The post is modified from an article originally published on Forbes.com. To read the original, click here.
Marketing is the fuel for today’s most successful businesses, and in a hyper-competitive marketplace, it has never been more important for your marketing creative to deliver consistent revenues and leads for your organization.
However, there is a hidden force that hurts your ability to develop this type of business-driving, award-winning creative, and unfortunately, this force is something none of us can hide from or run away from: time.
Bill Watterson, creator of "Calvin and Hobbes," once famously said, "There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
If you’re in the world of developing creative marketing strategies, you know moments of nothingness often inspire the best creative: work that moves people’s hearts and drives clients’ businesses. And this is even more challenging when you’re a business owner in charge of everything from sales to payroll.
However, that unrelenting force of time — more specifically, the need for speed in business — has all but eliminated these moments of nothingness in the creative development process. Speed in marketing has never been more important. However, most of us are not given the extra time needed to really develop creative ideas to their fullest.
I believe one solution to this could be using science (specifically behavioral psychology) to fully develop a creative strategy that can emotionally engage your customers quickly.
In my experience leading a behavioral research and design consultancy, I've found this science builds empathy among marketing teams by understanding people’s mindstates when interacting with your brand.
For those new to this, "mindstate" is a term I coined that explores the psychology behind people’s decisions; it is made up of their goals, motivations, and regulatory approach. When you design marketing creative based on somebody’s subconscious mindstate as they consider your brand, you can get people to listen, care and act.
Here’s how to use mindstate insights to strategically increase customer empathy while also increasing the speed of developing creative ideas and executions.
1. Understand the Decision-Making Environment
This first step should take you about three minutes. Place yourself in the mentality of your customer, and think about the exact moment they would be using your product or service. You can do this through consumer research or simply intuition if you have that experience.
Try to imagine your customer using your product, and answer these questions:
- What is happening in this moment? Who is there? Is there an order or a process that is playing out? What is the end of this process?
- When is this happening? What time of day, day of the week, and week of the year is your customer using your product? How can you use time to make this moment feel real in your future creative?
- Where is this happening? What makes this area unique? What should you focus on to make your marketing feel natural and authentic?
Let’s say your product is coffee. Your customer is making breakfast. Parents are in the kitchen getting cereal bowls out for the kids. It’s morning, so the sun is streaming in through the windows. There’s a pot of coffee being made, so the whole room smells like coffee.
Put yourself in whatever moment your customer is using your product or service. Live in it. You now have more authenticity to your future creative strategy because you’re imagining yourself in that exact moment.
2. Understand Your Customers' Mindstate
Once you’ve imagined the environment, take 10 minutes to answer these three questions:
- What is your customer’s goal for this moment, and why is it important? The answer to this question will tell you your target’s aspirations and how your brand can help them reach these aspirations. Ads or content that speak to their target’s aspirational selves are more likely to get noticed and break through the clutter.
- How does your customer feel when using your product or service? Do they feel safe? Successful? More in control? This answer will tell you the emotions to use in your creative strategy and provide the spark needed to develop copy and visuals fast.
- When they use your product or service, are they trying to prevent a bad experience from happening or trying to increase the chances of a good experience happening? The answer to this will help you frame the benefits your brand provides and construct the overall story underneath this execution.
If they want to avoid bad experiences, you’ll focus your creative strategy on showing how bad things can be avoided by using your brand's services today and tomorrow.
If they seek to increase the chances of something good happening, you’ll want to focus on how good things can happen today and tomorrow (you can and should talk about both time periods).
3. Put This Information to Work
On one wall in your office, place the answers to the questions listed above, whatever persona information you or your client uses, and the creative brief driving your decisions.
Now, you have everything you need to brainstorm and narrow your creative ideas fast. During this brainstorming, it's important to ensure you're connecting your customers' mindstates to your creative strategy.
In my experience, integrating the answers to the aforementioned questions into your normal creative brainstorms increases the number of creative ideas and brings them to mind very quickly, as the creative team truly empathizes with their customer in a brand-new way.
A Deep Understanding Is Key to Speed
For a creative person, speed is everything, especially when you’re working in short spurts of time between hectic calls with potential and current clients.
The good news is, all you need is 13 minutes to understand your customer’s environment and mindstate to set your creative direction is game-changing.
When you can truly empathize with the mindstate of your customer and the context of that moment in time, your ideas will flow faster. And that doesn’t just save you time. It saves you stress, lost sleep, and unnecessary frustration.
Another secret to creating new marketing strategies swiftly is the Mindstate Marketing Masterclass. If you market to the wrong mindstate, you could cost yourself time and money. The on-demand masterclass is an 8+ hour program that teaches you how to:
- Correctly identify your consumers’ mindstate
- Create marketing strategies around their mindstate
- Use behavioral science tricks to make the decision easier for them