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Glazed Over: Consumer Comprehension and Memory Retention

WRITTEN by: Jennifer Davidson |
categories: Content Marketing

May 2014

ALL INSIGHTS

In September, I will acquire the 10th addition to my pool of nieces and nephews. I’ve watched each of them grow up from the time they were babies and did my best to spoil them equally. I also come from an enormous family where 50 attendees is a low to average participation for the holidays. Needless to say, my family keeps me busy. In addition to family and work, my free time is filled with activities and personal projects. This means with the hundreds of advertisements I see every day, I simply cannot invest my time in every company’s product. John C. Maxwell, author of Leadership 101 says, “More new information has been produced in the last 30 years than in the previous 5,000.”

It seems simple – in order for customers to be interested in spending money, first they must give you the time of day. This means understanding the product is key. Let’s say you do get a moment of their time – you need to be ready. Consumer comprehension is an art and can easily be lost in translation. Your ROI depends on the measurable results it returns, but HOW does one really comprehend this? To truly understand how comprehension works and why people are or aren’t becoming customers, we really need to take a look at our brains.

The Inner Workings of Our Brain

This is where things get a little nerdy. We see things in three stages of memory: immediate, short term and long term. With immediate memory, our retention lasts less than one second. The customer literally has no interest in your ad, and although you are counting the impressions, there is no return on your investment to acquire that impression.

Short-term memory is where it gets interesting and is lost after seven seconds. Your customer likely had the opportunity to see your pitch, but there was either no action item or they were disinterested. Action items are imperative, no matter the advertisement or website. Ask them to fill out a form, join you on Facebook, buy a product – just ask them to DO SOMETHING! If not, they will forget all about you in 30 seconds.

If you really have a pulse on your customer, you will increase your chances of being committed to their long-term memory. Long-term memory is what we all strive for and can last a lifetime. Your customer has decided to take a moment to look at or hear your pitch. They have further understood the message you are conveying and can relate to it. Finally! The customer has committed your product to memory. Success!! If you’re really good, you have stopped all 10 of my nieces and nephews and myself as we are walking into the zoo entrance.

What is the moral of the story you ask? Don’t waste your time creating ineffective ads if nobody will remember them. Our lives are so busy and we are inundated with information. That information literally doubles every year. Make your customer’s visual space count!

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