New and exciting vs. trusted and familiar

Image for post
Image for post
The novelty-familiarity continuum. Illustration by the author

The opposing attractions of novelty and familiarity, which seem to tug marketing strategies and practices in two opposite directions, have perplexed marketers since the first marketing messages were crafted.¹

When presented as a dichotomy, there is no obvious answer, because good evidence can be cited on both sides of the argument. I believe a more promising approach is to view novelty and familiarity not as a dichotomy, but as a continuum. This continuum is the path along which a consumer travels with regard to any product or brand. …


Repetition breeds familiarity, but not always

Image for post
Image for post
Which design do you like more? (Illustration by the author)

Robert Zajonc first published his findings on the mere exposure effect in 1968. In an article titled “Attitudinal Effects of Mere Exposure,” he described a series of experimental findings that fundamentally challenged the psychological understanding of preferences accepted at the time. According to that understanding, preferences were a result of conscious thinking. Cognitions were believed to come first, in the form of information processing, evaluation, and inferences about a perceived object. Attitudes, in the form of likes, dislikes, and preferences among alternatives were believed to form only later, based on those prior cognitive processes. …


Image for post
Image for post
© Randy Molton, 2015, 2017

Recently I’ve been writing in Medium about marketing and persuasion, mostly thru the excellent publication Better Marketing. It is with some reluctance that I venture into the poisoned waters of American politics, but I believe we need to acknowledge that the United States can no longer tolerate a political party that has devolved into an organized hate group dedicated to overthrowing our American democracy and replacing it with a poorly thought-out plutocracy based on minority rule, voter suppression, racism, foreign collusion, and a shredding of our Constitution.

All around us today we are see a reawakening of American conscience and a broad reimagining of what America can be. Sadly, I see all those hopes as mere pipe-dreams as long as the Republican Party remains in power anywhere in our government, at any level. Donald Trump may be a tumor on our body politic, but the Republican Party is the cancer that produced him. To return America to the struggling path of progress it’s been on for over 240 years, I submit we must completely repudiate and banish the Republican Party from our national political scene. …


“There is a fine line between using behavioral economics to improve customers’ experience and using it to manipulate consumers.”¹

Image for post
Image for post
Image courtesy of UCLA Anderson School of Management, https://bit.ly/36eULV0

Beginning with the pathbreaking work of Kahneman and Tversky, behavioral economists have identified many practical implications of cognitive heuristics and biases for directly or covertly influencing consumer choice and behavior.

Two paths, contradictory in their goals but similar in their methods, have emerged in recent years. The first, which might be called the consumer well-being path, focuses on the idea that behavioral designs can be used to help people make better choices. As summarized by behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the purpose of this approach is to develop “behavioral interventions that help people be happier, healthier, and wealthier.”² …


What you need to know to know what your consumers want

Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: Shopper stock images, DepositPhotos

In a recent article promoting my book, Intuitive Marketing, I outlined some common mistakes marketers make when they try too hard to persuade consumers to buy their products and brands. That advice was necessarily negative — it described what not to do. Now I’d like to consider the opposite question: what are some positive ways marketers can influence consumers constructively, beyond simply avoiding traditional marketing mistakes?

Here is five intuitive marketing principles that marketers can begin applying today to build relationships with consumers that do not disrupt and annoy, but identify and align with the deeper wants, needs, and goals of consumers as they struggle to navigate our increasingly marketing-saturated world. …


Obsessive tracking of product and brand preferences may be a fool’s errand

Image for post
Image for post
Do we buy what we prefer or prefer what we buy?

People’s automatic responses to repetitive exposure and processing fluency may create what appears to marketers to be stable and reliable preferences. But brain science researchers have found that human preferences are often much more temporary and much more easily manipulated than consumers’ sincere declarations of brand love might lead marketers to believe.

This is an area where traditional marketing theory has been led astray by the classic economic model of rational choice, which predicts behavior based on assumptions that preferences are stable, consistent, known before choices are made, and known with adequate precision to make the process of choosing among alternatives unambiguous. …


Transactional persuasion is not the path to consumer’s hearts

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

In the traditional model of persuasive marketing, the purpose of marketing is assumed to be the achievement of short-term transactional persuasion. In the newer model of intuitive marketing, the purpose of marketing is seen as something very different: the achievement of long-term influence through deep and authentic customer relationships.

When adopting the intuitive marketing perspective, it would be a mistake for marketers to view shortcuts like mere exposure and processing fluency as final objectives of their marketing efforts. This is because the kind of positive emotional reactions these shortcuts produce is ephemeral and easily manipulated — it can even be turned on and off by leveraging the sources of mere exposure or processing fluency.¹ …


And how to avoid them by embracing consumers’ intuitive ways of thinking

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

About five years ago, I had a minor epiphany, in two parts. First, I realized that marketing and advertising were starting to bug me. They were becoming more disruptive and intrusive every day, and marketers seemed to be locked in an “arms race” to outshout each other, pull my attention away from whatever else I was doing, and persuade me to buy their stuff. And second, I knew if I wanted to question the belief that the purpose of marketing was persuasion, I would need a boatload of evidence. …


How do we construe the concept of value in our heads?

Image for post
Image for post
Image courtesy of Intuitive Consumer Blog

Traditional marketing — with its emphasis on attention, information, persuasion, and recall — is based on a set of assumptions about how consumers think, act, and respond to marketing.

This set of assumptions is often called the rational consumer model. We could also call it the engaged consumer model or the intentional consumer model. The key idea behind this perspective is consumers use conscious thinking and deliberation to decide what, when, and where to buy. …


Image for post
Image for post
Average viewers watching the 2020 Super Bowl … Image courtesy of Kellogg Company

This year, Fox announced it collected an average of $5.6 million for 30 seconds of Super Bowl advertising, raking in about $400 million overall. As I watched most of that money disappear in a puff of smoke (much as the San Francisco 49ers did in the 4th quarter), I couldn’t help but reflect on all the brain science principles advertisers ignored or violated in their creative efforts. Most of those ads, I’m sorry to say, are likely to achieve the outcome Lincoln feared for his Gettysburg Address — they will be little noted nor long remembered.

“Are you not entertained?”

Two themes seemed to animate most of this year’s Super Bowl ads. The first reminded me of a practice I learned about in my Intro to Anthropology many years ago called the potlatch. Invented by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, a potlatch is an opulent public ceremony in which possessions are given away or destroyed to display wealth or enhance prestige. …

About

Steve Genco

Steve is a marketing innovator, advisor, and speaker. He is author of Intuitive Marketing (2019) & co-author of Neuromarketing for Dummies (2013).

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store