11 Irrefutable Marketing Truths
No one knows what the serious truths of human nature are, but I think in the field of human persuasion there are some statements that cannot be refuted.
These assumptions are based on books (mostly biography and nonfiction), online discussions, scientific research, and my own business experiences. I would like to keep this site a permanent, growing tool, so if you disagree or would like to submit something, please email me.
Irrefutable Truths of Marketing
1) Ethos (your perceived character) is the most important.
2) People make judgments by comparison/anchoring.
3) People process information best from stories.
4) People are foremost interested in things that affect them.
5) Breaking patterns gets attention.
6) People look to other people's decisions when making decisions.
7) People will believe things more easily that fit their pre-existent mindset. The converse is also true.
8) People handle one idea at a time best.
9) People want more choices, but are happier with fewer.
10) People decide first, then rationalize - If people are stuck with something, they will like it more over time.
11) Experience is memory, the last part of the experience is weighted heavily.
* There is an important caveat on these "truths". Here is what the head of a top marketing agency in NYC (speaking anonymously) had to say about it:
"I think that in broad strokes these truisms are accurate, but they aren't really how I personally get to the bottom of the marketing equation when working on a brand.
Of them, I think 1 and 4 are probably the closest, but I think the biggest problem is the same problem you find in how any analysis of consumers, or what is usually called "consumer behavior" is used -- it is, by definition, one step removed from what you're trying to analyze, yet it's treated like the consumers themselves.
Because consumers are often perceived as black boxes to marketers, there's a temptation to analyze their behavior and then market to that analysis instead of to them. Maybe this is because I'm on the creative side, but for me the most useful role of research is to inform and guide what is a form of empathy for our consumer. To not just analyze what drives them, but to genuinely feel it yourself.
Reading research about twelve-year-old girls' purchase decisions and focus group transcripts is not the same thing as thinking like one. I have a client in that market, and I read everything when I'm working on something -- research, web sites, fan magazines, television -- but none of it is a substitute for sitting in a dark room and genuinely trying to imagine the trials of what it must be like to actually be a twelve-year-old girl from a first person perspective.
It sounds absurd, but that's how you come up with great ideas -- to do your best to become a twelve-year-old girl, and then develop things that you would enjoy.
So I think truisms like yours are useful as long as they remain a means to an end, and not, as they so often do, a checklist, or worse, the end itself."