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Updated: September 14, 2010 15:17 IST

From the old 4 Ps to people-centric 3 Ps

D. Murali
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Move from the old product-centric 4 Ps – viz. product, price, place, and promotion – to passion, purpose and personality, the people-centric 3 Ps, says Dan Hill in ‘About Face’ (www.vivagroupindia.com). Why? Because emotions rule decision making, he adds.

Whereas the twentieth-century marketing was largely about being ‘on-message’ (that is, about getting talking points consistently right), marketing in this century can be successful by being ‘on-emotion,’ assures Hill. And it is about ‘creating the right emotions for a particular person, at the right time, and in the right way to fit the positioning of a given offer (whether it be a product, service or experience).’

Sensory bandwidth

The first of the ten rules laid down by the book reads, ‘Get physical.’ Great advertising, the author describes as something that you see and hear, and perhaps also smell, taste, and feel, because the urgency of creating stopping power requires going beyond the common senses of sight and sound to invoking the other three senses when possible.

Another reason to engage people across the sensory bandwidth is that the new generation of consumers will reject being mere consumers, he cautions. “They want to be advertising’s co-producers, people who condone or dismiss the messaging of companies based on how it is shaped and experienced by them, in their own bodies, through their own senses.”

Among the pertinent research findings cited in the book are that there can be a 40 per cent improvement in people’s mood when exposed to pleasant fragrances; that people are willing to pay over $10 more for shoes displayed in a scented as opposed to unscented showroom; and that only 3 per cent of the companies that belong to the Fortune 1,000 have a distinct scent for their different brands.

Avoid ‘message-itis’

Keep it simple, instructs the second rule, since consumers who don’t get emotionally engaged by your advertising out of boredom, or frustration, represent a lost opportunity. One of the tips to keep things simple is to provide global information or the big picture (the forest) before giving local information (the trees).

Another tip is on editing video for TV spots, considering that the eye typically needs six frames, or one-fifth of a second, to move from one part of the visual field to another. “Edit the video more tightly than that and two bad things happen. First, the gaze of consumers won’t travel fast enough to shift from an image in one part of their visual field to another, causing the new image not to be noticed much if at all before the video moves on. Second, overly abrupt, tight editing – involving scene shifts that the viewer can’t follow easily – raises the frustration level.”

An important takeaway for those aspiring for simplicity is to avoid ‘message-itis,’ the undue emphasis on the offer. “Remember that the more we get told, the less we know, as the subconscious focuses on what’s most important and excludes the rest.”

Face value

Selecting the right faces and personalities for ads is crucial, advises Hill in one of the chapters. Based on eye-tracking results of tested TV spots, he reports that faces are on screen 70 per cent of the time, and that 76 per cent of all the gaze activity while they are on screen is focused on faces.

We focus on faces because they are so expressive, providing valuable information for anyone trying to read another person’s mood and intent, the author explains. “Second, impressions drawn from people’s facial expressions are often used to justify our opinions or new acquaintances. From ‘shifty’ looks, to ‘kind’ eyes or a ‘crooked’ smile, we don’t hesitate to make character judgments based on what we see in somebody’s face.”

An insightful discussion in the chapter is on how you can detect a true versus a social smile. True smiles emerge spontaneously from our intuitive limbic system and activate both the mouth and eye regions, notes Hill. The corners of the mouth rise, the cheeks rise, and there’s a host of subtle muscle activity around the orbit of the eye socket, he elaborates. “In contrast, ‘Have-a-nice-day’ smiles involve a pathway from the motor cortex, appear only around the mouth and can be consciously summoned at will. The lack of eye-muscle activity is why we say, ‘The eyes are the window to the soul,’ a place where faking it doesn’t come easily.”

Recommended addition to the professional marketers’ reading list.

**

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