workflowyI enjoy marketing for a lot of reasons. But one of the main reasons is that it gives me an excuse to indulge an interest in psychology and physiology. Understanding how the brain processes information and why people behave the way they do is fundamental to producing a compelling message, whether you’re selling soap or campaigning for public office. And one of the most important elements in any successful campaign is making sure it’s memorable.

Seems obvious right? I mean people need to remember your message if they are going to be persuaded by it. But I think there’s a tendency to forget this when it comes to online marketing. It’s easy to be seduced by all the whiz-bang advances in technology and forget that the brain works the same way today that it did hundreds of thousands of years ago. The only difference is that now it has a tidal wave of information to sift through. So how do you make sure your message cuts through all the noise?

The first way is to use strong imagery (photos or video). The image and spatial processing in the brain is extremely powerful. The funnier, crazier, more unique the image, the more likely that it’s going to stick in someone’s head. It’s also more likely that the person will share it with someone else. So lay off the standard, stock photography and create something original.

The other way to make your marketing memorable is to wrap your message in a story. People are wired to remember stories, it’s how information was passed around before we got all fancy and started writing things down. Not convinced? Can you recite the dialogue word for word from a movie you’ve seen once? Probably not. But you can probably give a detailed summary of the plot, the characters, and sequence of events. That’s your brain’s inate memory capacity kicking in.

Now go forth and make your marketing memorable!

Bonus: If you have the time, I highly recommend this TED talk on memory and how the ancient Greeks used a visualization technique called a “memory palace” to memorize entire books.