Why Investing in Messaging Matters

Why do we seemingly see the same ads for cellphones and new cars over and over on the television each night? Why do companies purchase page upon page of expensive advertising in magazines and create banner ads on webpages?

Because the human mind is conditioned to have a response.

Understanding some fundamental concepts of psychology can help marketers create campaigns and messages that are more likely to resonate with consumers. An investment in critical messaging should be framed by a clear understanding of what goes on in a customer or prospect’s mind when she sees or hears your advertising.

Before investing in ads and creatives, consider some of the following:

1. Reciprocity
Notice the mints the maid left on your hotel pillow? Studies show that small gesture is likely to result in a greater tip.

Reciprocity is a simple concept. If someone gives you something you’re more likely to give something back. In marketing, reciprocity does not need to be expensive, but content that’s valuable, such as a free webinar or a trade show giveaway with your logo on it can lead to more leads and sales.

2. Anchoring
Why are you more likely to buy those two sodas for $3 at the local convenience store? Because the special deal verbiage is right next to the information that each soda separately costs $1.79. This example relates to anchoring, meaning people relate information to what they initially see.

That’s why online sales typically have the regular price crossed off right next to the sales price. The same goes for print and television ads too.

3. Scarcity
Book now! Only three rooms left at this rate!

When you see such language, often in red type on a hotel booking page, you are more likely compelled to act quickly. The notion of scarcity holds that the rarer the experience or opportunity, the more value people place on it.

4. Nostalgia
We are often attracted to experiences and products that remind us of a simpler time in our lives, especially our childhood. Legos and Lincoln Logs are popular not just because they are well made and spark a child’s imagination. They are also seemingly timeless because parents and grandparents shopping for young ones remember their own positive experiences with the product.

5. The Everywhere Effect
Have you ever seen an ad for a product and shortly thereafter you seem to see it everywhere you look? All your friends seem to have it or are talking about buying it. Known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, such experiences are the result of two factors. For one, when you see a new word, image or product, you develop selective attention, keeping an eye out for other instances of it. The second is confirmation bias, in which we assign extra weight to every occurrence of a recently seen or experienced idea or thing.

Clustering
Our minds like order. We want things to be organized clearly and neatly. We look for patterns in groups and bundles, which makes those things easier to remember. Marketers can tap into this desire, understanding that short-term memory is limited. Grouping items logically, whether on a store shelf or a web page, helps ‘feed’ the need for order.