Central to any marketing strategy should be a clear philosophy on marketing theory. This will inform our thinking when designing a strategy, a tactic and every individual piece of collateral.
Our philosophy is that marketing is about bringing the highest level of clarity and effectiveness possible to your communications with your customers. It is obvious that customers are extremely busy. It is also obvious that they are being saturated every day with thousands of attempts to get their attention from marketers. If our customers are having to choose which handful of pieces of marketing they receive on any given day they can afford to pay attention to, we need to strive to make sure that our marketing stands out.
How do we stand out?
According to Yankelovich’s groundbreaking 2004 Consumer Resistance Study, the top three marketing practices that consumers want are:
– “Marketing that is short and to the point” – 43%
– “Marketing that I can choose to see when it is most convenient for me” – 33%
– “Marketing that is personally communicated to me by friends or experts I trust” – 32%
We always try to engineer marketing around these practices.
Our marketing will also conform to the following design principles:
- Aesthetically pleasing. According to research conducted by the University of Texas, “both fitness-related evolutionary theory and socialization theory suggest that attractiveness influences development and interaction.” We believe this also applies to marketing. An aesthetically pleasing piece of marketing, whether it is a website, brochure, advertisement or flyer, will on average attract more attention than an unattractive piece.
- Emotionally resonating. It is well understood that people tend to make decisions for emotional reasons and then support those decisions with logic and facts. Human decisions cannot be explained solely by rational imperatives but are strongly influenced by emotion. Theoretical and behavioural studies provide a sound empirical basis to the impact of the emotion in guiding choice behaviour. Therefore we should use our marketing to connect with the emotional centres of their brains as well as the rational centres. One way to do this is to include narrative elements. Our brains are designed to respond to and remember stories. If you communicate your value proposition by telling stories (eg customer anecdotes), it is more likely to be engaging and be remembered.
- Customer centric. First and foremost our marketing should speak to the customer’s problems and offer our solutions. Benefits should come before features.
- Minimalist. Our mantra will always be “less is more”. The fewer messages we have on any page of marketing, the higher the chances that our customer will absorb them.
- Differentiation. Our marketing needs to stand out from what our customers are used to seeing – especially from our competitors. According to researcher Daniel Kahneman, our brains are designed to focus on things that run counter to what we are expecting to see. Neuroscientific studies suggest that dopamine is released when marketing engages attention and allows the customer to solve a small puzzle – and this creates positive associations.
- Call To Action. Every piece of marketing should strive to have a call to action that is clear, time dependent and offers easily-understood value. This is required to prompt the customer to either a) feel a sense of urgency to make contact with us today to get them into the sales pipeline or b) feel a sense or urgency to add themselves to our list for future communication. A CTA is an instruction to perform an obligation-free and risk-free action to gain a benefit. One of the most common (and worst) mistakes in marketing is to assume people know what to do, and forget the call to action. Research into human psychology suggests that we have been conditioned by evolution and experience to obey suggestions or instructions to perform a task.
- Brand Values. Every piece of marketing we produce should reinforce our brand values.