Don’t be such a Post-It!

Two of the little things I’ve been working on lately are drinking more water and improving my posture. In order to help myself keep these goals top of mind, I used a very simple tactic: Post It Notes (real original, I know). I put one-word notes on my monitor to remind me to sit up straight and refill my water glass (or drink the one sitting on my desk, still full from 2 hours ago).

Post It NotesThe first day was remarkable; I corrected my posture at least a dozen times and drank 6 glasses of water. The next few days I still found myself correcting my posture and drinking more water. But by the end of the week, the impact started to fall off and by the second week, the notes had no effect whatsoever.
I finally realized the problem – my brain adapted to the presence of the notes and after a while just filtered them out and ignored the cues to work on my goals. It’s an unfortunate application of the power of the human brain. I became immune to my own surroundings, without even trying.

This whole experience got me thinking about the minds of consumers today. They work exactly the same way. We all know advertising is ubiquitous. We live in a world where target audiences of every shape and size ignore marketing and ad messages daily. I just never considered how easily consumers do so without even trying. Overexposure has caused the consumer brain to easily tune out even the most intrusive ads. The question is how do you ensure your marketing efforts aren’t just another post-it note that people can ignore? The answer is what it’s always been.

Step 1 – Understand your target audience in deep and impactful ways.
Step 2 – Be strategic. About what you say, how you say it, and where you say it.
Step 3 – Be creative. About what you say, how you say it, and where you say it.

I’m not expounding some new insight or wisdom here. This is nothing new, I know. But it’s worth taking a look at your strategy and making the necessary changes to get consumers to change their behavior. Then you’ll have consumers that will listen to your message (and maybe have better posture, too!).

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