by Tony Vidler
Ever wondered why infomercials or news broadcasts come up with lines like this:
“XYZ Corporation closed its doors on customers today leaving 10,000 without the products they had paid for already…more on that shortly.”
The “more on that shortly” part creates intrigue of course….but the reason why TV stations do this is because you feel compelled to watch the other stories while you wait for the finish to the XYZ Corporation story. It is called the Zeigarnik Effect. It is the power of interruption to create intrigue and a more memorable message. Or in their case, to get you to watch other far less interesting stories while you wait for the interesting story to finish.
We like closure. We like stories to finish. We want them completed.
That is a powerful concept to apply to marketing.
People want stories to be completed…and will read or listen or watch other things while waiting for it.
In presentations this is particularly useful as you can begin a story around your key point and get people intrigued, then introduce a divergence. By introducing the interruption and heightening the intrigue about the key story it makes your main point far more memorable, and more likely to be actioned.
A simple example would be discussing a new investment strategy perhaps. Begin outlining the strategy and explaining how people have benefitted from it, but before getting to the specific numbers on returns divert onto a brief discussion about tax planning. The client is wanting to find out more about the investment strategy – and the interruption of that story makes it the more memorable part of the entire conversation. It is the thing they are most likely to remember and focus upon.
So whatever your main recommendation or story is for customers begin explaining it and create intrigue and curiosity. Then briefly divert onto a related but far less interesting area before coming back to the main point. Customers are far more likely to remember it and reflect upon it.