Marketing to the “Long Term Memory” – How to Not Waste Advertising Money

long term memory marketing 

Our brain contains two types of memories, which are short-term memory (or working memory) and long-term memory. Short-term memory is the short time we remember something before either dismissing it or transferring it to long-term memory. As marketers, we don’t want only to talk to short-term memory and waste our effort. Before everything, it is important to understand the memory type and its behavior.

Short term memory can be trained using “Maintenance rehearsal” which is a memory rehearsal that stores information into the short-term memory, but it is not an effective way store information into long-term memory. Long-term memory can be trained using Elaborative rehearsal, which is an effective way to transfer 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 help marketers to pass their message to 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. (Lorraine Twohill, Google’s senior vice president of global marketing). This indicates that Google understands the value of passing information to the long-term memory.

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


Elaborative rehearsal

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 a 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 return for the invested money. Personalization Case Study Here

Among the images, the human brain has a separate section to identify the faces above all other objects, so the face is a very powerful instrument to use in marketing activities. (Let’s discuss this in a separate article)

Multi-device and multi-channel campaigns

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

ReapDigital Facts: The team found that 90% of the conversion through (Thanks to Google Analytics Cross Device Tracking)  mobile campaigns happens using the desktop. People click the ads on mobiles but complete the transaction on a desktop. (Found across few clients.)

Don’t waste your money with short-term memory, hit the long-term memory with every cent you spend.



Niroshan Niroshan (25 Posts)

Interesting about web analytics,AB testing, Affiliate marketing and anything that generate traffic.

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