Skip to main content

The Converted Toolkit

A curated and expanding collection of content to support the lessons in the book, community of practitioners to engage with on your journey and a developing set of tools to do much of the heavy-lifting for you.

New insights to take your business further.

Use negations to improve brand engagement

There is a science behind why American Express says “Don’t leave home without it” instead of “Always take it with you.” If you’re trying to improve engagement with your audiences telling them what NOT to do (“Don’t miss this sale!”) leads to stronger engagement than what to do (“Check out this sale!”).

Research found this positioning led to increased social media engagement, word-of-mouth influence and brand perception yet less than 15% of brands use them in their content today.

What you need to know:

  • Negations indicate what not to do (“Don’t miss this opportunity”), what is not the case (“Nobody beats our prices”), or what is not possible (“Our prices could not be lower.”).
  • These are alternatives to traditional messages of telling consumers what to do (“Take advantage of this offer”), what is the case (“our prices beat the competition”) or what is possible (“Our prices are the lowest possible.”)


Full article here:

Pezzuti, T., & Leonhardt, J. (2022). What’s not to like? Negations in brand messages increase consumer engagement. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, OnlineFirst, 1-20.

Frame donations as gifts to improve engagement

When fundraising, researchers found that promoting giving as a “gift” rather than a “donation” lead to very different results: audiences had both greater intentions to give to the organization and contributed higher amounts when they did. It’s one of those low cost, low risk strategies that everyone could implement.

Things to also know:

  • Researchers also found that using both “donation” and “gift” simultaneously in the campaign weakened the effect. If you’re using gift, the recommendation is to avoid using donation-related words.
  • The effect was greatest when soliciting contributions from broad or distant beneficiaries, or from donors with a low need for status.


Here’s the full research article

Wang, P., Wang, Y., & Jiang, Y. (0001). EXPRESS: Gift or Donation? Increase the Effectiveness of Charitable Solicitation through Framing Charitable Giving as Gift. Journal of Marketing

Make sure you offer your customers coffee

Consumers who had a caffeinated beverage at the beginning of their shopping trip had: 1) higher impulsivity, 2) purchased a higher number of items, and 3) spent more money.

  • This helps to explain why many retail outlets have coffee bars and restaurants (Nordstrom, Target), while others offer complimentary samples to shoppers (e.g., Trader Joe’s).
  • A car dealership showroom concept implemented by Mercedes Benz in which coffee is served to customers also “noticeably increased sales” according to their marketing managers.
  • The findings of the research also suggest that the effects of caffeine on spending are stronger for high hedonic products.


Read the full research paper here:

Biswas D, Hartmann P, Eisend M, et al. EXPRESS: Caffeine’s Effects on Consumer Spending. Journal of Marketing. June 2022. doi:10.1177/00222429221109247

Understand how frequently your customers are paid

How often someone gets paid is important to how they spend – important given nearly 32% of US companies pay weekly and some companies (Amazon, Uber) pay daily. Researchers found that when consumers are paid more frequently, they have a:

  • Higher perception of their own wealth.
  • Less uncertainty over whether they have enough money to make it through the month.
  • But, consequently, they also spend more, such as choosing more expensive options than their less-frequently paid counterparts.
  • In other words, those who got paid more frequently felt richer, but ended up with less money.


Read a great summary of the piece

Read the full article here (no paywall!)

Wendy De La Rosa , Stephanie Tully, The Impact of Payment Frequency on Consumer Spending and Subjective Wealth Perceptions, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 48, Issue 6, April 2022, Pages 991–1009,

Be careful about how you frame recommendations

Recommendation engines are a BIG deal. 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from theirs. But, what’s the most effective way for a company to promote the data behind their suggestions? For instance, should you use 1) “Here are products based on your browsing history” or 2) “Here are products to offer you based on your previous purchases.”?

Let’s see what the data says…

Eight studies found that customers didn’t like when they were being observed during the purchase journey (their browsing history).

  • Watching their behavior (or the sense of it) threatened their sense of autonomy, leading to them avoiding a purchase or choosing a default option.
  • Consumers were much more comfortable when outcomes (their previous purchases) were observed in the same context.


So, not only does Option 2 perform better with customers, but it should provide you with an important perspective on how to frame data collection and privacy choices.

Full research is here:

Yonat Zwebner, Rom Y Schrift, On My Own: The Aversion to Being Observed during the Preference-Construction Stage, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 47, Issue 4, December 2020, Pages 475–499,

Unleash your testers.

This is where everything starts to come together. And with purpose. We’re starting simple, with data and then predicting how your customers will behave next. This is an essential and immensely powerful insight, all bake into a simple approach that handles the heavy-lifting for you.

Getting the CFO involved

Adding up the lifetime value of your individual customers gives you a pretty good estimate of how much your entire customer base is worth – and this is pretty damn interesting to the CFOs. Here is a step-by-step guide to this new era of corporate valuations published in Harvard Business Review. The authors also manage a wonderful blog that shares the latest thinking.

Related Coursework

If you’re the self-directed sort, there isn’t a better offering than Wharton’s Customer Analytics on Coursera. Wharton Executive Education offers an in-person program for senior executives on high-level concepts. (Disclaimer: As I’m often a lecturer for the course, you may be stuck with me for an hour.) Elsewhere, there are solid learnings to be found at the Academy.

Coming 2H 2022

I’m in the process of rebuilding the entire toolkit to include more research examples, printable worksheets and some online courses. New content will be rolled-out in phases starting in October 2022 with additional content each week after.