Why Reach Is More Important Than Explanation Of Benefits.

/ 3 min read


Marketers often spend a lot of time trying to focus their communications on key attributes of their product and explain to people the ways in which their product is better, to persuade them that it would be a more suitable choice than a competing product. As Byron Sharp already stated in his book Marketing: “They therefore very easily fall into the trap of seeing their job as trying to change buyers’ attitudes.”

Every day we encounter 3,000 to 5,000 commercials. According to research data, we page through 2 km of content per day. For practical purposes, this means that our thumbs easily swipe 10 km each week. That’s often more than we actually walk ourselves. At the same time, we know that advertising is a distorted message that is trying to sell us something. All of which leads to the fact that we have a significantly lower tendency to pay advertising the amount of attention that marketers might wish.


We live very active lives in which every day brings several dozen important, conscious decisions. According to scientists, this is compounded by approximately 23–35 thousand more mini-decisions that take place completely automatically; for example, what seat to take on the bus, what to wear, what to do first at work. It is clear that rather than at the scale of brands like Nike or Adidas, Bosch or Miele, we handle almost everything at the level of a given product category – for example: Do I need new shoes today?

Reach, don’t teach.

Traditional theories about advertising are based on the obsolete notion that we make decisions for the most part rationally, and we therefore have something of a perfect memory (see Looking To Sell? Stop Relying On The Funnel). Except that we simplify our decision-making process so that we notice only several regular brands. We often avoid the process of decision-making itself and select a brand we know or that we have ranked as one of our favorites. And when we have to make a decision, as Byron Sharp states, we proceed according to the following keys: We select the most expensive when we require high quality. We select the least expensive when we wish to save money. We choose something between the expensive and the inexpensive when we prioritize good value-for-money.

As marketers, we should therefore accept the fact that thinking about the brand is but a very small part of the decision-making process for the majority of our customers. Our advertising has, for the most part, weak persuasive power. The reason is that its role for the brand is different – to seize a speck of attention among a massive amount of brands.

The battle for purchase drivers.

Marketers often think about competing products that are functionally similar to their own. They seek out differentiators and emphasize them. And yet it would bring them much better results if they began to think about the situation as a duel over purchase drivers and built distinctive elements that increased the visibility of the brand on the market in their price range. The key to purchase drivers, that create in people an association with the distinguishing elements, for example, color, packaging, and shape of the product, are memorable connections associated with the brand.

It is memory that plays a key role in decision-making. It is a mistake to see advertising as a tool that should function predominantly via convincing arguments or creating feelings about the brand only. Advertising must function via recollections.

“If brand advertising can reach people, it will refresh and enhance structures in their memory and these will cause a customer to notice a brand on the shelf. This is critical for increasing the likelihood of a purchase.” Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow CZ edition.

Reach without memories is a waste of budget.

Brands grow above all by reaching more people, people who are polygamous towards brands. Brands share customers. In essence it is clear that the greater market share a brand obtains, the broader its customer base. Let us therefore do away with the notion that a brand is intended only, for example, for older people or women. Especially now, when we are ever more sensitive to gender equality, we should be asking as marketers whether it is correct, and whether there is any reason at all that a brand should be rejected by someone. That it is something that will undermine the position of the brand. Instead of this, focus on creating brand content of the type that remains with people for seconds, or even minutes or hours. Through this, we truly enhance their memory structure. These associations increase the probability that people will remember the brand, will more easily notice it, and will better tolerate additional advertising.

The current generation grew up surrounded by advertising. In television, in radio, in print, in digital. This saturation has brought marketers the result that nowadays, people easily screening out a number of advertisements. About 20% of TV viewers connect television advertisements with the correct brand, and only part of them remember the brand message. Therefore, the brand practically wastes most of its costs. From a budget of CZK 5 million, that is over CZK 4 million that ends up in the bin without the brand leaving any impression in people’s memory. Therefore, the new task is to circumvent their disregard and cause a minor emotional reaction in them oriented toward acceptance, which helps them decide: I will pay attention to this.

Memory is everything.

A person is motivated primarily by emotions, and these continue to contribute substantially to his attention, memory, and behavior. If we wish to influence the behavior of people, we have to work with their memories. The basic role of emotions in decision-making and processing information has already been proven. It is therefore necessary only to engage in smarter mass marketing.

Millenials now ignore retouched models, but Generation Z has perfected this. They refuse to be a target audience – they wish to be included, they wish to know the truth, the story of the brand and the people who stand behind it. Generation Z boycotts anything lacking a dose of reality. Why simply watch a match, when people nowadays want to be “between the ropes and experience it with them”, as the head of marketing at Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, aptly put it in one interview.

Instead of bombarding people with product benefits and complex entrenchment in surveys, we should endeavor for people to notice the brand at all. At the same time keep in our minds, that money expended on communication is thrown out the window if they remain unnoticed and unembedded in memory. It is a challenge to abandon well-worn paths and seek methods for refreshing the brand for people in a continually interesting manner.

„Boom lives experience marketing. The customer reality, personalized experiences, emotions, and an emphasis on sharing them with others – online and off – go hand and hand with digitization of society and the increasing influence of generations X, Y, and Z.” PR Konektor.

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