I have a hypothesis that I tend to look at clocks when there is a pattern present. It always reads things like 11:11, 12:34, or 5:55. Happens all the time. I’ve told my wife this several times. And every time I do… she tells me I am crazy. Instead, she thinks I look at the clock all the time but only remember—or point out—the times that a pattern is present. This follows the same logic as people thinking they always chose the slowest line in the grocery store.
Neither of these things reflect reality. These are examples of perception bias.
If you think honestly—really honestly—about how many times you are in line (at the grocery, fast-food restaurant, gate at the ballpark and so on) and how often it actually takes longer than anyone around you, the percentage simply isn’t that great. (This hasn’t stopped people from thinking they’re overwhelmed by Murphy’s Law and writing pointers on how to avoid it.)
So I have another hypothesis now that I’ve seen the light: People don’t hate marketing. (It’s become en vogue to say people do, but it’s not true.) People think they hate marketing because they are more apt to remember—and complain about—the times they are interrupted by marketing and advertisements that they don’t want want to hear.
The interesting thing about that new hypothesis is that experiments to prove it have already been done. A lot of them. Because people continue to be influenced by marketing and advertising, spending money on the things that they need and want. Whether they saw it on TV, heard about it on the radio, were told about a product by a friend, or learned about a brand on Facebook, they were influenced and happily took action.
The marketing that people hate is usually disruptive for one of the following reasons: A. Marketing in the wrong place – it’s the right message interrupting the wrong audience; or B. Not knowing your audience – it’s the wrong message interrupting the right audience. In either case, the disruptive nature of the ad is conspicuous and triggers the perception bias/negative association with marketing.
(There’s also: C. It’s the right message in front of the right audience… but there’s some other folks seeing it who don’t care for it, too. Don’t worry so much about this one. This can never be completely eliminated, and collateral hate usually doesn’t become detrimental…even though some companies tend to think it might and they over-react quickly.)
The companies that best influence are also the ones who know their customers best. They’ve figured out that marketing and advertising in the places that target customers frequent, in a tone that is most appealing to those same customers, works. They’ve achieved success by monitoring, researching and testing cleverly crafted messages. Then they can get the right content in front of the right people at the right time. A pretty novel approach, huh?