Structure of the Marketing Message
We develop the structure of the marketing message according to the following assumption: the sequence of components should correspond to the sequence of their processing in the brain.
The desire of the buyer to get something to better satisfy his needs is what makes him communicate with the seller. If I didn’t want to get something I need, I wouldn’t communicate.
For simplicity sake, we accept that the buyer is interested in the product. More precisely, he is interested in the seller’s promise that the product can somehow improve satisfaction. If this promise is not just empty words, it should be convincing.
As we know, there are three tools to persuade: emotions, logic and facts. Emotions grab attention so that the buyer "start using his head." Logic penetrates his brains and draws a dashed logical chain. Facts connect this chain. At the end of this chain there is confidence in the promise. This is how a promise you can trust should work.
Where are the emotions, logic, and facts in a marketing message? More precisely, where should they be in order to work properly? Let's look at the processing of a promise from the perspective of the buyer's brain.
Information in the human brain is processed in a certain sequence. Daniel Kahneman in the book Thinking, Fast and Slow describes the decision-making process under conditions of uncertainty:
The framing study yielded three main findings:
A region that is commonly associated with emotional arousal (the amygdala) was more likely to be active when subject's choices conformed to the frame. This is just as we would expect if the emotionally loaded words KEEP and LOSE produce an immediate tendency to approach the sure thing (when it is framed as a gain) or avoid it (if it is framed as a loss). The amygdala is accessed very rapidly by emotional stimuli - and it is a likely suspect for involvement in System 1 [System 1 - quick, intuitive thinking; System 2 - slow, logical thinking].
A brain region known to be associated with conflict and self-control (the anterior cingulate) was more active when subjects did not do what comes naturally - when they chose the sure thing in spite of its being labeled LOSE. Resisting the inclination of System 1 apparently involves conflict.
The most “rational” subjects — those who were least susceptible to framing effect — showed enhanced activity in the frontal area of the brain that is implicated in combining emotion and reasoning to guide decisions. Remarkably, the "rational" individuals were not those who showed the strongest neural evidence of conflict. It appears that these elite participants were (often, not always) reality-bound with little conflict.
First, the information enters the amygdala. There it is tested for emotional coloring, first of all for fear: is the decision that needs to be taken dangerous or does it involve some kind of gain? Next is a check on the "naturalness" of the decision in anterior cingulate: does this decision cause any conflict? Only then the frontal region of the brain starts working: does the decision correspond to logic and facts?
A marketing message involves two different decisions. First, do I need this product, should I be interested in it? If the brain decides positively, then the second decision should be made: does the proposed terms suit me? It seems that the buyer goes through the decision cycle twice. We accept this assumption.
An emotional check of the first decision answers two questions: “What is in it for me?” And “What will I gain from this?”. These questions should be answered at the very beginning, at the first words of the seller. What should these words contain? First, a threat: what will happen to the buyer without this product. Second, the benefit: what the buyer who owns this product will gain.
The buyer is looking at a Polar Explorer sleeping bag. This bag has thicker insulation than others. Well, so what?
The message must begin with the emotional part: “You do not want to catch a cold and not get enough sleep on a cold night while camping, right? After all, then you put yourself and everybody around in a bad mood!” The first reaction: danger! Cold nights are not uncommon, catching a cold and not getting enough sleep really can deteriorate good camping, a bad mood is an obvious and not the most pleasant consequence. The signal is received, and it is in favor of purchase.
Seller can also start like this: “Even on a very cold night, you will have a good night's sleep, be awake in the morning, and get a lot of pleasure from camping!” First reaction: danger! Cold nights are not uncommon. And then - positive emotions! Pleasure is the very thing for which we go camping. Being awake is what is needed so that everything conceived turns out well. In order to be awake one needs to have a good night's sleep. Even if it was very cold at night. Again, a signal has been received, and it is in favor of purchase.
The preliminary decision follows: do I want to buy or not? If after the first promise you still don’t feel like buying, a conflict arises: what else do you need to make a natural decision to buy? The buyer is still in doubt. He compares the Polar Explorer to other sleeping bags. He still does not understand how the other bags are worse, although they are less expensive and more compact.
Now the buyer needs to resolve this conflict, and the message continues like this: “The insulation of the Polar Explorer sleeping bag is one-inch thick, while that of the others is not more than half-inch. In this sleeping bag you can retain the body heat all night even in cold weather.”
Yeah, now I see. Interest in the purchase of Polar Explorer has appeared. The conflict is resolved. Now the logic turns on.
What does the logic of decision making comprise? Comparison of benefits and costs, losses. The benefits are clear, but so far there is nothing to compare them with. And therefore, a protective mechanism of skepticism is triggered. The buyer mistrusts the promises made in a marketing message. Isn't everything too good to be true?
The logic and facts of benefits in the message should be followed with costs and losses. Then the buyer has something to compare.
The message honestly admits: “Of course, Polar Explorer is one and a half times more expensive, takes up more space both in the storage room and in the car. It is heavier than other bags. But what is more important to you: to be cheerful, fresh and healthy or to have a cheap, compact and lightweight sleeping bag with thin insulation?” Now everything seems to fall into place. The balance of benefits and costs has been established, the first decision has been made: I want to buy Polar Explorer!
The first decision has been made. The second decision will be made based on the results of communication with the seller. It will depend on what terms the seller offers and whether they suit the buyer.