A recent University of San Diego study found that we are inundated with 105,000 words in a normal day. That’s a lot to handle. At the beginning of this year, I wrote about our reticular activating system (RAS). It’s basically a clever bundle of nerves at the bottom of our brains that filters out unimportant “noise” and helps us to focus on the important stuff. This is why a new mother might not be aware of the commercial playing on the television right in front of her but can hear the faintest cry from her baby in the upstairs bedroom.
Between the RAS and the fact that algorithms are written to show us more of the things we like and less of the things we don’t, it can be quite a challenge for marketers to reach more of their ideal customers. The odds are simply against them.
As a solution, we marketers buy ads and essentially pay money to platforms like Facebook, Google and Comcast to show our ideal customers more of our content that they might not normally see. But during the holidays, ad impressions go up by 50%… making it easy yet again to get lost in the noise. So, what’s a marketer to do?
First, don’t fall victim to the blanket strategy. Many companies see the holidays as a time to sell everything and make their margins for the year. The problems is, when you try to sell everything, you inevitably present a lot of different messages to the public. And we know that the public needs massive consistency and repetition if they are even going to have a chance at remembering your message. So, pick one or two things your customers love, and focus your messaging on those. The rest will follow.
Second, don’t target cold audiences. Instead, focus on building custom (warm) audiences with people who have touched your brand before. This could be in the form of website engagement, video views, social media profile engagement, or email list data.
Third, don’t panic. If you don’t see a lift from your messaging and ads right away, stay the course a little longer. In fact, I always tell clients that they need to leave an ad running for at least twenty-four hours after they start to feel uncomfortable (i.e. they start worrying that it’s not converting enough). Nine times out of ten they see a turnaround by staying the course. I think it’s Murphy’s law… and likely some last-minute holiday shoppers!
Good luck this holiday season. There’s a lot of competition out there, but you can beat them by staying calm and employing the winning strategies above.