4 Unforgettable Facts About Memory and Marketing
Memory and marketing are inextricably linked. Without an understanding of what makes us remember, it's a lot harder to create promotional campaigns that customers can't forget. The quest to get stuck in consumers' mental synapses is as old as advertising itself. From familiar jingles to insistent slogans, even the old black and white ads exemplify many of the core attributes that make for unforgettable campaigns. But what makes us remember and how can your company use facts about memory and marketing to improve its next promotional campaign? It's those facts and stats we'll look at today.
Facts About Memory and MarketingThankfully for marketers, there's no shortage of research on the inner workings of the mind and memory. Neuroscience has been recognized as a distinct academic discipline for more than half a century, while the commercial aspect of understanding how and why we remember has kept funding for the field healthy throughout its development. Consider the following facts about memory and marketing to make your next campaign unforgettable:
Short-term memory operates in chunks of four.For some time, seven was the lucky number for those studying short-term memory. Based on research by cognitive psychologist George A. Miller, it was believed that the average short-term memory would retain seven pieces of information, albeit for just 20-30 seconds. That estimate has since been refined, given the limits that factors like age, attention span, and informational complexity place on memory. Modern psychology says that we can retain up to four "chunks" of information at a time, which is roughly equivalent to seven digits, six letters, and five single syllable words. The takeaway for marketers is that communications can be as creative as you like, but the core message must be refined into its purest form to be retained. Focus on concise calls to action that use as few short words as possible. Think about the slogans and marketing messages that have resonated with you over the years. Chances are they all use single syllable words and concise calls to action to make the message stick. Apply that concept to your own promotions by distilling them down to the component parts and building an unforgettable message around what remains.
Emotion is more important than information.Even if you break your information down into those bite-size chunks, there's a good chance they won't register fully unless you play on our emotions. Studies consistently show that strong feelings equate to greater recall. In 2004, research led by cognitive psychologist Donald MacKay found that participants were much more likely to recall socially unacceptable words and phrases than those carrying less emotional weight. Similarly, marketing messages are more memorable when they evoke strong feelings, such as fear, pride, ambition, exclusion, and many others. All of which is not to suggest that brands start swearing at or threatening customers... that would certainly be memorable, but for all the wrong reasons! The lesson is to find the most evocative aspect of your brand or product/service and play up to it in your marketing materials. For example, if you sell home improvement services, emphasize the warmth and security that comes from having a home in which the customer is comfortable. Every business is capable of evoking an emotional response. Zero in on yours and place it at the heart of your marketing materials to take advantage. [search-tag]
Repetition is important. Repetition is important.Repetition is -- okay, you get the message. But this doesn't just mean get your message on the air as many times as possible, even though that can help. Repetition also means communicating your core message multiple times within the same ad, in different places and across diverse promotional channels. All of which requires consistency. A 2016 study by researchers at Dartmouth reinforces this concept, suggesting the spaced repetition is more effective than lumping everything together. Consciously extending the same slogan or call to action across all of the platforms you use makes the overall campaign more effective. It also serves to build brand awareness in the long-term, as repetition across campaigns reinforces the association between your business and the qualities it embodies.
Our brains value visuals.The importance of imagery when it comes to brand recall cannot be overstated. There's a reason that most modern brands are primarily identified by a logo: they communicate a wealth of information and emotions in a single image. Well before web content was the primary concern of marketers, the product geniuses at 3M cited statistics that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, with the potential to yield a fourfold improvement in recall. That concept is playing out before our eyes in digital content and social media feeds, as images vie with video for attention and GIFs take over text messages and comments sections. The takeaway for marketers is that developing a visually-strong brand is a priority in 2018. This goes beyond a logo, extending into an agreed brand palette and a visual style that is understood throughout the company. This style should then be applied to every aspect of marketing, from print materials and advertising to web content and social media imagery. There are many ways to stand out in a moment, but it's the businesses who master the underlying facts of memory and marketing who make a mark on customers over months and years. Repetitive, succinct marketing communications tied to a visually strong and emotive brand are the key to long-term recognition.
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