- Wed, September 05 2007
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
There’s an old workshop trick I’ve seen a few times where a marketing expert takes three tennis balls and throws them at some poor soul in the audience. The person usually catches none. Then the expert throws one, and the same person catches it. The point? Bombard someone with three things and they can’t handle it. Stick to one thing - one message - and they are more likely to receive the missive.
Like this post, the trick is not original but it bears repetition, because we tend to forget it.
The most successful website home pages, brochures, ads, viral campaigns, etc. all HAVE ONLY ONE MESSAGE.
Remember: one message per communication. Say that message a couple of times and ways, but stick to it and it only.
The book Made to Stick makes this point and celebrates simplicity. Right on, Heath brothers.
Yesterday’s study in the Washington Post adds an interesting nuance by showing how repetition plays into message retention, according to researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a flier to combat myths about the flu vaccine. It recited various commonly held views and labeled them either “true” or “false.” Among those identified as false were statements such as “The side effects are worse than the flu” and “Only older people need flu vaccine.” When University of Michigan social psychologist Norbert Schwarz had volunteers read the CDC flier, however, he found that within 30 minutes, older people misremembered 28 percent of the false statements as true. Three days later, they remembered 40 percent of the myths as factual…
The research also highlights the disturbing reality that once an idea has been implanted in people’s minds, it can be difficult to dislodge. Denials inherently require repeating the bad information, which may be one reason they can paradoxically reinforce it. Indeed, repetition seems to be a key culprit. Things that are repeated often become more accessible in memory, and one of the brain’s subconscious rules of thumb is that easily recalled things are true.
DO NOT convey information that’s not key to your single message - or god forbid, that’s wrong or a “myth”. Keep focused on the single right message and people will be more likely to catch it - and recall it.