Fantastic Power of Associations and Triggers in Marketing

The best neuromarketing practices in action

Rick Mess       |       June 25, 2020

Our interaction with the world and with each other is based on our previous experience. The human brain, like a genius computer, stores and processes information received from childhood. In fact, we don’t forget anything, our brain simply compresses and archives information in its own way, making it unreadable to consciousness. We access this zip archive non-stop without realizing it. Everything is stored there, not only our own positive and negative experience but also someone else’s, if it touched us emotionally.

During contact with any objects and situations, the brain constantly requests data from the archive. It builds temporary connections of the type “request — information from the repository — reaction”. It’s like starting current supply to wires and turning it off. Everything happens instantly and automatically, and we aren’t aware of what is happening. These temporary connections are associations.

Associations in the marketing

Associations in the marketing are the wires in which the current of our desires flows. And the task of a professional marketing specialist is the ability to create and direct it.

How does it work? You come to the store and among the colorful pile of goods, you see a sweater. You have a lot of sweaters and absolutely don’t need another one, but for some reason, you are slowing your stride near this thing. The hand involuntarily reaches out to feel the softness of the wool. Before you could say knife, you are already at the checkout with a trophy in your hands. You have not even tried it before the purchase. What pushed you to this and why this particular sweater?

While a person is focused on the subject, their brain turns to the “databases” in high-speed mode, so quickly that we consciously register only a few signals. If you examine the process as in slow motion, you can find a whole bunch of positive associations. First, you saw a color — blue, the color of the sky and calm. It always suited you. Your eyes turn blue with such things. As a child, you had your favorite blue pullover. Wow, this one is just as fluffy! This is visible, but you need to check! (You touch it because you remember that once you bought a fluffy one, but it turned out to be itchy). The touch causes a dozen more associations: with a sense of warmth and coziness, calm, tenderness, pleasure. Your mother had a sweater with the same feel, and it was so nice to hug her. (Even if this moment was 20 years ago, the brain stores everything!) You saw such sweaters in the fashion magazine. Your friend has one! (you notice the brand) God, this is definitely a great sweater! They cannot have bad things … Oh no, this brand just looks like that famous one. Looks like it means good. (The brain does not analyze at this moment — you are under the influence of emotions).

After that, things get more interesting. You turn off associative thinking and turn on dissociative — you see yourself from the outside. Your imagination draws you in this sweater. You already have it. The picture is so good that the brain gives a cancel signal to the impulse to try on a product. What if this is the last one? Once, a thing was taken from under your nose, and it was insulting. Oh, there’s a discount too! What a pleasant surprise. You feel proud of your ability to manage money well. You have been praised for this recently. The sweater suits you, it’s pleasant, fashionable and stylish, it will raise your status and you need it urgently, without losing any time!

All this is just a small part of what flashed across your mind and what you barely realized. Associations have launched a positive visualization process. You mentally bought a product.

Emotions and logic

This example is not an example of a purchase made solely on emotions. It’s common for the brain to receive and process an emotional impulse first and then justify it logically. It finds justification for the speed of the purchase, and its necessity, and costs. The sweater is new, similar to a well-known brand, it will improve the image and will cost inexpensively. The brain rightly justifies the acquisition of a non-original brand with the economy and similarity factor. “Inexpensive and no worse than Roberto Cavalli.

When developing a product, you need to take care of its emotional impact and the logical need for acquisition. Depending on your target audience, the dosage of emotions and logic will be different. However, according to research, up to 95% of purchases are made emotionally (Gerald Zaltman, “How Customers Think”).

Why does this not always work?

It would seem that everything is very simple. The brain remembers positive emotions and requires them to be repeated. Then why can we pass by shelves with goods, glancing over them with an indifferent look and not buying anything?

The answer is simple — associations are too weak in too large amounts. This is a stream in which there is nothing to catch hold of. To desire a product, a sufficiently strong discharge of “emotional current” is needed. The impulse must be so strong that the buyer’s mind creates an image that combines themselves and the product, and mentally appropriates it to them. Bingo!

How to create an image that launches an associative flow?

Triggers — sparks in a sales ignition engine

Triggers provoke our emotional reactions and initiate a chain of associations. A trigger causes an almost uncontrolled desire to do something or launches vivid experiences. A trigger in marketing is an impetus to complete an action (order, purchase). Let’s take a closer look at the most effective ones.

10 most effective sales triggers

1. New — a magic word

Novelty makes the brain freeze in expectation of something unusual and beautiful. That is why long queues are lined up to buy a new version of phones and tablets, and car brands release new cars every year. The new version may be no better than the old one, but the queues don’t get smaller!

2. Greed trigger

This is an incentive that seduces the buyer with very favorable terms. It works flawlessly in retail, as well as in social networks and huge corporations.

3. Getting rid of “pain”

A person doesn’t buy a product, but a solution to their problems. It’s always worth remembering when doing sales.

The so-called “pain” of the client can be both material and emotional.

4. Maximally simple solution

We tend to save our strength by solving the problem. Every extra step leads to the loss of the client. The path to the purchase should be simple: came — saw — received.

5. Clear explanation

To describe the product, it’s better to use simple and understandable words. Whether you are addressing the customer’s emotions or their logic, everything should be clear and accessible.

6. Real-life stories

A seller trust trigger is pulled when a seller tells stories. This can be the life experience of the narrator or cases of clients. The human brain is always set to adopt the experience of predecessors. Other people’s stories evoke emotions, touch the heart, inspire, and stimulate to do something.

7. Happy possession

Better than happiness is only its anticipation. If a person visualizes what lies ahead, then they already live it in the present.

8. Social opinion

Human is a social being. People look at their surroundings and try to keep up. Triggers of social opinion can be formed in social networks, in various blogs, in the stories of celebrities, thanks to comments and reviews.

9. Connection of advertising and current events

The connection of product advertising with current events is a trigger. Whether it’s the news of flights to Mars or the coronavirus, the brain will automatically label the product “relevant” if its advertisement contains a reference to what is happening.

10. Limitations

People can buy products only from you and nowhere else. Your product is exclusive. Time or the amount of sales is limited. All restrictions work as triggers.

Instead of a conclusion

This knowledge from the field of neuromarketing is useful in many areas related to the promotion of goods and services. So, our Outcrowd team is engaged in the design and development of projects, and we, as UI/UX designers, also use the triggers to increase conversion rate. In design, triggers are attention-drawing accents and catchy emotions of the image, information triggers are used in the content. Whatever your tools of influence are, associations and their triggering mechanisms have always been and will be the best incentive for effective sales.