Appealing to a Technological Consumer is Still Appealing to Human Nature
Technology is advancing much faster than the human psyche or our social structures, allowing for more efficient ways of doing things and possibly even insight into ourselves. In fact, one science fiction author, Douglas Adams, renowned for writing Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, proposes that understanding the way a machine computes information may be the key to understanding how the human mind works. What a leap forward for marketing that would be (not to mention, a leg up for baffled husbands on a lifelong journey to understand their wives, etc.).
As fascinating at the claim may be, psychologists have a fairly good understanding of the human psyche as it is, and this understanding plays a huge role in marketing. Even though we’ve got new gadgets to do things, the things we naturally want to do are still basically the same. According to the mid-20th century psychologist Abraham Maslow, humans operate under a hierarchy of needs, with the most essential needs like food, water, sleep, shelter and sex taking priority over the higher-tiered needs like morality, spontaneity and self-actualization.
Maslow created a pyramid to visualize his hierarchical structure, where satisfying the bottom tier allows for upward movement. Similarly, if there were to be a pyramid based on marketing principles, understanding ingrained human drives would be at the foundation. Marketing without understanding human drives would be like trying to catch a fish with an electric toothbrush – ineffective and silly.
So with that in mind, appealing to the same basic human instincts can be done in new and different ways with the latest technology and a little creativity.
Remember that humans are:
Of course, building upward from the bottom level of human understanding, marketing becomes more complex. Different demographics respond differently to certain messages, and there are so many different avenues of sending a message out into the world, as well as various ways to craft a self-image. In the digital world, the options become almost infinite. All these complex factors must be taken into account when designing a marketing strategy, all the details fine-tuned, while still paying attention to the simple basics of human desire. As technology advances, it is still essential to keep fundamental human principles in mind.
Especially important to creating an effective and appealing marketing message is changing the framework from asking, “what can benefit the company?” to “what can benefit the customer?” Answering the latter question will inevitably answer the first. And when offering creative options to our clients, IM/TMA takes on the same mindset. Rather than asking, “What is best for us?” we consider, “What is best for the client?”
Going forward with this framework, we think the best way to begin designing a creative strategy for a client is to take the menu approach. Much like a buffet line of creative entrees, IM/TMA may present 15 to 20 different ideas for starting a marketing campaign, and then using the feedback from the client, we tailor the approach accordingly. The goal is to understand the principal natures of the customer base, then craft a well-rounded and thoughtful message that will satisfy the needs of the customer, thereby creating success for the client.
What is most important to us is not gripping the reins so tightly we all start to steer off course, but rather, working intelligently and thoughtfully with the client, so they can give the customer what they want. In turn, when successful, we all win. And it all starts with understanding.
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