Brain Science, Taylor Swift Make Case for a Marketing MixDecember 5, 2010
It is often easy to assume that new will always trump old. This is not a novel concept; in fact, it holds true in many situations. A recent study conducted by Millward Brown got us thinking: What are the scenarios where the above belief fails? What can we learn about the role of the old when new options emerge?
The study found differences in the brain’s response to physical media versus its virtual counterparts, using direct mail and digital messaging as stimulus for test subjects under brain scans. Among the findings:
- Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
- Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of messages.
This is not to say there aren’t great benefits to digital media (many of which will be explored in this blog), but it does give us some reason to think about the how advertising mediums can serve different needs.
Let’s use music as an example; the mp3 is currently THE format for music distribution. It is cheaper to produce, cheaper to distribute than CD or vinyl. For consumers, it is easier to store and infinitely more portable. Functionally, it is a “better” solution, but perhaps not completely. The emotional component, Millward Brown suggests, doesn’t necessarily translate.
This finding is reinforced by legions of die-hard vinyl record collectors. We have even heard as much recently from the young country music star Taylor Swift, who told Entertainment Weekly about her choice to release a vinyl version of her latest album:
“[It] is really important to me… I’m so in love with the concept of an album — a collection of memories from your life. It’s a piece of you. Buying them on vinyl is just taking that one step further.”
Clearly, Swift doesn’t discount the value of digital distribution (she sits atop the iTunes charts), but she acknowledges a different purpose for releasing the vinyl version – to document a moment in time with a keepsake.
For a small but not insignificant portion of Swift’s audience, vinyl cements that bond between audience and entertainer.
This is an important lesson for all businesses. Understanding how each product or message opportunity you have can function differently in your customer’s eyes can create results bigger than the sum of their parts. They may click your online coupon simply to take advantage of a good deal, but perhaps it’s their response to your catalog or a print ad that increases loyalty or encourages brand advocates.
Discovering the right mix to achieve that goal takes hard work, some expertise and a little bit of serendipity. Our team is working hard to find those proportions throughout our portfolio on behalf of businesses across Chicagoland.