Advertising creatives are expected to go beyond conventional thinking to provide the most impactful creative possible. As a copywriter, my art partner and I regularly go through this exercise using the usual suspects to guide our ideas (strategic documents, traditional market research, branding guidelines, etc.). While we have operated successfully with this approach, cutting-edge neuroscience insights are available that can be leveraged to bring creative work to a whole new level.
Legendary -- and very quotable -- baseball coach Sparky Anderson summed up decades of behavioral science research into loss aversion precisely and pithily when he said "Losing hurts twice as bad as winning feels good". Loss aversion, as many of you will know, is a cornerstone of prospect theory, a groundbreaking idea that emerged from the pioneering work in behavioral economics of academics including psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.
As marketers we get obsessed with what's happening next. What technology is going to drive engagement over the next six months? What's going to win -- Periscope or Meerkat (that one seems to have been decided already)? What meme is going to blow up in pop culture and spawn a slew of imitators?
Mea culpa. The subtitle of my book The Business of Choice is Marketing to Consumers' Instincts so I may seem hypocritical bagging on the word consumer. But language is important, and is describing someone through the lens of consumption the best way to talk about the people we would like to choose whatever it is we are offering?
One of the things I stress in the book is that science is still at the beginning of its exploration of how the brain works, and that marketers should be at least a little wary of commercial claims based on neuroscience to have found the "buy button".
A number of years ago I wrote the following as my personal definition of marketing.
“Marketing is the creation, management, and measurement of programs designed to influence the choices you need people to make to meet your objectives.”