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  • Writer's pictureRyan Gardiner

How Marketing Really Works! - Audience Insights

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

red neon sign with Mar and Ket on two separately lines repeated three times, spelling market
99.9% of Consumers see your brand for the first time and ignore it! And probably the second, third and fourth times too… That's the reality of how marketing works!

Why is this you may ask?

Answer: 99.9% of consumers don’t care about your brand! Or to quote the original lyrics from Jay-Z’s 99 Problems “I’ve got 99 problems but your brand ain’t one”!

So how does marketing really work then?

The simple answer to that, is three fold:

  1. A consumer ‘need’ or at the very least interest in your product or service needs to exist for a purchase to occur.

  2. Marketing’s job is to create a connection in the consumer’s mind between your brand and your product or service, so when the interest or need arises you’re the first business they think of.

  3. Recency is crucial to stay top of mind, consumer’s are overwhelmed by marketing messages, hint: it’s not 10,000! It will depend on an individual’s media consumption, but could be in excess of 1000, for anyone that wants to understand the statistically insignificant calculations scroll to the bottom.

So the formula for marketing is:

Formula for calculating purchase propensity. Need + Want divided by Awareness x Consideration (+recency) = purchase propensity

Want to go deeper…

Keep reading to get a deeper understand of how marketing works and I’ll explore how brands should think about these three areas and share a few tips and tricks on improving them.

Consumer Needs vs Wants: I could write a thesis on this, but for the sake of time I won’t. The key is understanding your target customer:

  1. Who are they?

  2. What’s their income level?

  3. Why do they purchase your product?

    1. (Utilise Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it’s not perfect, but it’s workable)

  4. When do they purchase your product and how frequently?

  5. How do they purchase your product?

  6. Where can you find these people?

    1. What is the need/ want level where you find them?

Key Tip: Use this picture of your target customer to draw conclusions for your marketing strategy and help define what your challenge is!

Creating connections in the mind of the consumer is where we need to remember: 99.9% of consumers don’t care about your brand! So the underlying primary objective in your marketing should always be:

  • EARN the attention of your target customer!

Key Tip: consider every marketing interaction as a value exchange, you’re getting their time, what are you giving them in exchange? Are you entertaining, are you educating, are you inspiring?

Who does this well?

  • Guinness - why? Entertaining stories, rich characters, “Good things come to those who wait”! Personal favourite: Guinness Surfer.

  • Ikea - why? Ikea wrote the playbook on engaging and entertaining product marketing! Personal favourites: Proudly 2nd Best (2023 DAVID Madrid), The Pee Ad (2017 Åkestam Holst) and Valentines Day 2013 (303 MullenLowe Perth)

  • John Lewis - why? A little personal bias? Probably… but what other brand is able to signal the start of Christmas? Personal favourite: Bear & the Hare, closely followed by Buster the Boxer

Staying Top of Mind

If you've got steps 1 & 2 nailed, it makes this step a little easier, but it doesn’t make it EASY… Especially when you consider the ‘maths' on competing ad-exposures per day!

Now we have to consider the economics of your business so you need to understand:

  1. Sales metrics

    1. Conversion rate

    2. Order value

    3. Transaction volume

  2. Traffic target to hit revenue target (based on sales metrics)

  3. Marketing activity longevity across paid, earned and owned - how long does your activity keep producing an effect for after the customer sees it?

Key Tip: it’s difficult to reach precise deterministic data, if you have it great, if you haven’t, approximate it and work on a test and learn basis. Consider how different channels work together for different types of objectives.

This data informs your marketing plan on multiple levels, financial and activity, it will also help you plan the resources you need to execute the plan.

If you’ve got steps 1 & 2 wrong… Say a little prayer, because staying top of mind is going to be, at best, expensive, at worst… Impossible!

Hopefully if you’ve got this far, the value exchange has been worthwhile! If it hasn’t and you have questions, feel free to message and ask for a refund 😀

This is how marketing works, so if you’d like help with your marketing feel free to message on LinkedIn or via the website.


Platform exposure

  • Instagram Feed: 10-12 per min

  • Instagram Stories: 2-6 per min

  • TV & Broadcaster VOD: ad mins per hour are between 7-12mins which could mean in excess of 14-24 ads per hour

So if a consumer spends:

  • 2 hours watching TV and VOD per day

  • One hour on Instagram

Consumers could see up to 588 ads, 91.8% of that would be on Instagram!

That’s without adding in OOH, radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines and other social platforms… So 1000+.doesn't seem particularly unrealistic.

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