4 tactics for combating marketing blindness

Viewers eyes stop registering images that are too frequently repeated. Try these tactics to get around your audience’s psychological shortcuts.

Do you remember the first billboard you saw on the way to work today? What about the second?

As another exercise, try to remember what cereal boxes are in your cupboard. Which cereal is on the left, which is on the right? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone.

We become blind to the things we see every day. Our eyes see things like billboards and cereal boxes and immediately (subconsciously) decide that we know about them already. Therefore, they aren’t worth our conscious attention anymore.

What does this say about your company’s marketing efforts?

Your website might have been super flashy and eye-grabbing the first time potential clients saw it, but what about the third or fourth—or twelfth time? If you can forget your favorite cereal, you can certainly forget a website.

(For those who are interested in a deeper dive on the topic, researchers have studied this phenomenon quite a bit. Psychologists have even given it a name —“Inattentional Blindness —and Scientific American posted a fascinating article about it.)

Take these steps to ensure your audience stops glossing over and your marketing starts landing once again:

1. Play with your website.

Of course, it’s not necessarily feasible to whip up a new website every month or two. However, the changes don’t need to be severe or complex. Even if you start with small changes, it can start adding up.

The main image on your homepage might have been unique or interesting a few months ago, or for first-time visitors to your site, but it no longer registers for repeat visitors. It’s time to change it up.

You could pick a new stock image each month and have your web team swap it out for you—better than nothing—but there’s an even better way. Get on board with a service like Optimizely’s Web Personalization product or BrightEdge’s BrightEdge Content product, which automatically change the display content on your landing page for repeat visitors to your site. These “smart content” providers do the work for you, making sure that your website stays fresh and arresting for repeat visitors.

2. Revisit your email template.

What changes do you make to your template each time you’re introducing yourself and your products to a journalist or potential client?

If the only change you make is the recipient’s name, you’re doing it wrong.

In fact, Cision’s 2018 State of the Media Report recently discovered that journalists have been itching for more personalization.

According to the report:

For the third year in a row, journalists ask that you to [sic] research them, understand who they are and what they cover before pitching them, ranking this their top request of PR pros.

Take an extra five minutes here and there to punch up your emails. Show the recipient that you’re human and that you realize they’re human, too. Prove to them that you’re interested in them—not just their money or their coverage.

  • Did you meet them at a tradeshow? Point out something specific that they told you. Show them you were listening.
  • Are you responding to an inquiry they sent through your site? Before replying, look up their organization first and identify a couple of things about what they do. Show them how their specific industry is a perfect fit for your service.
  • Have you researched their previous work and connections? Power up a search engine or visit their LinkedIn profile and do a bit of digging.

3. Use press releases to continue your story.

Your organization started with a story. Maybe it began with your founder’s lemonade stand, or a vision during your business ethics class in college.

Whatever it was, it’s a story.

In the time since your organization was founded, did your story stop? Of course not! Your story has been developing this entire time. So, keep telling your story.

Share with your clients, readers and the media how your story is staying fresh, even today. The best way to do that, unsurprisingly, is with a press release. According to the Cision’s 2018 State of the Media Report, the number one most trusted source for news is the press release.

Every press release is a new chance to show your audience how your story is changing. It’s a chance to make sure your audience doesn’t tune out.

4. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

You want to stay original and fresh—but this doesn’t require a whole new approach to marketing. These can be small changes: updating your website a bit more often (or using automation to do it for you), tailoring your message to your clients and the press (rather than giving them a generic template) and sending out a few more press releases.

These small changes can undo the inattentional blindness that’s been building around your brand, allowing you to start catching the eyes of your audience once again.

Aaron Searle is a PR Newswire senior customer content specialist. A version of this article originally ran on the Cision blog.

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