When working with marketing, whatever its form (text, image, video, handouts, even door-to-door sales), it is widely known that, whenever you are developing the marketing campaign and its media, you have to keep in mind who is the target audience: their economic class, habits, tastes, preferences, vocabulary, knowledge, among other kinds of data.
However, looking at them from this point of view may make them look like a mass of mostly similar people, meaning one same marketing strategy is able to cater to all of them.
But that is not the case.
For quite some time now, psychologists have known that each person has a preferred learning style. Learning styles are different ways you can learn about something, and they are based on which sense is used to acquire the information. For example:
Visual learners prefer to learn through visual information.
Some will prefer to see diagrams, graphs, flowcharts, and such, along with the textual or auditory explanation, as a better way to follow what is being said or what is written. They will try to picture the explanation and imagine the product functioning.
Others have a preference for text. They will want a detailed explanation written down so they can analyze it thoroughly. They’ll also like story-driven marketing, as long as it is written down. They will probably take notes while going through specification sheets, manuals, and wordy handouts, as long as they are interested.
Auditory learners prefer to learn through auditory information.
As you can guess from the name, they like to listen to explanations, and will pay close attention to it. But not only that: they also really like to talk. If pitching a product to one of them in person, don’t be surprised when they strike up a conversation about your product, eager to learn more.
Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn through physical information.
The kinesthetic learner may be the harder one to please, as instead of paying attention to an explanation, visual or auditory, they’d much rather be learning as they go. They learn by doing, by touching, by trying something for themselves. They would very much like to mess with a prototype with their own hands or try your software’s trial instead of watching a one minute video.
Learning through your preferred learning style, however, does not mean that you will learn something quicker, it just means that you are more comfortable using it. That means people will prefer to obtain knowledge about something through that style even when it is not the one most suitable to what is being learned.
For example, it is very hard to learn theoretical physics through kinesthetic means, as it is theoretical. The person may become satisfied just by solving the equations related to the field, but may have trouble grasping the theory and logic behind them, as they can’t grasp the subject.
Leaving people to the comfort of their preferred learning style is not the recommended approach: it makes people not “exercise” the other styles, which leads to them having difficulty to learn new things through other means.
However, in Marketing, it is important to make the client feel comfortable and digest the content you are providing them in the easiest way possible. Which means that appealing to their preferred learning styles may make them more interested in what you are selling.
Leveraging Learning Styles
The people that constitute your target audience will each one have a preferred learning style. You can’t focus on just a single style, as this means risking losing attention of those that prefer the others. However, how is it possible to balance all learning styles in a way to engage the entirety of the audience?
Take the product into account
Sometimes you cannot escape from what is necessary to market your product. If you are selling clothes, footwear, accessories, a house, or anything that involves aesthetics, you are going to need images. If you are selling a movie or a video-game, you are going to need video. If you are selling a music album, you are going to need sound. And so on.
Each product has its own preferred “teaching style”, a consequence of decades of using that style to market it. Which means that some things are pretty much impossible to sell unless you adhere to it.
Just because there is a specific type of media that is necessary to market your product, it doesn’t mean it has to be the only media you should use. In fact, it shouldn’t.
Clothes and houses tend to be accompanied by descriptions: materials, characteristics, colors available, and such. When going to a clothing store, you can try them on. And you can visit the house or apartment you are looking to buy.
Every website that hosts a movie trailer also brings its synopsis along, and maybe some reviews. Every website selling a game describes its characteristics and features: gameplay style, category, a synopsis of the story, etc.
Music albums always have cover art, which define the “mood” of the album, and albums of the same genre tend to have similar art styles.
In Content Marketing
With Content Marketing, however, you want not only to advertise your product (or products), but also to create content that will engage your costumers and potential customers. As the target audience is varied in their learning styles, then so must your content marketing be varied.
Take advantage of the flexibility of social networks and of your website and also produce varied content:
- Short videos explaining something accompanied by a short textual description or summary;
- Blog posts with images interspacing paragraphs and providing diagrams and graphs;
- Narrated videos accompanied by a transcription or subtitles;
- Using images to call to the website, then showing a video accompanied by text;
- Among many other combinations.
But don’t limit yourself to a single combination: rotate among them, engaging different kinds of customers through each one.
Be creative and mix-and-match different “teaching styles”, so as to engage more people.
Keep track of the social networks’ and the website’s statistics to know what works and what doesn’t.
Just don’t be afraid to try new methods.
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