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The Marketing Equation

September 25, 20237 min read

The Marketing Equation

The crux of the marketing solution is to take out the mystery and ego driven creativity and adopt a systematic approach. The marketing equation is the backbone of all effective Marketing systems.

It has four parts: 

1.     Interrupt

2.     Engage

3.     Educate

4.     Offer 

Step 1: Interrupt:

 Prospects must be interrupted by hitting their hot buttons.

A few years ago, I was looking for a new truck to replace my old one. After doing some research, I settled on the brand and model in which I was interested. Once I made this decision, I was amazed at how many trucks like this were on the road. I was “interrupted” every time I saw one of these trucks. I saw them everywhere. Had the number of these types of trucks suddenly increased? Nope, they had now become part of what scientists call the Reticular Activator.  Knowing how to leverage this activator is what will make your marketing stand head and shoulders above all of the other noise in the marketplace.
Whenever your brain detects things that are familiar, unusual, or problematic, it sends a message to you and says, “Hey, wake up! There’s something you need to pay attention to here.” We call those familiar, unusual, or problematic things “activators.” Your brain acts like radar on a subconscious level, constantly looking for activators.

Interrupt is getting qualified prospects to pay attention to your marketing by hitting those things that are contained in their reticular activator. We call these things emotional hot buttons. You want to shake your prospects out of their daily routines and into alert mode where they are aware of what you are trying to communicate, notice your ad or marketing piece, and become open to suggestions and solution options. We're trying to capture their attention and compel them to keep paying attention. Understanding the reticular activator is what gets us past interrupt and on to engage.

 So, marketing’s first job is to interrupt prospects—to get them to “snap” out of it by finding out the things that resonate in the prospects’ reticular activators—to get prospects not just interrupted but also engaged—by not just finding any activator, but finding the right activator. Once the brain is activated, it wants to be engaged. So it immediately searches for additional clarifying information.

The person wants to know:

·         “What’s this all about?”

·         “How does this affect me?”

·         “Do I need to do anything about this?”

·         “How relevant and important is this to me?”

·         “Should I allocate any bandwidth to this?”


So the brain searches for additional facts. If it finds them, it will become engaged. We call these important and relevant issues hot buttons. An activator can only also be classified as a hot button if it is based on something that’s important, familiar, unusual, problematic, or relevant to the prospect. Your best bet to successfully interrupt and engage your target market is to identify your prospects’ problems, frustrations, and annoyances and address them in marketing. Find out where their pain is, identify that pain, and describe situations and scenarios that exemplify that pain. Put this information in your headlines and subheads, then let the prospect’s reticular activator take over from there. The results are inevitable. The things causing their pain are their hot buttons. Tap into problems they already have—there is no need to try to manufacture problems. Just point out those problems and bring them up on their active radar screens.

Use a headline or subhead that promises the readers they will get the information they need to make the best buying decision possible. An offer gives the prospect a way to become further educated about what you’re selling.

 Step 2: Engage

 If the activator is based on hot buttons, the prospect will be mentally prepared to become engaged.

At this point, crossing that gap from “ready to be engaged” to “actually engaged” is simple.

All you have to do is use a headline or subhead that promises the readers they will get the information they need to make the best buying decision possible. For example, the subhead 

The Small Business Guide to Paid Digital Marketing

 promises readers they will find information that will further facilitate their decision making if they keep reading. Once you interrupt prospects, you need to provide them with information that will help them make the best decision possible. You engage prospects by facilitating their decision making process.

 Step 3: Educate

 Now that you have interrupted and engaged your prospect, your job as marketer is to deliver relevant information—what the prospect needs to know to determine how to buy what you sell. After you interrupt and engage your prospects based on emotional hot buttons, you next provide information that helps them understand the problem. Then you prove why you can solve it. You do this by providing detailed, quantifiable, specific, inside-reality revealing information. 

This transforms an “emotional” sale to a “logical” sale.

 You’ve got to give your prospects enough quantified, specific, delineated information that they feel they understand the important and relevant issues. This understanding makes them feel in control of the decision and confident that they are making the best choice. The more you educate prospects on what they need to know, what to look for, and what to look out for, the more you’ll sell. Education is how you make your outside perception match your inside reality. To properly educate your prospects, you need to build a case that gives prospects and customers confidence that they would be a fool to do business with anyone else but you. You accomplish this by educating your prospects about what they need to know about buying what you sell. You teach them how to determine value—the buzzwords and benchmarks, along with specific, quantifiable evidence of value that your company, product, or service will provide them. Prove to them that you offer the best value available by defining the relevant issues, preparing a convincing argument, producing the evidence, and presenting your case in a compelling and convincing manner. This will build confidence with your prospects and bridge the confidence gap. You’re giving your prospect control of the buying process. This is one way to effectively separate yourself from your competition.

 Step 4: Offer

 Every marketing piece should contain a low-risk offer to encourage prospects to take the next step. The offer may be to receive additional information so you can further educate the prospect and build your case. A powerful offer can increase your response exponentially—all by itself!

The right offer allows you to capture a large percentage of all future buyers in addition to the now buyers. Prospects go through an educational process from the moment they begin thinking about buying your product or service to the point when they actually put down their hard earned cash.The Offer provide prospects a low-risk way to take the next step in the buying process. 

A report, brochure, webinar, audio, or video… etc facilitates those next steps and puts them in control of the final decision. 

This marketing equation is an easy way to prepare marketing that gets results. Marketing has to interrupt and engage the prospect, then educate and offer the prospect additional information to facilitate the decision-making process and lower the risk of taking the next step in the buying process.

At any given time there could be hundreds or thousands of prospects at various positions along the educational spectrum of buying what you sell. Most marketing and advertising efforts are focused only on those prospects that are ready to buy now. But, at any given moment, the number of prospects who are ready to buy right now represent no more than 5-10 percent of all those who are ultimately going to buy what you sell. Up to 95 percent of your prospects are in the “thinking-about-it” or “gathering-information” stage. Most marketing and marketing agencies don’t adequately provide these potential customers the information they need to make an informed buying decision.

Yes, there are many industries in which a BOGO or a 20% off coupon offer is appropriate. But, again, these are only for the “Now Buyers” If you want to maximize your marketing dollar, you have to provide value to the up to 95% of your target market that will buy your product or service once they have all the data they need to make an informed buying decision. If your marketing fails to include such offers, you’re not building a relationship with over 90 percent of your potential customers.

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