we'll figure something out for those hyper-growth if the growth 99 code doesn't work then


Understanding the core psychological drivers behind the humans using your product can supercharge your growth. And you’re definitely leaving money and product usage on the table if you’re not employing them. So on this episode of Growth (recorded live at HYPERGROWTH Boston), Matt sits downs with Dan Benoni and Louis-Xavier Lavallee, founders of Growth.Design, to talk through some foundational principles of psychology – like mental models, priming, and dark patterns – that will help you design and run better experiments. You'll get a rundown of what each principle means, examples of how other companies are using them, and suggestions for how you can test them out in your next growth experiment.