Almost a decade ago, Malcom Gladwell wrote extensively about how our unconscious mind more often than not can make the right decision even when provided with little information.
“Thin-slicing” as Gladwell refers to it in Blink, The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking has been used on and off for years in multiple aspects of our culture like science, marketing, and advertising, and even medicine. But it is only now, almost 10 years after the book was first published, that marketers are giving this notion the attention it deserves.
It is no longer a surprise that consumers will rationalize any emotional decision they make. When faced with an overload of information as anyone living in a metropolitan area or owning a TV likely is, the consumer will choose the most convenient solution and then justify it with facts that may or may not be relevant to the actual decision.
As buyers try to push away any feelings of cognitive dissonance and information overload, the decisions become more simplified and more based on creating that internal consistency than ever before.
As marketers, we are faced with the important task of giving consumers just enough information to make them feel seen and understood, without overwhelming them to the point where all we get in return is a numb, passive consumer who’s decision is the lack of any decision.
Marylin Tam, a business leader and CEO of management consulting company Marilyn Tam & Co, says: “Bombarded by the relentless conditioning of what you are supposed to be, you packed your own dreams away, so hidden that you may have forgotten that you ever had them. You internalized the message that society gave you: that you have to be rich, famous, multitalented, good-looking, and in excellent physical shape to be happy.”
However, just as we were the ones who bombarded the consumers with information, we are also the ones who need to turn towards our intuition, set aside the focus groups for a second, and look for the things that matter.
Here are five steps any marketer can take towards a more intuitive approach to marketing, attracting new consumers, and keeping the old ones happy:
And stop pretending that your product or service will make them perfect. It’s time we let go of the airbrushed skin and how left behind someone should feel because they don’t have the latest gadget or accessory.
Intuitive marketing should be about serving the consumer, not about creating a need just to overload the consumer with the newest and most amazing product.
If you’re part of a company that promotes the good on a surface level, but then treats everyone badly behind the scenes, maybe it’s time that was fixed before proclaiming to the consumer how they can fix themselves.
You want to make them feel cared for, to make them feel like they matter, but you don’t want to bombard them with information and “love” to the point where they just walk away. So maybe sending three newsletters a day is overkill, but sending one or two a week with information that is actually useful and valuable is the right thing to do.
Susan Emerick, co-author of The Most Powerful Brand On Earth, says: “Rather than being programmed to anticipate every possible answer or action needed to perform a function or set of tasks, cognitive systems are trained using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to sense, predict, infer and, in some ways, think. This will unfold in years to come, helping human experts make better decisions in many capacities.”
As we program phones and other devices to adapt to their respective user, marketing has to do the same thing and learn from each consumer how to improve and adapt.
Frederick Nager, founder of creative strategy agency Atomic Tango LLC, says marketing is both an art and a science.
The science part entails research and analysis, but the art tells you how to express that knowledge in new and compelling ways. For example, almost every book and article I read about marketing these days talks about the importance of “emotion,” whether you want go viral or even just be remembered. But not a single one explains how exactly to create that emotion! That’s what artists have excelled at over the centuries: they somehow have the instinct for creating emotion, whether they’re writing a play or composing a symphony or directing a video. So analysts and academics may excel at telling us what works in marketing, but most are incapable of doing it themselves. How many viral videos have most professors created? That’s the value of artistry and instinct.
As the world is moving towards a more aware and soulfully evolved conscience, the role of marketers and advertisers becomes more and more important in developing and supporting strategies that reinforce an intuitive and perceptive approach focusing on individuality, personalization, and the “thinking without thinking” approach, which allows for an emphasis on emotional intelligence rather than just strategies and an overwhelming amount of information.
—Lavinia Lumezanu specializes in multi-cultural marketing and publicity campaigns needed to create change and adapt to diverse market needs. She sees the world in shades of purple, notices the colors behind the numbers and the numbers behind the colors, and is able to combine her artistic and analytical senses to find solutions for every challenge. Check out her blog JustLav.