LMP on the Road:
Learning Subliminal Science at SXSW

A new blog series in which LMP team members share lessons learned on the road.


By Tori Stowers

When you need to make a choice, you string together a series of rational thoughts and information to make an informed decision, right? Wrong. And don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A whopping 95% of all decision making takes place subconsciously with our decision making process essentially on auto pilot in decision default mode. In our brains, we like to take shortcuts that save us time and energy, and therefore it’s a lot easier to make an emotional or gut decision than it is to debate and weight pros and cons and data to come to a decision based on rationale.


There are just a few of the findings and insights offered up by Nancy Harhut, Chief Creative Officer with the Wilde Agency, during the Next Generation Marketing with Neuroscience during SXSW.

As a consumer, this is a scary realization and as a marketer, this is terrifying. If consumers aren’t making rationale, carefully considered decisions taking into account all of the information we have laid out to them, this means we need to reach them at a deeper level to become part of their subconscious decision default.

There are three key actions brands need to take in the consumer’s decision path to make a real impact at a the subconscious level:

1. Get Noticed and Remembered
2. Get People to Act
3. Get People to Pay

Becoming Memorable

In today’s media landscape of daily streams of shocking content and images, and sensational headlines, getting noticed and remembered can be hard. To stand out and reach consumers, here are few tactics:

• Call attention to differences
• Surprise
• Tell a story
• Elicit emotion
• Add significance around objects

Marketers can use these strategies in the delivery of their message to make a huge impact on the consumer with immediate results. For example, by calling attention to an email just by using an emoji to illustrate a difference from other emails, open rates have seen lifts of up to 34%. Another example would be how an inexpensive item can be easily sold at a higher amount by adding content and a story around that item. In one study, an item was bought on Craigslist for $0.99 but resold for $95. This was done through the addition of content and story around the item detailing small intricacies, history, and potential uses.


Getting Consumers to Act

Once you are remembered and now in the consideration set of your customer’s subconscious, you’ll need to get them to act. This can be achieved by imploring a few key triggers:

• Availability urgency
• Predict likelihood of need
• Product scarcity
• Proper framing of product and offer
• Cognitive ease for consumer

For example, countdown clocks on products have shown 17% higher CTR for highlighting urgency and by simplifying user choice down to a single call to action vs. competing user paths. The upshot is that marketers have seen a 266% increase in leads.

Getting Consumers to Pay

Congratulations! Your consumer has chosen your product or service and is now ready to pay. Paying activates the same receptors as physical pain, so this is a crucial time for you to help ease the payment process for your user and feel good about the decision they are making. This can be done in a few ways:

• Anchoring pricing tiers from low to high
• Bundle items
• Reduce consumer buying friction
• Social proof

Users want to feel good about their purchase so offering them a comparison standard, a bundled package where they perceive they are getting more value, and even having available reviews from past customers to make the user feel more confident in their purchase can increase sales and conversion rates.

By reaching and influencing your consumers not only at a conscious but subconscious level, you’ll have more effective marketing and drive greater demand. Who says marketing isn’t a brain science now?

Posted on April 11, 2017 in Media, Subliminal Science, SXSW

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