What’s That? Marketing That Gets Noticed

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

Most marketers are aware that people tend to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. If you think for a moment, you can probably confirm that this is true of yourself when you go grocery shopping as well. We don’t walk down every aisle and give every product equal consideration. Instead, we tend to scan down the aisle to get a quick read on the sort of products that are there, and we only take the effort to haul our cart down the aisle if the aisle contains the sort of items we’re looking for. 

Based on this understanding of shopper behavior, it’s clear that the product that sits on the shelf isn’t going to get nearly the attention that the marketing and product design team put into it. Most likely, your product is processed through the consumer’s peripheral vision, which means that your product colors and brand image were processed through cells outside of the retina– these cells generate a blurred image of your product in the brain. 

It might seem surprising that the outer parts of a visual scene aren’t processed in fine detail by the brain because perceptually, we think that our vision gives us a clear, accurate picture of everything that we see. This conflict between the incomplete image that falls on our eyes and the complete image that we think we see has perplexed vision scientists for decades. In fact, there are academic researchers who devote their lives to trying to understand how the brain constructs a complete visual scene out of incomplete information. They try to figure out how the brain fills in the gaps. 

This is a key point for marketers to consider because our bias in believing that the consumer’s vision provides an accurate representation of a scene leads us to make incorrect assumptions about the customer’s experience of the product. Simply, they don’t process your brand or product nearly as much as you think, so advertisements are often created using a model of consumer perception that’s inaccurate. 

What can marketers do to make sure that they evaluate their brand, products, and advertisements in a way that aligns with consumer perception:

  1. When reviewing advertising materials, present the information for a brief amount of time (e.g. one second) and determine if the key message still comes across. 
  2. Generate blurred versions of your advertisements to make sure key brand or category attributes can still be recognized. This ensures that this information can still reach consumers even when they are not fixating their eyes on the item. 
  3. View the product or advertisement in the same context where your consumers will see it. If consumers see the ad on TikTok, view the advertisement through a phone after swiping through a series of TikTok videos. This will help you truly evaluate if your social media post will stand out and get consumers to stop scrolling. 

Taking these considerations into account will help ensure that marketers evaluate their ads in a similar way that consumers evaluate their ads. Check out our upcoming webinar to learn more. 

At Intermark Group, we leverage psychology and neuroscience insights 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.