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The End of In-Your-Face Marketing

Independent Thinkers

The adult median age is nearly 45, making middle age consumers the dominant players in the marketplace.  This has presented marketers with the most independent-minded consumer population ever.  In midlife, behavior typically becomes more autonomous.  Resistance to entreaties by others to take various actions – like buying a given product increases.  Because pleasure is dependent on sensory input you should want every marketing message in every medium to be designed with an informed consciousness of the following fact:

Awareness depends on sensory arousal – the less the arousal the dimmer awareness.

Go With the Grain of the Brain

It has been estimated that only about one-trillionth of the information falling on the surface of then eyes ever reaches consciousness — and that just addresses one of the five senses.  The brain itself experiences major challenges in sorting out what’s important amid all the incoming “clutter”.  It must do so in order to reduce the stream of incoming information to levels that are manageable by the conscious mind.

Thus, marketers’ primary challenge in creating and transmitting marketing messages is getting marketing information across in a way that is judged by the brain and preconscious mind as relevant to consumers’ survival scenarios.  It is common for all marketers to talk about the challenges of breaking through “all the clutter” to get consumers’ attention.  The “clutter”, of course to which they are usually referring is all the other marketing messages aimed at consumers.  A more challenging “system” of clutter exists in consumers’ mind/brain complexes.

Recent brain research indicates that willful decisions are not possible in the absence of emotional arousal.  That discovery validates Roberts’ charge that “we’re failing hopelessly – just hopelessly” in catering to emotions.  Marketing is not about getting out facts but about stimulating emotional centers of the brain. marketers who do best will have an intimate knowledge of brain and mind – or put their trust in those who do.

Message Considerations

Older adults are more resistant to absolutism.  The predisposition of older adults to reject absolutism means that marketing communications intended for them should generally reflect a conditional tone.  Strongly worded and delivered claims about your product or service usually work better with younger, more literal-minded adults.  A softer, more deferential, conditional approach is better suited to the older adult mind that sees reality in shades of gray.

Good marketing is good theater.  Marketing scripts play out in the auditoriums of mind where human needs eagerly await the unfolding of scripts that spread warm, and often, exhilarating pleasure – not the dread feelings of defensiveness and anxiety associated with marital conflict.  The most commanding force in life is desire for pleasure.  Nature gave us the chemistry of pleasure so that we might have incentives to take actions that serve our survival and well being needs.  Marketing is about securing consumers’ confidence that what is being offered will contribute to those needs.

Stories get our attention because stories arouse our emotions.  Facts do not.  Claims do not – unless they produce a viscerally counterargument, which advertising claims frequently do.  When people say they do not trust advertising, they are saying they do not put stock in claims.  Few people ever like an ad because of any facts it presents or claims it makes.  And studies show that likeability is a key to most advertising success.  People like ads that stir their emotions, not that engage their rational argumentative selves.

Finally, experiential aspirations are compelling desires to experience certain feelings or to avoid certain feelings.  All product decisions ultimately depend on connections with consumers’ experiential aspirations.  A consumer will not buy a product, no matter how outstanding its performance, design, value or price, unless it becomes connected with his or her experiential aspirations.

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