The brain takes in the equivalent of 34 gigabytes of data every day. Among that are roughly 4,000 separate marketing messages.

How in the world are you going to get people to care about and remember what you have to say?

Kill ‘em with media dollars

Even if you could afford to flood the market with impressions, frequency only increases the chance that your ad gets noticed, not remembered.

Here’s an Example
There are more than 200 billion pennies currently in circulation. You’ve seen them your entire life. Heck, you likely saw one sometime today. So, this should be easy. Of the choices below, which is the correct penny?

Penny Memory Test

I’ll share the correct answer at the end of this article.

The Penny Memory Test is a common psychology experiment that most people fail. But why? We’re so familiar with the penny.

The problem is, we may be too familiar. The more repetition our brain sees, the more common it becomes, the less conscious attention that we pay to it. In short, we simply need to process enough information to distinguish a penny from a nickel, dime or quarter. Beyond that, the details aren’t important enough to encode into our brain.

We don’t encode what we don’t remember.

A quick flip through a psychology textbook may help us to learn how better to encode our marketing message into our target’s brain. Try Elaborative Encoding.

Elaborative Encoding connects new information (your marketing message) to existing memories in your target’s mind. Essentially, you need to make the new information memorable so your audience can recall it.

Tell a story that ties to your message.

The more ludicrous the better. Create a mental picture, then associate your offer to it. Remember the e-Trade monkeys or talking babies? Both crazy, but memorable campaigns. Can you imagine the agency pitching those ads? “So, we have these babies who talk to the camera…”

Connect your main message with something in your audience’s life.

Associate your offer with what your audience is or has experienced. This is classic Life Stage Marketing!

Your message is more likely to be remembered, particularly if the life event you tie to is emotional: having your fist child, moving into your first home, getting married.

For more on Life Stage Marketing, click here. 

Suggest that your brand or product matches your target’s social identity.

This is why understanding your key target’s personas is so important.

The car you drive, the golf club you swing, the shoes you wear, the purse you carry. They are likely not drastically different that other products on their individual categories, but they likely make you feel good about yourself and fit your self-image.

A study from Hong Kong University tested identity-based offers, “10% discount for students,” or “ladies’ night, women drink free,” for example. They found that identity strength enhanced memory for identity-linked promotions.

In short, identify with your audience and show how you can live up to or help make your target the people they want to be.

Alliteration or Rhyme.

Often, if you can link your offer to an item that rhyme with each other. For example, “When your car is the worst, call First National first.  Car loans from First National Bank.”  Sounds kind of like a bad ad jingle, right? It may be tacky, but according to the Mnemonic peg system, your brain responds to it.  When someone looks at their car and cringes, they will likely think that First National is the place to go to get the loan for new wheels.

These tips do not replace or contradict the 5 Benchmarks of Advertising:

  1. Reach the right people
  2. Get noticed
  3. Differentiate
  4. One distinct message
  5. Clear and easy call to action

But, with a better understanding of the human brain, you may be able to stand out and be remembered.

Penny Answer: A

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