It’s the Little Things that Connect with Consumers (All the, Small things…In Marketing)

January 9, 2020

LLT Group

Chances are, there’s a certain song that sparks some kind of emotion in you whenever you hear it. Maybe it’s a classic rock tune that reminds you of something crazy you did with your best friend in college, or a ballad you and your partner danced to on your wedding day.

Whatever the connection, it’s often some little thing about the song, like a guitar riff or a swooning chorus line, that makes it grab your attention. And while most would probably never give it much thought beyond someone having a personal tie to a song, it’s those same, kind of details that drives consumers to connect with your marketing campaigns and brand.

Yep. There’s a lot of marketing value in that old cliché, “appreciate the little things in life,” even in today’s crowded world of media.

The great 20th century psychologist and philosopher, William James, describes it as, “…the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what may seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. …It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others,” as noted in his book, “The Principles of Psychology,” published in 1890.

In layman terms, it all boils down to one fundamental idea in marketing – the more focus you put on making sure that the little things resonate with your audience, the more effective the campaign.

Be it a logo design, TV spot, voiceover or the simple timing of an ad, it’s the details, which often fall through the cracks, that really sets your message apart from all the others hoping to grab the attention of consumers. As the legendary basketball coach John Wooden once put it: “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” And much like a great sports team, that same kind of attention to detail is also important when creating and executing a winning marketing campaign.

Sure, in this new age of social media, we’re often led to believe that big, bold and loud is the best way to cut through the clutter. And while that might prove effective for some campaigns in the short term, winning more authentic and lasting connections with consumers requires a more detailed approach.

Think about that TV advertisement that you find really engaging or the radio spot that made you stop and really listen to the message. I’m almost certain that there was some subtle detail or touchpoint, which prompted you to take the time and pay attention to the ad. Maybe it was some cool, eye-catching color effect or something as simple as the tone of the narrator’s voice, that made the message resonate.

Then, again, it might be tough to recall exactly what made you connect with the ad. The little things that move us aren’t always as obvious as some moving lyrics in a song played on someone’s wedding day. In fact, one of the signs of a truly great ad is how seamlessly it integrates those important, little touchpoints into a marketing strategy, in a way that truly engages consumers. But rest assured, whenever an ad grabs and holds a person’s attention, there’s likely some well-thought-out detail busy at work.

After all, consumers are, first and foremost, human beings who are driven by a range of different feelings, ideas and emotions.  Simply thinking that they can be placed in a general box, built on numeric data and stats, ignores one of the most fundamental principles of marketing, namely, that the goal is to connect with people on an emotional level. It seems that many have been ignoring this important element in the chase for consumers’ attention, in this new age of high-tech media.

However, it’s important to remember that a shift to a new media platform doesn’t negate the fundamental principles of a good marketing strategy. And the first step in creating an effective advertising or branding campaign requires taking the time to really get to know your audience on a more intimate level. Is there a certain influencer, in particular, whom they tend to follow? Are they more likely to try a new sushi restaurant or a steak house when traveling abroad? Is there a certain song that seems to be popular in their social media network? Search out the little things that drive and motivate your target audience, beyond the space of particular product or service you’re marketing.

Of course, the vast difference in the types of demographics associated with marketing campaigns require different approaches to the small things. For example, a tagline with some sweeping serif font, as much time was given in creating it, might not be as important as a catchy tagline when marketing sneakers to teens. To the same extent, casting some popular house DJ in a TV spot won’t likely yield the same results when trying to establish a relationship with luxury automobile buyers, as it would in appealing to a group of millennials compact car buyers.

In short, simply taking a cookie cutter approach to the concept of details can prove to be just as counterproductive in marketing as not considering them at all. Seems simple enough, right? And yet, these types of mistakes are fairly common in marketing campaigns.  Why? Well, I suspect that, too often, the “big idea” of it all causes some to lose sight of the little things that really make a campaign unique. That is, until it’s already executed and someone on the team notices that there was something that they should have done differently.

Unfortunately, by then, it’s too late.  And, more often than not, any attempt to try to salvage the messaging or the campaign can wind up cluttering a company’s brand identity even more. 

So, remember, when aiming to connect with consumers in a way that will have a more lasting impact, pay close attention to the little things. It could mean the difference between an extremely successful campaign, or one that falls totally flat with your target audience.

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