Fundamental Truths of Marketing

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Marketing is constantly evolving. And with every new technological breakthrough comes new ways to target and communicate with prospective customers. We’ve seen digital marketing evolve from simple banner ads to using tools like Google Search, geo-fencing, Facebook, and an increasing trend of utilizing AI or complex algorithms. With every new marketing advancement comes brand new ways to reach the public that were previously unthinkable.

But as odd as it may seem, as much as marketing has changed, it’s still very much the same fundamental business it has always been. The drive has always been to make people aware of a service or product, and influence them to use that service or buy the product. That’s it.

Sure the methods may have changed over the years, but the goal remains the same. And so have a few fundamental truths. These things never seem to change no matter how much the landscape of marketing in general does. Knowing these bedrock principles can help you successfully navigate marketing no matter what the future may bring.

Emotions Influence Purchasing Behavior

 
Humans are emotional creatures. Emotional responses and how we “feel” about things almost always wins out over logic when it comes to decision-making. This is why emotion is so important to consider when it comes to marketing. Emotions, or more importantly, the emotions you evoke with your marketing can create a connection that spurs consumers to buy your product.

Just how important is emotion? Well according to Professor Gerald Zaltman of Harvard, a whopping 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. This means our emotions and how we feel about something influences whether we buy it without us even knowing it. This applies not only to new products, but it can help revitalize an older product as well.

During Professor Zaltman’s research he noted how an established brand was able to shift perception and increase profitability by connecting to consumers on an emotional level.

“One firm with a very ‘tired’ brand explored consumers’ hidden thoughts and feelings and discovered a relevant, basic emotion that had been overlooked by all brands in the category. They were able to connect this emotion with their brand giving it a major sales boost.”
Professor Gerald Zaltman

The bottom line is if you can create an emotional response and connection with your marketing you are far more likely to be successful. Just look at some of the most successful companies and the tactics they employ with their marketing. Consider these examples from two of the world’s most successful brands, and pay close attention to how they successfully evoke and tie emotion directly into their products and branding.

People Respond to Visuals

 
Ever heard the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? There could be more truth to that statement than you realize. Don’t believe me? Check this out. The human brain takes in and processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Not only that, but 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.

That means most of the information our brains are working through at any given time is visual; and visual information is more readily processed that text. All of that means you can have the best product in the world with the greatest copy writers of all time coming up with catchy slogans, and you’ll still more than likely fail unless you have a good visual design.

Having good copy is important but if you don’t catch people’s attention they’ll never be enticed to hang around to see what you have to say. Creating quality content is very important, but you can never discount just how critical it is to have attractive visuals and a catchy design.

Simplicity Works

 
Beyond having good visuals you need to try to keep things simple when possible. Simplicity in marketing is not only effective, but it can also be incredibly memorable. The more complex you get, the more bells and whistles you add unnecessarily, the more you risk becoming part of the noise instead of cutting through it.

With so much information being thrown at people every day, people have learned to tune things out and just move on. A Microsoft study found that the average attention span has dropped to only 8 seconds. That’s already incredibly short, but it’s even more astounding when you consider that in the year 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds. That’s a rapid decline in average attention span in a relatively short period.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep your messaging simple, concise, and easy to understand. If a potential customer can’t know what you’re trying to convey in 5 seconds or less you have very little chance of a successful interaction.

Not only does keeping things simple help prospects quickly know what you’re trying to sell, but in the world of short attention spans it’s a necessity. Even globally established brands like McDonald’s have seen the value of simplicity in marketing. Check out this simple yet effective ad they used to promote in store wi-fi.

McDonald's Wi-Fries Advertisement
Simple right? It’s not busy or a jumbled mess of words. One simple image. The recognizable wi-fi logo formed out of McDonald’s french fries. The company logo is featured in the bottom corner with the brief message of love free wi-fi (a play on their “I’m lovin’ it” campaign), and that’s it. That image and those few words convey everything in a very simple and easy to understand way.

You may not have the brand recognition of McDonald’s (yet), but you can embrace the same strategy they’ve used here. Keep it simple. If you can convey something in three words instead of ten, do it. Streamline imagery and copy. Make everything you do as simple and easy to comprehend as possible. Remember you only have a few seconds to make an impact.

The More Marketing Changes, the More it Stays the Same

 
No matter what new strategies or tools are being utilized, marketing itself is practically unchanged. The ultimate drive of marketing has always been to bring attention to your product and get consumers to do what they do…consume.

Effective marketing brings people in and engages them. Every new advancement, every new marketing breakthrough is predicated around that one simple goal. And just as there has been massive changes to marketing and the world at large in the past two decades with the internet and computer technology, in the years to come there will most assuredly be even more advances. But no matter what these advancements are, you can bet it will always come down to the same thing it always has. That one goal. Getting eyes on your messaging and enticing people to take the action you want them to.

No matter what the future brings you can be ready. Stick to these basic unwavering core principles of marketing and you will always get the most out of your efforts.
 

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