Present estimates place the earth around 4.5 billion years old, whereas the earliest human record goes back a mere 200,000 years. Our story, therefore, the story of humankind, begins much later in the action than most people realize.
Finding ourselves positioned between a very distant past and a future that, we can presume, extends indefinitely, scientists can only theorize about initial conditions. That is why all higher knowledge ultimately rests on a small number of self-evident propositions and observations. These form the springboard for both logical deduction and feats of great intuitive insight, bearing in mind that without the latter no new knowledge would ever be gained.
Take gravity, for example. Let go of the pencil you may be holding and it will most likely land on the floor — a fact that holds true any place on earth. Still, it took Newton in the 17th Century to quantitatively describe gravitational attraction, and not before Galileo demonstrated that a ball of wood and a canon-ball fall at the same rate of speed, which he was able to calculate precisely.
Now, follow me, if you will, as I take a leap into the world of consumer marketing — with no more preparation than what you would expect every high-school student to know — searching for what amounts to “gravity,” i.e. a self-evident fact. After all, if your marketing decisions are not based on similar truths, how can you expect your campaigns to succeed, any more than a rocket will fly?
The question is, where do we start? How do we begin to acquire some higher learning? And, what is the precise moment to examine? At the very instant the consumer clicks the buy button? Or, a few moments, or perhaps a few days before? In fact, why stop there? Perhaps the more profound answer is that, in some respects, we’re already wired that way from BIRTH?!
That a consumer simply purchased something is not nearly as helpful to developing effective communications as compared with understanding why. What needs are being met, material and psychological? And what were the initial conditions — meaning, the very mindset of the individual, insofar as it is possible to deduce it — that may have occasioned the buying event? Tracking these elusive questions takes us into the very heart of who we are as people, imploring us to examine our similarities as well as our differences.
If you are a CMO or data analyst, the next time you find yourself nestled in front of your computer with perhaps as many as 7-8,000 consumer variables at your disposal, you may want to consider — what is the fundamental truth upon which your brand and all your marketing efforts reside? Does it have the ring of truth? The force of gravity? Does it seem as natural as the air we breathe? Or, is it something you just pulled out of a hat with the hope that maybe, just maybe, it might work this time around?
Minds+Motives has been examining these very questions for nearly a decade, axiomatizing psychological realities for better targeting and customer-service applications. We invite you to learn more about how you can access our data for all your marketing initiatives.