Marketing Strategy Blog

Marketing to the Subconscious

Marketing Subconscious

Remarkably, up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, according to Caroline Winnett and Andrew Pohlmann of The Nielsen Company. Further to this, their research reveals that while our brains process 11 MILLION bits of sensory information EVERY SECOND, our conscious minds handle less than one hundred per second in comparison.

Sound crazy?

Well, what’s really crazy is how much marketing out there is missing the mark due to this lack of awareness and understanding of the subconscious mind. As a marketer, you need to focus on your product, your audience and your message. Everyone gets that. But is that enough? Are you taking your marketing as far and as deep as you need to?

Branding vs. Performance Marketing: A Silly War

There’s always been a dichotomy between those marketers focused on branding vs. those focused on performance. Yet the evidence is screaming out that it’s actually the intersection of these two fields of marketing that provides you with the ultimate marketing sweet spot.

Continual testing, measurement and optimization is the methodology sworn to by the performance marketer. And most definitely, this process provides a jolt to your marketing results. But face it…optimizing what you’ve got ain’t enough if what you’ve got is mediocre. No matter how much optimization you do, if what you’re optimizing is mediocre, you may improve your marketing results but you’ll never MAXIMIZE your results.

Achieving Marketing Nirvana

So, you’re asking, how in the world do you reach the subconscious to attain this marketing nirvana? The answer is so simple, it’s right under your nose…

Make them cry!

Well, not always “cry”, sometimes you need to make them laugh or get excited or merely make them feel safe. The bottom line is:

ALL purchase behavior is emotional!

So, if you want to maximize your marketing results, your marketing needs to evoke an emotional response in your prospective client’s heart and mind. What this means is not that you need to crack jokes or include puppies in all of your marketing. Rather, you should focus on a holistic sensory experience. The greater range of sensory impact your marketing creates, the greater the chance that you’re going to connect on a deeper level with your audience.

According to the University of Loyola, Maryland, color increases brand recognition by a whopping 80%. Yet, how much time do you spend perfecting the colors in your marketing? Yellow conveys happiness, optimism and friendliness, while grabbing attention. And this is precisely why McDonald’s, Hertz, Nikon, Best Buy and IKEA use the color extensively in their marketing.

Shapes move us without our awareness. This is why Apple and Coca-Cola have focused on rounded shapes so effectively.

Messaging is just as effective. Salesforce made its mark with the simple yet bold message of “No Software”. They perhaps could have focused on “Software in the Cloud” or “No Installation Required,” yet that’s boring in comparison. Nike’s “Just Do It” says nothing about the quality or materials of the shoes they are selling, yet is infinitely more powerful.

Price is another emotional trigger. Olay tested various price points and found that its sales were highest at a very high price point, yet failed miserably when at a middle-of-the-road price point. The high price point far outperformed even a low discount price. The high price point conveyed a premium product experience, causing a powerful emotional mix of of pride, confidence and indulgence in consumers.

The software company Wave Accounting takes the potentially boring topic of accounting software and turns it into a luscious “experience” through its focus on beauty and design.

Environment is another example. For one of our clients here at Digital Marketing NOW for whom we conducted a complete rebranding, beyond the creation of a new identity, logo, website and marketing collateral, we even redesigned their office lobbies. With our client’s identity focused on being the innovation leader in their industry, we created a new, hip, bold and vibrant lobby that energized anyone who walked through the door. When was the last time you took your lobby as seriously as your landing pages?

Yet with 90% of purchasing decisions being made subconsciously and with 11 million bits of sensory information being processed by our brains every second, it’s time to start shooting arrows right at the subconscious, whether a site visitor or office visitor.