Subscribe for updates and more.

Perception Optimization

Planted 02020-09-17

Optimizing the value of what you've created for a specific audience.

Marketing involves understanding how humans make choices to make efforts so that you’re chosen.

If you ask 100 people what marketing is, you’ll likely get 100 different answers.

Marketing is misunderstood.

Everyone has their own opinions on what marketing is, making it difficult to talk about marketing.

You have to fight opinions like “Marketing Is Evil.”

So, instead, I propose that what we do is Perception Optimization.

This is a not-yet-dirtied word. Dirtied words are words that people think alongside differing preconceived notions. These are words that, when said, often mean different things to all the parties involved.

I’ve thought about this idea of “dirtied words” for a while now, and I’d like to come back and make a list here. If you have a word that you think means different things to different people, let me know, and I’ll add it.

Perception contains multitudes, but I’d say they’re all neutral.

If I were to ask you what perception means, you’d probably say something like: “How we see things.” Or “What things we see.”

Perception involves all the ways we make sense of things.

So, Perception Optimization is about making the most out of all the ways we make sense of things. Optimizing situations where you can be being chosen.

Optimizing the value of what you’ve created for a specific audience.

Everything you know, everything you do, everything you say, and everything you buy is influenced by your perception. And that rings true by intuition.

So, I bring to the world Perception Optimization.


This is the first time I’ve thought of a new category. Category creation like this—where you call the whole game something else, is a key differentiation strategy.

Category creation changes how people perceive you. People create categories to stand out and be different.

Category creation is Perception Optimization.

The most recent and famous example I’m aware of is Drift’s Conversational Marketing.

Drift is a live chat tool. Live chat tools are a crowded market. So, to stand out, they called it something else entirely—conversational marketing.

Morphing time

I’ve touched on the mess of marketing differentiation before, so let’s see how this works.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) → Search Perception Optimization
  • Digital Marketing → Digital Perception Optimization
  • Content Marketing → Content Perception Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) → Search Perception Optimization
  • Email Marketing → Email Perception Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing → Social Perception Optimization
  • Inbound Marketing → Inbound Perception Optimization
  • Outbound Marketing → Outbound Perception Optimization
  • Affiliate Marketing → Affiliate Perception Optimization
  • Neuromarketing → Perception Optimization
  • Mobile Marketing → Mobile Perception Optimization
  • Influencer Marketing → Influencer Perception Optimization
  • Event Marketing → Event Perception Optimization

I seriously think Perception Optimization removes the confusion that marketing has thrown in.

Though, this could be just me. Let me know what you think of when you hear Perception Optimization.