Associate Memories

Best Practices Slides-13

Associate memories, are new memory experiences that have become linked to existing memory. Connecting their existing positive memories to your marketing piece through association is a strategy that can be employed to strengthen and personalize your connection or relationship with a potential customer.

To use this strategy, you want to tap into the existing positive memories and tie them to your marketing pieces. If, for example, you’re a dentist and many of your customers associate fear with “seeing the dentist” you’ll want to counter that fear by tapping into positive memories and connecting the positive memories to you and your business or services.

To do that, you’d want to show how you can “calm their fears” with concrete, proven and credible examples.

Use a Headline


This card’s headline addresses the fear some kids may feel. The sub-headline teases that new technology will change that, the testimonial reconfirms this assertion and the offer give a low-cost way to find out how true your claim is.

There are many tactics that can be used to accomplish this strategy. A few are:

Use a proper name. Generally, everyone has a good memory of a “Michael” in their experiences. If you have a great testimonial from a “Michael” and you use it, you may be able to piggyback their good memory with a testimonial from a “Michael.”

Things which are new and unknown are more quickly accepted when related to the known and familiar.

Create Mental Images. The term “wiifm” (what’s in it for me?) is the key to connecting to your customers. Are your ads addressing the questions your potential customers are asking or are you talking about you?

“Do your ads touch the familiar in the lives of your customers? Do people relate to the things you say? Or are you merely answering questions of “who, what, when and where,” while failing to answer the pivotal question, “Why?”

Most ads are written under the assumption that the customer is asking, “Who are you? What is your product? When are you open and where are you located?” Unfortunately, the customer’s only real question is, “Why should I care?”

Your customer is saying, “Tell me a story that has me in it. Don’t tell me a story about you. What’s in it for me? Can you save me time, make me money, reduce stress in my life or cause people to think more highly of me? If not, then leave me alone. You’re wasting my time.”

Most ads are about the product or about the company that makes it. Such ads yield disappointing results. The best ads are about the customer and how the product will change her life.”*

What is your ad about? — *Roy H. Williams

Direct Mail Postcard Example

Tooth Fairy Optimized-02

1. This postcard uses testimonials that are reassuring and from someone with a familiar name. 2. This  postcard creates the mental image of a competent, experienced pediatric dentist with a lot of experience.

Associate memories queues: smell and color, taste and touch, sight and sound, opinion and mood.

For example. What mental images does the word “home” create in your mind? Can you create an associative memory with this word? or What pleasant past memories can you elicit when writing copy text for the ads you create?

On the above postcard the copy in the “Board-Certified Expert” section elicit trust and confidence and ease the mind that being “Board-Certified” is a desirable attribute. Just above this copy is the number of procedures preformed that further strengthens this Dr’s credibility.

Words used to enhance the piece are:
• kid expert
• love
• enjoyable
• convenient
• trained
• education commitments

“A visual image in the hand of an artist is merely a tool to trigger a mental image. The mental image is what we’re after. Whether speaking in the language of Shape, Color, Music, Symbol or Word, our goal is always to trigger a mental image.”

— Roy H. Williams


To learn a little more about how to strengthen your marketing piece using the strategy associate memory read Visual Images vs. Mental Images.13185648_f520



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