Strategy and Marketing: Understanding the Customer’s Mind – Part 1

In my last post we discussed the basics of Strategy and why it is critical for organizations to get it right.

I had also mentioned that for a Marketer it is a game of perceptions – Customer perceptions. It is critical enough for me to repeat ‘Perception is the Reality’ So a good marketing professional has to understand how human mind’s work.

Human Minds are very selective

All of us today overloaded with information. Newspapers and assorted printed matter, TV, Internet, etc flood us daily with news, articles, advertisements etc that our mind has developed a very effective screening mechanism.

The mind focuses the senses (Eyes, ears etc) on information that it deems to be of interest to you. So if an information message is no relevance to you, it might not even be heard. You watched the India-SA cricket game last Saturday. So how many advertisements do you recall?

Lesson: Seen any newspaper ad for CAT coaching by T.I.M.E. or any other centre for that matter? The Headline is always CAT or MBA. So if you are thinking of an MBA or considering giving CAT, you would read the rest of the Ad. So if you have a headache you would notice the ad for aspirin that you would have ignored have you are healthy.

The Same rule applies for TV Ad’s too. If the first few seconds draw interest, the ad gets watched else – ZAP goes the remote.

The mind also allocates its limited memory space to various issues. We rarely remember more than 3-6 brands of any product category. Quick name all the brands of Television that you know. At the end of the article I will give you the list of brands that are active in the Indian market.

So you see how difficult your job as a Marketer is. You would need to do

  • Present your message as important news relevant to the customer
  • Compare and contrast your brand to existing well known brands
  • Use celebrities to draw attention and then give the message

Human Minds hate confusion

Well most human minds. You will always find one odd guy or girl who enjoys quantum mechanics and string theory but most if us seek simplicity.

Information overload tends to overwhelm us and tends to delay decision-making. What we call ‘Paralysis by Analysis’. Amitabh of course put its more elegantly ‘Itna mat soch, Jab soch gehree hoti hain to failse kamzor ho jate hain’

Think about it. HR executive’s want 1 page CV’s. CEO’s would like executive summaries. We all need information but we would like it to be simplified for us.

Lesson: Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS). Make your products easier to use, easier to understand. People want a product that they can switch it on and relax.

Want examples: Graphical User Interface or Windows made the PC usable by everyone. Imagine how many PC’s would be sold if people had to use say Unix (great Language by the way). Plug and Play devices have revolutionized the peripheral business. How many people are comfortable with installing drivers etc for peripherals like Printers, etc.

The More trap: Today Marketers are falling into the ‘More’ Trap. Adding features after features to products and then wondering why they failed. As experts in their own fields they are able to understand the features and expect that the customers would understand and want it. But the average customer is not an expert in that field. She doesn’t want to spend hours working out how to install and use the product. She has got office, Husband, Children, Shopping and various things to think of.

That shall be enough for today. The idea of course is to keep it short sweet and simple. Will be back with Part 2 where we will look at Human insecurity and Rational/Emotional decision-making and the folly of changing attitudes.

Yes, the Television Brands

Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Hitachi, Hair, ONIDA, Videocon, Philips,  etc etc

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Strategy and Marketing: Understanding the Customer’s Mind – Part 1
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2 thoughts on “Strategy and Marketing: Understanding the Customer’s Mind – Part 1

  1. Pingback: nostradamus predictions, how to read minds | The Predictions of Nostradamus

  2. Smriti

    I got samsung, lg, videocon,onida and philips. Onida devil played a major role in remembering onida, ppl buy onida these days? (genuinely asking, not rhetorical)


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