We’re told that first impressions count, but so does the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on.

Marketing is all about building relationships with an audience, so in this article, I’m going to break down the psychology in plain english and draw the dots between forming friendships in real life, and acquiring customers online.

The Mere Exposure Effect

Is a psychological phenomenon by which people develop a preference for things based on the mere fact that they are familiar with them.

Polish psychologist Robert Zajonic’s published a groundbreaking paper Attitudanal Effects of Mere Exposure in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1968. The paper describes a list of experiments whereby he showed participants a series of random images – Geometric shapes, faces, chinese characters – That were flashed in front of them so rapidly that they did not have enough time to comprehend what was being shown to them.

Later on, participants were asked which images they preferred.

They consistently chose the images which they were exposed to most – Even though they were unaware of it.

Therefore…

The more you see it, the more you like it

We know that people buy from who they trust, so they buy based on recency and frequency. We can see how the mere exposure effect plays a role in this…

Sales = Recency + Frequency

(This is important, remember this in a bit)

Making Friends

Enter: Jack Schafer, Ph.D., Former FBI Agent and author of The Like Switch

In Jack’s book, The Like Switch, he boils the process of making friends, to a simple formula, which looks very similar to the formula we talked about above…

Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity

Proximity = The distance between you and another individual and your exposure to that individual over time

Frequency = The number of contacts you have with a person

Duration = Length of time you spend with a person

Intensity = How strongly you’re able to satisfy another person’s psychological and/or physical needs through the use of verbal and non-verbal behaviours

We can now start to see some of the similarities between the variables in marketing and making friends…

VariableFriendshipMarketing
ProximityThe distance between you and another individual and your exposure to that individual over timeNull, unless you want to consider the fact that ads are never more than an arms length away (length between your eyes and your hand holding your phone)
FrequencyThe number of contacts you have with a personRetargeting ads to recapture traffic that doesn’t convert on the first impression
DurationLength of time you spend with a personConsider: Retargeting based on video length watched, time spent on website (fb pixel)
IntensityHow strongly you’re able to satisfy another person’s psychological and/or physical needs through the use of verbal and non-verbal behaviours Sales is about selling a solution to a need or want – Does this product satisfy a consumer demand or solve a problem they have.

Therefore…

Marketing funnels follows the same process as making friends.

Driving up recency and frequency so that our audience develops warm fuzzy feelings towards us sub-consciously.

 

Brandon Willington

brandon@thehybridminds.com