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Idea: How to Win the Marketing Brain Game

If you’ve ever watched the National Geographic show, “Brain Games,” you’ve probably been amazed at how often our brains work differently than we assume they do. The show reveals the expression, “My brain is playing a trick on me,” is more often true than we could ever imagine. Indeed, in one episode, magician David Copperfield explains that a deep understanding of such natural brain tricks is the key to a magician’s craft.

A marketer watching Brain Games may find the show unsettling, as it reveals how some things we believe are critical to communication have little to do with how people actually process our attempts to communicate with them.

For example, the show’s exploration of how the brain works in everyday situations makes it clear that trying to say or do too much when communicating with customers can often lead to an unwanted, unintended consequence.

Brains are amazing in what they can process, retain and connect. But even the smartest of people can’t process various streams of information and messages bombarding them from different directions. (Nearly 500,000 people are injured annually in wrecks caused by distracted drivers.)

Lesson for Marketers: Too often, marketers try to tell more and more about how great their products are. We jam more and more onto a web page. We produce a bigger and better infographic. We tweet constantly. We create PowerPoint presentations that begin with the big bang and work their way through to the theory of relativity. The predictable result is that we end up confusing the very people we are trying to reach. Great marketing comes from an understanding of how people process and retain information. Great marketing does not come from trying to say more.

Image: Thinkstock