Shaz Memon, Founder of Digimax Dental | The worlds highest rated Dental Marketing Agency | Charity: Wells on Wheels | Best-Selling Author
What comes to mind when I ask you to complete this sentence? “A good marketing campaign should be … ” Catchy? Memorable? Unique?
None of these is wrong, but a better answer might be “low in calories.” And don’t worry, I’m not trying to get you to go on a diet.
So why should a good marketing campaign be low in calories? And what does this even mean?
The truth is that calories may play a bigger role in our lives than we realize. Early human beings evolved to survive in a time when food was much more scarce than it is today. As one researcher pointed out, it was essential to conserve energy by resting.
And these instincts are still in play today. Those evenings you’ve spent in front of a TV or flicking through a mobile phone app before looking at the clock and bemoaning the lost time? Don’t be too hard on yourself because what we often dismiss as laziness is actually an innate evolutionary defense mechanism. As far as your subconscious is concerned, watching one more episode of Gilmore Girls helps you conserve essential energy.
With this in mind, it’s essential that marketing campaigns don’t require audiences to use too much brainpower. Research has shown that brain activity typically accounts for about 20% of our energy use, which adds up to around 320 calories per day. This is an enormous amount considering that our brains are a mere 2% of our body weight.
Now consider that by the time they see your marketing messages, the typical consumer will probably already have spent precious calories on things like their job, interacting with their friends, reading books and so on. And when it comes to whatever it is you’re trying to sell them, they will have few calories left to expend.
It’s therefore essential to come up with messages that are immediately easy to understand and, crucially, require very little brainpower to go from seeing them to buying the product or service.
It’s been said that you have just eight seconds to convince a potential customer that you’re offering them something of value or they will zone out. But perhaps that’s too generous because YouTube only gives advertisers five seconds to make an impression before the consumer is able to skip ads and get to the main video.
In 2019, YouTube ranked the top-performing six-second ads on its platform during a 12-month period. The products being sold ranged from a hatchback car with an extra-wide rear door, to a multipack of chips and snacks of various different brands, to an innovative refrigerator with a drawer that can be used as either part of the refrigerator or freezer.
What these videos have in common is their ability to tell you exactly what the product is, what it does and why you need it in your life in less time than it may take to read this sentence.
And one thing I can almost guarantee is that despite the fact these videos are short, a great deal of time went into making them.
And what holds true for YouTube videos also holds true for all other types of ads and for the homepage of your website. In a previous article, I discussed a concept I call “purchase beacons,” which are the features of a website that pique interest and make a website visitor more likely to take action. I argued for the strategic placing of purchase beacons on a website’s home page and feature pages. You need to grab someone’s attention. You need to explain why they want what you’re selling. And you need to make sure everything they need is where they want it with a minimum of clicking and scrolling required.
It’s easy to draw a straight line between purchase beacons and our innate need to conserve energy. In both cases, if you can’t get your point across to the customer quickly and clearly, chances are you’re going to lose them.
Now let’s return to my earlier question of what it takes to complete this sentence: “A good marketing campaign should be … ” Catchy? Memorable? Unique?
All three of these things can help, in their own way, to decrease the brainpower needed to process your marketing campaign. Both catchiness and uniqueness can increase its memorability. And if a campaign is memorable, the customer will likely have to spend less energy trying to remember it.
And yet, your campaign can be all three of these things and many other positive things, and it’s still likely to fail if it requires too much effort from your customers.
I said at the beginning I wasn’t trying to get you to go on a diet. But I’m strongly recommending that you put your marketing campaigns on one as soon as possible. Try to make them as low-calorie as possible so your customers don’t have to use too much brainpower to process them.
Imagine you have to design an exhibition stand for a trade show. You understand that visitors are drowning in marketing messages as they walk down the aisles. The most common question in people’s minds is probably, “What does this company do?” We solved this issue for our design agency by having a huge sign with bold white text on a black background stating, “We design websites.” The sub-headline mentioned our secondary services. We saved everyone from burning any precious calories thinking too much, and as a result, we had the most successful turnout we have ever had.