Monday, April 5, 2021

Theater of the Mind & Marketing

Common ground. It’s something we all search for in our lives. Whether it’s friendships, family work relationships, or something else, we’re all looking for ways to relate with one another. When Kate Bradley Chernis, CEO at LatelyAI, was on the Real Marketeracs Podcast, she let listeners in on her secret to connecting with people using theater of the mind.

What is Theater of the Mind? 

Kate is a radio-DJ turned marketer. She described theater of the mind as a technique popularized by radio hosts of delivering unique experiences for listeners using solely audio.

Let’s use an example to break this down a bit. How many times have you been disappointed by a movie’s adaptation of a book? For me, it’s too high to count. Movies often don’t live up to the world we had created in our heads. Without a visual representation of the characters, location, and more, we rely on our imagination and our past experiences to create the visual in our minds.

While the theater of the mind concept varies from my example, it uses the same concept. Radio hosts have the power to influence the theater of the mind by using specific auditory techniques.

Information Overload 

We’ve touched on this subject before on a previous episode of the Real Marketers podcast, but today’s consumers have access to an infinite amount of media. This also means consumers offload a ton of information to their digital devices. For example, if I’m at the store and have a hard time deciding which toothbrush to buy, I’ll resort to searching which brand has the highest rating on my phone. Maybe if there was a brand I remembered hearing about somewhere, I would have chosen that one.

Humans are able to hold onto echoic memories longer than visual memories. It’s part of the reason why you can still remember every lyric to your favorite song from high school. Think of the potential impact your marketing could have on consumers if it harnessed the power of echoic memory.

Marketing + Theater of the Mind 

During Kate’s interview, she described how she would use this technique on the radio. She would use either her voice or music to unlock nostalgic memories from listeners if she wanted them to discover something new. Pretty cool, right?

“My job was for me to play something unfamiliar, couch it inside something familiar, right, which is what sales is all about,” said Kate.

I’m not recommending every marketer reading this create a radio ad (although you should listen to how successful Spotify ads can be). What I am saying is marketers can take this idea of using something recognizable by consumers and turn it into a memorable campaign.

Marketers often feel like they have to come up with something completely new in order to capture consumers’ attention. But we’ve just proven that isn’t the case. If you want your marketing to resonate with consumers, find common ground. Utilize things that your audience would be familiar with.

If you’re interested in hearing more about theater of the mind from Kate, listen to her full Real Marketers episode here.