Get People to Notice Your Brand – Use Disruptive Marketing

People are bombarded with promotions and advertisements from all directions but are able to ignore the noise and pick up messages that are important to them. In the current marketing world where your messages could easily be dismissed as noise by your target audience, how do you get them to notice your message? More importantly, how and why do people sift through the noise and focus on certain messages?

In this video, Nader Tavassoli – professor of marketing at the London School of Business talks about the psychology of marketing and the selective attention and inattention of people towards messages and products. As one of the most renowned researchers in marketing, Nader explains disruptive marketing and how the basic goals of people affect the way they react to messages.

People’s basic goals

Almost every decision in a person’s life can be explained by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This psychological theory postulates that every goal that a person has can be divided into five categories – psychological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Also, these goals are placed in a pyramid with the most basic goals or the psychological goals being at the bottom and self-actualization goals being at the top. People are driven to satisfy basic goals first before moving upwards in the hierarchy.

According to Nader, this pyramid explains how people filter the noise around them and pay attention to very few relevant messages. However, this pyramid can be disrupted when people experience certain events. These events can activate certain goals that take precedence in a person’s life and the person will obviously pay attention to different types of messages when different goals have been activated. According to Nader, marketers should be able to activate different goals in people so that people pay attention to their messages.

Selective attention

Nader points out that disruption could possible be the holy grail of marketing but most marketers confuse this with lying to people. However, even with tall claims and exaggerated facts, people will not pay prolonged attention to your messages. This is because people use selective attention to block out noise and to focus on things that are important to them. Nader demonstrates and explains various theories that explains how selective attention works.

Mere-Exposure effect

The first concept that Nader explains and demonstrates is the Mere-Exposure effect. This effect explains that people tend to start liking things if they are exposed to them more frequently. This explains why people like the actual images of others more than the mirror images whereas they tend to like their own mirror images more than the actual images. We all see only our mirror images and hence we like our mirror images more than the actual images.

Even when people are exposed to subliminal messages very frequently, they tend to like these messages more even if they have no memory of ever seeing these messages. This Mere-Exposure effect gave rise to the belief in advertising circles that any exposure is good exposure. However, this may not be fully true. Even if you are bombarding people with messages and getting as much exposure as possible, people may not always be perceptive to them. Nader explained this with the help of an awareness test video. The audience was so focused on counting the number of passes made in the video that they completely missed the moon-walking bear. This goes to show that even if your messages get good exposure, your target audience may ignore them completely.

Change people’s goals to get your message across

Nader says that if marketers are able to change the immediate goals of people then people will take note of their messages. He conducted a study where his team activated the social desirability goal of the test group by introducing people to watch them perform a test. The test group immediately showed better results as they wanted to be perceived as socially desirable. Similarly, when the test group was shown an advertisement related to social desirability with others present in the room, they were able to remember it better.

Along the same lines, if women were more aware of their role as women after browsing the site, they remembered ads about feminine-products more effectively. Marketers should take this into consideration when they are coming up with ad placement strategies. According to Nader, an ad about breast cancer will be much more effective on a website like iVillage than on other sites because different goals are activated in women who visit iVillage. Nader adds that activating the gender identity goal in women also alters their risk perception and other behaviors and he shows how activation of different goals can have far-reaching effects.

People’s goals have to be changed for disruption marketing

Nader concludes by saying that attracting people’s attention when their operating goals have not changed is merely interruption. For disruption marketing, the goals of the people need to be changed so that your target audience acts on your message. Watch this video to know more about the psychology behind disruptive marketing and the examples that Nader uses to show the effects of goal activation.