Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Associations & Neuromarketing: Are You Sending the Right Messages

No matter how you slice it, messages matter!

A week or so ago, a CEO asked me for ideas to help her association’s messaging task force come up with revised key messages for the association.

A few days later, Twitter brought me a FastCompany article called the Basics of Neuromarketing.

Reading it reminded me of the 3-part “Tell’em broadcast axiom” I learned in my initial broadcast journalism class at Ohio State:
  1. Tell’em What You’re Gonna Tell’em
  2. Tell’em
  3. Tell’em What Ya Told’em
My professor marked my answer wrong (because I wrote Tell Them rather than Tell’em) and thus, I’ve never forgotten the axiom.

And it is relevant today for associations and others seeking to communicate and engage.

And, what I learned in journalism and communications back in the 1960s is now being confirmed.

Here are the six points from FastCompany’s Neuromarketing story ... along with my commentary from j-school and 35-years in association communications and marketing: 

1. Don’t Make It All About You
  • That means spending less time talking about how great you are and more time talking about how you’re going to help a potential buyer who comes to your site.
    • My PR prof put it this way: If you are selling grass seed, remember your customer is saying “to hell with your grass seed, what will it do for me and my yard?”
2. Don’t Take Too Long
  • Our brains are getting inundated with messages all day long--so they respond well to pitches that are short and sweet. Short impactful statements on the homepage can do the job a whole lot better than huge blocks of copy that over-explain what you’re all about. 
    • From association communications: “Make it short, sweet and easy to repeat.”
3. Seeing Is Better Than Reading
  • What our eyes see connects directly with the unconscious parts of the brain that marketers want to reach. Photos and pictures are a great way to “sell” concepts quickly and directly in a brain-pleasing way.
    • From Journalism: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
4. Have a Strong Start--and a Big Finish
  • The brain notices how you begin and how you end more than what you’re saying in the middle.
    • This reminded me of my broadcast prof’s “Tell-em” axiom ... grab’em in the beginning and close by reminding them what you told’em.”
5. Stay Simple 
6. Employ Emotion
  • Emotion hits our underground intellect more powerfully than the most effectively-worded argument. 
As FastCompany said: “Many of the points made above simply confirm marketing advice given by experts over the years--but neuromarketing has demonstrated there is a real scientific validity to these recommendations.”

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you the tips and exercises I suggested to the association CEO.

In the meantime, remember to keep your association messages short, sweet & easy to repeat.

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