Marketing Secrets: #1 Connect with Your Buyer. Be Human.By Burkey Belser
May 21, 2014
Research reported in Sunday’s The New York Times found that “adult subjects were more likely to choose Trix over competing brands if the rabbit was looking at them rather than away.” Cornell University researchers published this study on the “magnetic and mesmeric nature of eye contact” in the journal Environment and Behavior. Seven years ago, when we redesigned the U.S. site for the World Wildlife Fund, we reviewed similar research about the magnetic power of animals looking straight at you and deliberately incorporated that finding into our photo strategy.
So what’s it to you? You don’t sell cereal or promote saving wildlife. As marketers, your goal is to make a connection with your prospective buyer and cement the connection with your current client or member. We urge clients to “preview the relationship” and “humanize your offering.” The goal is to reduce the arm’s length distance that automatically exists between seller and the buyer before they meet you. After all, there’s no particular reason your prospect should care about your offerings. In fact, in our over communicated world, there is every motivation to ignore your pitch.
You probably cannot overuse people looking directly at the reader in your materials (Biography 101). But even that will get old if there’s no variation or creativity in the work. This research is a clue, not the answer. Here’s the answer: Engage the reader. You figure out how to do that; for example, create a portrait style that, hopefully, is uniquely yours. Additional research opens the door even further. Pawan Sinha’s paper from MIT tells us that only the eyes, nose and mouth are ultimately required for facial recognition. Thus, big-eyed Disney characters or Powerpuff Girls capture our attention and draw us in. We’re not asking you to create materials for the Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch but we are asking that you look at your communications thoughtfully…down to the last detail.