As a B2B marketer, I understand the importance of investing marketing dollars to stay top-of-mind, but I have never looked at this idea through a scientific lens before. So with this week’s blog I’d like to do just that, because the psychology behind our decision-making processes not only shows the necessity marketing has in today’s world, but can also give us information to incorporate into our actual marketing strategies.
In media studies, social and behavioral researchers have looked at a concept known as cognitive accessibility, and their research is applicable to B2B marketing, as well. In simple terms, in order to influence your customers’ buying behavior, they must remember you when it comes time to buy. In scientific terms, you must be cognitively accessible so your customer can retrieve the information associated with your product and, thus, make the decision to buy it.
To be cognitively accessible, you must always be top-of-mind and, thus, an “accessible” option; or, more aptly, if you don’t invest money in staying top-of-mind, you won’t be accessible, and customers won’t buy your product. This is why integrated marketing campaigns are so important, and why social media has become such a key marketing tool; it allows you to increase cognitive accessibility through many different avenues, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
Cognitive accessibility also supports the need for incorporating public relations into your marketing plan. In today’s fast-paced world, most of us use heuristics (or, cognitive shortcuts) to get through the day. Our process of judgment construction and decision-making is pretty automatic, and most of us will often make decisions without consciously thinking about where we got the information; if it’s cognitively accessible, we’ll use it.
So, to put this into B2B marketing terms, if you can get your product or service positively mentioned by a third party, it may further increase your customers’ chances of buying, because they will remember your product’s endorsement and make the decision to buy based upon that. Chances are, they probably won’t even think about where they got the information, they’ll just use it; of course, this is assuming you’re marketing enough to make your product or service cognitively accessible in the first place.
So, to recap, your customer will not remember to buy your product or service if it isn’t cognitively accessible. And, in order to be cognitively accessible, you must consistently engage customers through marketing because, in the end, if they don’t remember you, they won’t buy.