Imagine the following situation: Saturday night, you are at home watching House of Cards. The phone rings. A text message arrives. The chapter is about to reach a tipping point and you have to make a decision: to grab the phone or continue watching the series. The decision is made in a microsecond: the message can wait. Frank Underwood wins again.
Every time I’ve spoken to you, you’ve never spoken back, although given our mutual disdain, I can’t blame you for the silent treatment. Perhaps I’m speaking to the wrong audience. Can you hear me?
Media is evolving in such a way that it allows us to have more control over our time. Netflix premieres 13 episodes of a House of Cards season at once and, if we want, that same day, we can watch all episodes one after the other. We can download or stream any movie that piques our interest whenever we want. And this goes beyond cultural products. Even the communication between us has become asynchronous: WhatsApp, Facebook and other messaging apps, even the old SMS, allows us to choose when to respond back.
As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his 99U talk (Video): we have reached the point where a phone call is annoying and intrusive, because we are urged to leave what we are doing to answer now. This behavior is key for companies and the world of marketing in general.
Over time, marketing techniques have been emerging and evolving along with society. Every time a new medium appeared, a way to commercially exploit it was quickly found. Along with technology advances, these media have become increasingly sophisticated and its customization options are increasing. We are no longer far from what we often consider science fiction:
Google, Facebook and Apple, some of the most important companies in the development of communications and social interaction networks, have so much information about us that they don't even need to scan our pupils to know who we are or where we are. In a slightly more rudimentary way than in the video above, we are all labeled and classified, and this makes the customization of advertising messages and hyper segmentation feasible and effective. (If you are an Android user, try accessing Location History and see if Google has your locations stored).
Now, the question is: is this enough? We have the means that allow us to be more direct than ever, but... do our audiences listen to us? Getting to attract and retain people's attention is increasingly difficult.
What new strategies do we have today to get our audiences to listen to us? The answer, we believe, is to expand the model of advertising communication, putting the generation of emotional connection with our audiences in the foreground. This is what we talk about when we say engagement:
Instead of simply exposing consumers to a particular message, product, or service, engagement means creating an environment in which people are truly interacting with the brand, knowing the product, and integrating it into their personal and socio-relational schemes.
With such a selective audience in control of their time, brands need to start sharing experiences, and place themselves in spaces where they can find affinity with their consumers. We must put the effort into establishing genuine emotional bonds and this is achieved by providing real value, generating entertainment and positive emotions in people.
If someone has fun with us, he will pay attention and stop seeing us as the counterpart, the annoying one who just wants to sell something.
In a next publication we will show some examples of how this concept can be applied in concrete actions that stimulate consumers on an emotional level, impacting their minds and hearts more significantly.
Until then, if you are interested in delving a little deeper into the foundations of this new conceptual model, we recommend you reading The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind, one of the basic texts of neuromarketing, which presents an step by step analysis on the influence of the Human brain in decision making, applied to the world of advertising.