Consumer Psychology and Media Placement

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By: Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

At Intermark Group, we’re often discussing the many psychological drivers that impact advertising effectiveness. One of the biggest drivers that often gets overlooked by the marketing world is the internal motivation of the audience when the ad appears. In fact, our motivations and goals shape how people process the information that reaches their senses, whether it’s more basic motivations and goals like eating food or being safe or broader motivations and goals related to enjoyment and entertainment. 

Our motivations and goals shape the way the brain processes information, and this impacts whether that information enters conscious awareness. If we’re driving and we’re hungry, then we’re more likely to notice the McDonald’s billboard, but if we’re driving and we feel a sense of adventure (e.g. we’re on a road trip), then we’re more likely to notice billboard cues that are related to adventure, like a billboard for a water park. The point is that our internal motivations and goals actually shape the way we process the world, and many ads won’t get noticed if they don’t line up with what we think about or care about at that moment.

Of course, we think about consumer’s motivations and goals in our creative work–the next step is to make sure that the advertising appears when people are more likely to be in that motivational state. This is where media context can be really important, as we discussed in the CMO Minute above. If your product helps satisfy the fundamental human need for feeling safe, for example, then you’d want to make sure it appears within programming that helps make the need for safety salient (e.g. a crime show). 

Overall, it’s important to be clear about the underlying psychological motivations and goals that are addressed in a brand idea or marketing campaign. Make sure that those motivations and goals are embedded within the ad both implicitly and explicitly, so that the consumer understands the message very clearly. And make sure that the motivations or goals that are addressed within the ad align with the motivations and goals when they see the ad. 

One great example where we checked all these boxes comes from our work with Alabama Tourism. We placed a billboard along a crowded freeway encouraging drivers to tune to a radio station where they could relax to sounds of the Alabama Gulf Shores. This execution ensures that our message reaches the audience when they will be most receptive to it, which leads to greater engagement and advertising impact. To learn more about how we embed psychology in our work at Intermark Group, check out our next webinar.

At Intermark Group, we leverage psychology and the behavioral sciences to help make sure that advertisements have the most impact. We work with you at all levels of the campaign, from strategy, creative, production, and media, and more. Feel free to give us a call at 833-578-1314 or email us at [email protected] to discuss how we can help with your marketing challenges. In addition, sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch with the latest insights in marketing psychology.