Our brain contains two types of memories: short-term memory (or working memory) and long-term memory. Short-term memory is where we remember something for a little while before either dismissing it or transferring it to our long-term memory. As marketers, we don’t want to only talk to people’s short-term memory because that would be a waste of our efforts. So before doing anything, it is important to understand each memory type and its behavior.

Short term memory can be trained using “Maintenance Rehearsal” which gets people to store information but is not effective because this information is not transferred into a person’s long-term memory. Long-term memory can be trained using ‘Elaborative Rehearsal’, which is an effective way to move information into the long-term memory. Elaborative Rehearsal involves thinking about the meaning of the information and connecting it to other information already stored in the memory. It goes much deeper than Maintenance Rehearsal.

A few important characteristics of long-term memory to help marketers to pass their message on to a potential customers’ long-term memory:

  • Related Information and Storytelling – Elaborative Rehearsal involves thinking about the meaning of the information and connecting it to other information already stored in the memory.
  • Visual long-term memory has a massive storage capacity for object details. (Standing, 1973)
  • Multi-channel and multi-device – Engaging with the material in more than one way encourage Elaborative Rehearsal.

Related information and Storytelling

“Google has a very data-led culture. However, we care just as much about the storytelling and the brand, and how we tell the world about our mission.” says Lorraine Twohill, Google’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing. This indicates that Google understands the value of passing information on to an individual’s long-term memory.

Emirates airlines’ cabin crew performed during a break in a game at Germany’s Volksparkstadion football stadium in Bahrenfeld, Hamburg, to create the awareness of flight safety in front of 60,000 people. This was a very effective way to communicate the brand to the long-term memory with something already in the mind, which is football.


Watch the video here: Link

Visuals – “A picture is worth a thousand words”

Several campaigns proved that image ads are more effective than text ads in most cases. However, use images wisely. An image relevant to something in the mind could be a powerful way to communicate a message, rather than a generic image.

ReapDigital Facts: Personalized image ads based on designations/company provided above average returns for  invested money. Personalization Case Study Here

Among the images, the human brain has a separate section to identify faces above all other objects, so the face is a very powerful instrument to use in marketing activities. (See Case Study)

Multi-device and multi-channel campaigns

Marketers get access to customers’ long-term memory by reaching them using multiple channels and multiple devices. This is not a new concept, but doing it right is not common. A proper nurturing process can communicate a message and get it into a person’s long-term memory.

ReapDigital Facts: Thanks to Google Analytics Cross Device Tracking, the team found that 90% of conversions through mobile campaigns happen on desktops. People click the ads on mobiles but complete the transaction on a desktop (a trend found across several clients).

So don’t waste your money on short-term memory, target their long-term memory and make every cent you spend count.

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