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Why marketers need to show not tell

3rd Dec 2015
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Why marketers need to show not tell

Every day we can expect to receive an average of 116 work emails, on top of 88 personal emails(1) and this issue of data overload in both work and personal lives is very real indeed.   How can brands – be they B2C or B2B - cut through this swathe of content and engage their audience?  Even when marketing is targeted correctly at the right audience, at the right time, as well as ensuring the content is engaging, how can you ensure the content is going to be absorbed and create a reaction that will ultimately convert to revenue?

The missing piece of the puzzle is to look at the way that consumers think and make decisions.   According to a study by Mindlab involving scanned brainwaves, when tasks were presented visually, rather than using traditional text-based formats, individuals used around 20 per cent less cognitive resources. This means their brains were working a lot less hard, they performed more efficiently and could remember more information when asked later.

Instagram’s growth is testament to this.   With a community of 400 million around the world, it’s now bigger than Twitter(2) and its success boils down to its platform allowing brands to share their personality through visual images and videos.  But what other options are there for the modern marketer?  

1.     Show not tell 

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and there are cost-effective tools to help marketers tailor their marketing strategies with more visual content.   For example, the Story Map is a digital platform that easily enables marketers to embed images, videos, interactive maps, animations, web pages and a call to action, making content much stickier, easier to understand, navigate and share.

2.     Captivate your audience

The impact of visual content and interactive maps has been proven by The Mirror Group.  Journalists on The Mirror took Esri UK’s interactive London Marathon map and used it in 20 separate news links about the marathon.  The result?  More than 350,000 people looked at the map, hugely increasing dwell time.  

3.      Connect

Vaseline recently used this method to create an interactive map showing the parts of the world that were receiving aid from the donations they received.   Vaseline was able to, through the use of imagery, provide a simple geographic layout of the aid that was sent, increasing the understanding and emotive impact of the campaign.

By showing, rather than telling through traditional text-based content, marketers can better inform their audience and enable them to interact and self-serve.  Creating sharable and easy-to-navigate content keeps users on the page for longer, increases their understanding of a subject area as well as making it more likely for them to absorb the call to action the brand is aiming for.   Add to that a reduction in ‘data overload’ stress, it’s a win/win all round.

(1) http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Email-Statistics-Report-2014-2018-Executive-Summary.pdf

(2) http://smallbiztrends.com/2015/09/instagram-is-bigger-than-twitter.html

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