In my next life (or maybe even in the next chapter of my life) I vow to study psychology. I am truly fascinated by how the human brain functions. My challenge as a marketer is to apply what scientists and psychologists have discovered about how we think, decide and remember into my professional work.
One of my favorite resources is Neuro Web Design by Susan Weinschenk. With a Ph.D. in Psychology and a successful career in user experience consulting, Weinschenk’s book validated why I love writing and using case studies to sell products or professional services:
- People love hearing stories. Think about it. Children grow up hearing stories. Weinschenk explains that we naturally communicate the events of our daily life in the form of stories. You may not consider yourself to be a story-teller, but most of our communication tells a series of events in the form of a story. She also explains that we recall more of the information if the content is broken into digestible chunks.
- People are visual. Did you know that the visual part of your brain takes up half of its processing power? Weinschenk explains that this is why most of us remember things we see visually. This is a powerful statistic for marketers. When it’s tempting to create a text-heavy piece to get as much information in front of your audience as possible, remember that people will recall the information if it’s presented in shorter chunks with heavy use of imagery.
- People are attracted and respond to stories + pictures. Try incorporating a story-telling tone to your web or marketing content and add more photos. Together, the appeal of a photo coupled with an interesting story will draw your reader in and help them recall (and hopefully retell the story to others – word of mouth advertising isn’t dead!) the information for a longer period of time.
Weinschenk’s book is targeted toward web designers, but the concepts can be applied to printed marketing collateral, proposals or presentations.
Think about your company’s work and your successes over the past year. Can you tell a story about how your services helped your client or improved your community? Did you use a novel process to take a project from start to finish? A great first step for developing marketing concepts is to spend the time identifying potential stories and think about how the story might help solve your customer’s business challenges.