Overcoming Marketing Amnesia to Grow Your Brand

Overcoming Marketing Amnesia

Why Relevant and Memorable Content Marketing Always Wins

If you’ve visited my website recently, or have been following my company on social, chances are that you may have noticed that we recently changed our brand name from DBS Marketing to Big Purple Fish.

Chances are that you probably think I’m crazy, especially if you have ever renamed a brand or launched a new brand yourself before. When you think about all of the work involved in making a change that, like all of the forms that you have to submit to government agencies, all the brand assets that need to be reworked, and all the potential problems that it can cause to things like your SEO, you must think I’m crazy. So why did I do it?

If you’ve been keeping up with my newsletter, you may have noticed that I’ve been trying to explain why marketing is so hard and what you can do about it. Specifically, I’ve been sharing some rules of marketing that I’ve discovered in my almost 25 years of experience as a marketing professional that help explain what’s going on.

We’ve covered two rules so far that impact our marketing efforts, namely The 99% Rule and The Rule of Seven. If you missed out on these two foundational rules of marketing, I highly encourage you to check out my blog post entitled Why Marketing is So Hard.

In that post I break down why both of these rules are real killers when it comes to your digital marketing campaigns. That’s especially true for The Rule of Seven, which states that it takes an average of seven interactions to turn a prospect into a paying customer.

Well, there’s a third rule of marketing that amplifies the effects of The Rule of Seven, and makes our marketing campaigns even more likely to fail than not. I call it The Memento Rule, which is named after the movie starring Guy Pierce.

In that movie, the main character suffers from a rare condition that prevents him from forming any new memories. As a result, he’s continually forgetting everything that’s happening to him. Our prospects suffer from a similar condition when it comes to brands and brand messaging.

We are all bombarded every day with hundreds of marketing messages, many of which aren’t really very relevant to us. There are so many of these messages hitting us every day, in fact, that we find it difficult to process all this information efficiently.

All of this marketing noise triggers our brains to erect defenses to protect our cognitive functions. We ignore and forget these messages with startling efficiency, all the while not even being aware that we’re doing it. It’s a form of marketing amnesia that helps us focus our limited processing capabilities on the things that really matter.

So what’s a business owner or marketer to do when you live in a world of prospects suffering from marketing amnesia? In short, you have to strive to be relevant and memorable in your marketing.

Relevancy helps you get past the brain’s defenses. It’s a bit like finding a backdoor in a software program. Memorability ensures that once you get in, you’re able to stay in long enough to overcome The Rule of Seven.

Let me tie all this back to my company’s brand name change by sharing two stories with you.

About twelve months ago I was at an industry event where I had run out of business cards. I met a potential client there who asked me the name of my company, so I said “DBS Marketing.” It was loud and noisy at the event, so he couldn’t quite make out whether I was saying “DBS” or “BDS”, and eventually he just gave up.

We talked some more after that and then he asked me for my email address, so I said “[email protected]”. Again, he couldn’t quite make out what I was saying, so I wrote it down for him on a napkin. Fortunately for me, I asked for his card and permission to follow up with him after the event.

So, a couple of days later I called him. I could tell that he was having a hard time remembering who I was. I eventually jogged his memory and we had a great conversation after that, but marketing amnesia had already set in. I came very close to missing out on this opportunity.

Fast forward to just a month ago, after my company name change. I was at another event and had run out of business cards yet again, when I met another potential client. He asked me the name of my company, and I said “Big Purple Fish”.

This time, something different happened. A smile crossed his face. He said he liked my company’s name, and asked me what it meant. I told him that my agency is all about helping brands stand out and grow, just like a big purple fish stands out in an aquarium.

After some more conversation, he asked for my email address and I told him “[email protected]”. He never wrote it down, and a couple of days later I got an email from him asking me to meet with him.

I hope these stories help illustrate the impact that the The Memento Rule can have on your marketing, and what you can do about it. Yes, changing my company name was a lot of work. But by picking a name that was unique and memorable, and tying it to a story that was relevant to my audience, I was able to overcome the effects of marketing amnesia and stay connected to people who could really use my help.

So what are you doing to be relevant and memorable with your audience?

If the answer to this question is “not much,” then you need think long and hard about how you intend to overcome The Memento Rule.

There’s good news, though. You don’t have to go it alone. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. I’d love to help you grow your company by taking what I know about these rules of marketing and turning them to your advantage.


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