Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Let's get physical

Back in the day--as those of us who remember hair bands from the 80's like to say--I remember reading about Information Theory as outlined by Claude Shannon. One point that stuck out at the time was the 'Inverse Square' law. Basically this law says that a signal's intensity decreases in proportion to the square of the distance from its source. Extracting the math from this statement one might say, the farther away you are from the sender, the weaker the signal you receive. Ok, that appears to be consistent with the obvious, so what?

It seems that this mathematically provable physical law might also serve as an approximate description of the intensity of a marketing message's impact as it relates to a receiver's distance from the sending source. Come again?

For any message to rise above the background noise that surrounds each of us it needs to have a strength greater than the background noise...and there is a lot of noise in the marketing universe. How can we increase the intensity? We can certainly invest more energy against the broadcast frequency...and reach...of the message in traditional vehicles. Some people even continue turning up the volume on their messages in an effort to rise above the noise.

But perhaps we're looking through the wrong end of the telescope (to mix a metaphor). Maybe we can reduce the distance that a signal has to travel so that its strength isn't depleted by the journey. Mind you, I'm not talking about the physical distance, but the closeness of the relationship between the marketer--the sender--and the receiver. How do you reduce the distance? Here's three simplistic guiding statements:

1. Make the message human...noone has a close relationship with a corporation
2. Make the message local...people will think globally, but they most often act locally
3. Make the message personal...ask, listen, and respond...our differences are where we are most empassioned.

Or we can just try shouting louder.

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