The ‘secret sauce’ of marketing success
I AM OFTEN ASKED BY OUR CLIENTS FOR THE ‘SECRET SAUCE’; A NEW IDEA OR DIFFERENT MESSAGE THEY CAN USE THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE THE GAME AND GET THEM EXPONENTIALLY BETTER RESULTS THAN NORMAL. THE ‘SECRET SAUCE’ THAT WILL GET YOU RESULTS IS SIMPLE.
It’s not in having a new message, although that will help. It’s not about having a quality design, though again, that will help. It’s not coming up with something new and unique that no one has ever done before in your industry, which may or may not help.
The secret sauce that gets the results that you are hoping for is CONSISTENCY! The clients we work with that consistently get the results that put them in the top 5% of their industry are the ones that are consistent with their marketing. They are consistent with the frequency and the message that they put out into the marketplace. The concept to learn here is called ‘Recency & Frequency’. A statistic to keep in mind is that 80% of people will buy from the business that has marketed to them most recently and the one that has marketed to them the most frequently. That’s right, 80%!
A quick look into basic neuroscience principles can identify 2 simple reasons why this is the case.
The RAS (Reticular Activating System)
Put simply, the RAS is a part of the brain that filters things from the conscious brain to stop it becoming overwhelmed. Think of the last time that you purchased a new car. Just after you drove it out of the dealership the roads suddenly become filled with hundreds of cars the same model as yours. Magically the day before no one was driving them and today they are everywhere.
The truth is that they were always there; the information was just being filtered by your RAS because of its unimportance to your life. The RAS basically makes your marketing invisible to those that are not familiar with your marketing or not interested in what you are talking about, and this is the pitfall of inconsistent marketing. No one remembering your message because they haven’t seen it enough means it will make it from hand to bin in no time.
Conversely, repeating your message does keep your audience’s RAS open to your message. The big end of town knows this fact, which is why you continuously see Coca-Cola and McDonald’s marketing everywhere, from the street corner to your living room. Everyone knows who they are and what they sell. They got there and continue to stay there by keeping their message top of mind through complete market saturation. That is why when you drive past a McDonalds it isn’t filtered out of your consciousness by your RAS, you are instead consciously or subconsciously aware that you just drove past a set of golden arches and if you are feeling hungry they have significantly increased the odds of you pulling in to grab a burger!
So to ensure your marketing message is being noticed, keep up a high frequency to your target audience. Every business will vary, but I would say that once per month or more is a good starting point to test. If you need to choose between reach and frequency, my recommendation would be to decrease the reach until your budget allows for monthly marketing messages for at least 6 months. Now that we have talked about frequency it’s time to look at reason two for attention-getting marketing and how to saturate the marketplace effectively.
The mere-exposure effect
Being frequent is one side of the coin, but you must also keep your marketing consistent in message to increase its effectiveness, as presented by the mere-exposure effect. The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon first tested in 1876 by Gustav Fechner and most famously in 1968, by Charles Goetzinger to prove a point hypothesised by Robert Zajonc, where people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.
Goetzinger’s experiment saw a student come to class in a large black bag with only his feet visible. The black bag then sat on a table in the back of the classroom. The experiment was to observe if the students would treat the black bag in accordance with Zajonc’s mere-exposure effect.
His hypothesis was confirmed. The students in the class first treated the black bag with hostility, which over time turned into curiosity, and eventually, friendship confirming Zajonc’s mere-exposure effect, by simply presenting the black bag over and over again to the students their attitudes were completely shifted.
The important thing to remember here is that the message or ‘control’ was the same, day in, day out. A black bag with exposed feet was presented to the group. The colour did not change, nor did any other part of the appearance or message presented in the experiment. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle. Put simply, by being seen more frequently by your clients with a consistent message; you will become the preferred option for them.
Adding extra communication to support your core message such as; direct mail, flyers, letterbox drops, thank you cards and phone calls included in your follow up or nurture process that support your message will not only add value to your relationships but it will also offer extra reasons to make contact, adding exposures and increasing the mere-effect. For example; emailing them for address details, sending the physical letter and calling them up to confirm they received your letter adds three additional exposures and gets the mere-exposure effect working for you even sooner.
Consistency, Frequency and Recent Exposure are the three keys to getting your message heard!
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