Marketing Psychology – A Guide to Marketing to the New Brain


“Our brains are rewiring themselves because of multi-tasking, so the new younger generation are in fact more able to multi-task than older generations. This isn’t because they have trained themselves to do it, it’s because the brain is literally redesigning itself around the fact they are multi-tasking from birth.” –Martin Lindstrom

Consumers’ attention spans are getting shorter and multi-tasking through several media outlets at once is pervasive to say the least.  Nowadays, over 60% of consumers watching TV with their phone or Ipads in hand, while surfing the internet.  The big question then becomes, what are these changes in our environments doing to consumer behavior, and how does that effect the role of the marketer?

The human brain is more adaptable than any other species on the planet and adapts readily to changes in the environment- a phenomenon knows as plasticity.  As a result of the vast media consumption on several platforms at once, this plasticity has lead our brains to shorter attention spans, the need for instantaneous gratification, and challenges with interpersonal communication.  The communication paradigm has been undergoing some seismic shifts and this undoubtedly poses a challenge for modern marketing.

Engaging this very fickle new brain, requires an arsenal of tactics channeled through several mediums to really capture consumer attention.  Here, however, are a few topline concepts to weave into your marketing programs to keep consumers as engaged as possible…for the moment ; )

Provide short, contextually relevant tidbits of information

Our short term memory is getting shorter and shorter.  Our thoughts are constantly interrupted, and thus productivity suffers and stress ensues.

Don’t fret,  we haven’t totally lost consumers’ yet.  Attention can be caught by the right creative on the right device.  Don’t treat a mobile device like a mini computer, or your advertising won’t have the same impact.  One of the key drivers with mobile devices is that it’s a personal device and communication needs to be familiar, be meaningful and within context.  The context is of the utmost importance because it has to speak to the different mindset associated with the usage of each device.

Appeal to the senses

Spending more time in virtual worlds muddies our concept of reality.  On screen things move quickly, they flash, they take our minds to creative levels we may not have imagined on our own.  In short, they make reality seem somewhat one dimensional.

Creating branded environments where consumers can engage with the brand on a multi-sensorial level creates deep engagement, and a lasting tie to the brand.

Every engagement has to be an experience.  It needs to take the consumers through a memorable and tangible expression of the brand that is exciting enough for them to remember and share on social networks (because that is where they really live and love).

Encourage a sense of self

As we get more and more wrapped up in these digital worlds and become somewhat less present, we can lose our sense of self.  Our lives become less about the experiences that mold us and more about time spent on social networking or gaming sites.

How do marketers tap into and create connections with this virtual self?  Marketing programs that link enjoyment of the brand with acknowledgement from peers will likely be the most successful.  People, in part, use social networks to stay relevant.  So reward based marketing which takes into consideration this need for peer acknowledgement and social relevancy, will successfully speak to the new brain.

To develop a meaningful brand to new age, new brain consumers, your communications have to be customer centric, timely, and valuable.  Consumers want to know what you are going to do for them, and they won’t waste time trying to figure it out for themselves.  Marketers are now in a unique position.  Our jobs are to appeal to these consumers by satiating their social egos.  We can make people feel good about themselves and still sell product.  Doesn’t sounds like too bad of a paradigm shift to me.

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