I remember, years ago, a good friend of mine bought a new car. As she wasn’t particularly mechanically minded, one of the selling points was the color – a unique shade of orange that she liked to call “golden amber”. At least, she thought it was unique…
For months after she bought her new car, she saw the same (or very similar) colored vehicles everywhere. In addition to being heartbroken about her not-so-special purchase, she was very confused where all these other golden amber vehicles had suddenly come from. To this day, she remains convinced it was a Truman Show-style conspiracy.
Sadly, the reality is much less interesting. Those cars were always there; her purchase had simply made her more aware of them. This experience is actually common – it’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or frequency illusion.
Right now, you’re probably thinking ‘good story, but what’s it got to do with me?’
Marketing and the frequency illusion
Have you ever researched a potential purchase online, then had it pop up in your Facebook feed? This is most likely an example of a business using the frequency illusion in its marketing strategy.
The frequency illusion shows us that once potential customers are aware of a product or service, they are more receptive to future messaging about it. Accordingly, if you can identify potential customers who have previously interacted with your products/services/brand, and target them with follow up messaging, they are more likely to see – and respond – to it.
Many businesses are already practicing this approach, which is called remarketing (or retargeting).
How does a remarketing strategy work?
Remarketing capitalizes on the frequency illusion by building on a potential client’s awareness of products/services through follow up messaging and advertising. It also acknowledges that most customers do not purchase on their first contact with a business. In fact, they usually need to have several interactions before they ‘buy’.
A remarketing strategy generally involves three steps:
- Create initial awareness: For the frequency illusion to work, a customer needs to be aware of your products/services/brand.
- ‘Tag’ your potential customers: Once you get a customer to your website, you need to mark them, so that you can identify them later.
- Target your advertising: When you know who’s previously visited your website, you can develop messaging to bring them back – and, hopefully, get them to buy!
While there are many tools designed to help you develop and implement a remarketing strategy, I recommend Connect Retarget. Not only is it easy to use (even if you’re not tech-savvy!), it uses advanced behavioral analysis to target only your most engaged – and highest quality – potential customers.