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Neuroscience proves simple, streamlined messages succeed

George Stenitzer, chief content officer of Crystal Clear Communications, urges B2B marketers to focus on one consistent message

When you market complex, high-priced B2B products, it’s tempting to deliver multiple messages to customers. Many agencies counsel clients to use 3 main messages – and reflect all 3 in their ads, websites and content marketing.

But that’s a big mistake. In fact, 3 messages are 2 too many.

Neuroscience shows that multiple messages don’t work, since people process only one message at a time.

Why? Multiple messages demand way too much mental effort. They’re easy to forget. So they’re unlikely to affect the final buying decision.

That’s why it’s important for B2B marketers to focus on delivering one message consistently over time.

Persist until your single message breaks through.

That’s a major challenge especially for B2B products that involve long buying cycles, measured in months or years.

In customers’ daily lives, the clatter and clutter of marketing messages grows bigger and bigger. People are bombarded by 1,500 to 30,000 messages a day, reckons the Business Marketing Association.

To maximize your chances of breaking through all that clutter, focus on one main message, says Dr. Carmen Simon. Simon is the author of a new book, Impossible to Ignore – Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions.

Simon says that audiences remember best when you present a single most important message, supported by no more than three or four points.

From a neuroscientist’s viewpoint, successful marketing messages must clear 3 hurdles. The messages must:

1) Win buyers’ attention with content now (at Point A).

2) Help buyers create a memory and form a future intention.

3) Then get buyers to act on their intention when decision time comes in the future (at Point B).

As marketers know full well, it’s hard enough to win customers’ attention at Point A. But what’s much harder is getting buyers to remember your content and act on it in the future at Point B.

That’s why its crucial to understand how memory works in decision-making. “Memory fuels our decision-making and it is a lens on the future. The same brain areas that reminisce are those that plan for the future.”

Here is Simon’s diagram that shows what successful marketing messages do: 

As Simon says, “Marketers are choreographers of future intentions.”

Keeping your message simple and consistent helps customers bridge the time gap between Point A and Point B, especially when the buying cycle is long.

Consistency creates crucial credibility. Uniquely, consistent messages earn a special place in your customers’ brains called “place cells.”

What’s important about place cells is that, unlike short-term memory, place cells never run out of capacity. That’s why successful marketers focus on delivering one message consistently over time.

Maximize marketing message effectiveness.

Deliver your marketing message to customers in a way that wins attention now, at Point A. Remind customers of the exact same message again at Point B. Your total consistency helps trigger the purchase.

In the minds of your customers, simple, streamlined messages make your marketing much more potent.