An Evolutionary Message

May 2, 2012 Chris Miller

The human brain has evolved to become very good at sifting through millions of visual impressions, movements, nuances and subtleties to quickly identify things it really needs “to think and care about”  – things that deserve a second look, even a second thought. Without this incredible ability, we’d be swamped by a sea of experience that would quickly threaten to drown us, and we’d probably miss the “call-to-action” for either our next meal or to avoid the danger lurking around the next bend.

This same evolutionary skill is brought to bear as we’re confronted with digital and print media inundating our inboxes, mail boxes, and computer screens. While it required a little tweaking, our brains have grown  accustomed to sifting mail (whichever flavour) and tossing those items that are clearly just more branches in a very large, noisy forest.  More often than not, those messages cast by the wayside are yours.

So, as a marketer and communicator, how do you get past the highly-evolved human filter for the seemingly irrelevant? The easy answer is to just “get relevant” – give the customer something “to think and care about” — to waken the impulse for a second look, a closer inspection.  Sounds pretty straightforward and easy, right? Unfortunately, if it were, we’d all be doing it.

Now, you could send a personalized letter (electronic or otherwise), using a pinch of personal detail beyond the first name to give it an hint of uniqueness, plus a dollop of some interesting call-to-action that makes the now-engrossed reader stand-up, take notice and do something. With enough practice,  you can probably knock out at least 50 of these letters a day before your carpal tunnel acts up. And if you only had a million customers in your database, 20,000 person days should do the trick, or cut that down to 200 days with your fresh team of 100 eager writers! Or you can just automate the whole process!

More on that later.

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