Magically Memorable Marketing Part II: Compare and Contrast

Here it is the second of a three part series on how to make your marketing message memorable to your audience until they meet their maker. It uses the same principles of teaching, and it encourages the audience to do the work.

We call these the “routines” of learning. By making someone engage one of their routines, you help them make the information their own. Also, the great thing about these routines is that they are very easy to activate in the subconscious, so if you have their attention (key!) they will easily be able to perk up and learn. The first routine of learning we looked at was “I see; I wonder.”

Today’s magical tool: Compare and contrast.

That might sound like kind of a letdown for some of you, but look how often compare and contrast is used in marketing. List of features between different plans? Compare and contrast. Your product do something better than another? Compare and contrast. You want someone to make a life change and sign up for your coaching services, but in order to do so they have to weigh two alternatives for their future life? compare and contrast.

Here is a quick example from the interwebs:


Compare and contrast is almost everywhere, but instead of shying away from it, we should engage it, using the exact same wording if part of body text, but more probing questions or quality visuals for headlines.

Compare and contrast is also useful for helping us understand completely different ways of thinking, of dressing, of living. In Marie Kondo’s book, The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up, she teaches us a new way of organizing and improving our life, simply by comparing her old with her new, looking at what her previous methods got her and what her current method gets her. She uses compare and contrast to accentuate the cost of doing nothing and also the benefits of following the KonMari method of organization. Guess what? I’m a total convert.

Compare and contrast is also part of our evolution, especially when we are constantly calculating our social standings or social hierarchy. This can be used very subtle. For example, there is a story about how a guy won a round of golf with Michael Jordan. The guy showed up wearing a pair of very nice golf cletes but Michael Jordan refused to play with him, because they weren’t Nike’s. He actually told the guy to go into the clubhouse and buy a pair of Nike’s, I can’t remember if he comped them or not. What that story illustrates is that Jordan knew if he were photographed with a guy wearing another brand of sneakers, then he would be creating confusion. The line of contrast between the best (Jordan and Nike) and everyone else would be blurred if Jordan were to appear on the green with someone else, even if he weren’t wearing them.

Compare and Contrast belongs in every part of your marketing, branding, sales letters, etc. It is enormously powerful because it activates the brain very, very quickly.



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