Rapid Fire Decision Making
I was in a marketing presentation recently and heard Clay Shirky’s observation, “The issue today is not information overload, it is filter failure.” The goal of marketing is to get visibility and be recognized by as many potential clients as possible. Not everyone is a potential client and it is important to make sure that a specific audience makes the correct association. Ultimately the goal is to link the way you solve problems and the problem you care most about to a decision maker who is thinking about the same problem so that your company and your solutions become top of mind. In our case, if a private school starts thinking about how to ensure the learning materials are inclusive and the #edtech is beyond bias, we are hoping @2ndAveLearning comes top of mind.
While I am the QA Manager at Second Avenue Learning, I am also a volunteer firefighter for my community. I really enjoyed seeing the connection between our marketing strategy and another important aspect of my life. In firefighting, and any other rapidly decision environment, there is something called Recognition Primed Decision Making (RPDM). In essence, this mental model roughly states that people can only make decision on what they remember from learned experiences. A situation that happens often or is trained for often is readily available in your memory and you can rapidly make an appropriate decision. Something where training is lacking or doesn’t happen often the person will struggle to make a decision or an appropriate decisions. Having a filter matters, having repeated messaging matters.
How would marketing relate specifically to RPDM? The goal of any campaign would not just be to build that one-off memory that they might remember (but probably won’t) but actually build a sustained campaign that reinforces those memories so that they surface to the top. If a company conducts a marketing campaign a year ago a client might not remember them well enough to have them be the first, or even third, option they think of. If the company instead builds a continuing brand then the company is essentially training the potential clients to think of the company whenever they have a problem or a need in their area of expertise. This kind of continuing education campaign is best accomplished with buy-in from multiple levels of the company (executive right down to the actual front line employees such as developers) and spanning a varied array of areas (traditional, social media, conference, portfolios, exhibits, etc.).
To summarize the important thing in both marketing and high stakes rapid-fire decision making is to make sure the relevant memory is what is used to guide a person to the desired outcome. Both marketing strategy and firefighting accomplish this by continuing frequent and relevant filtered exposure to the audience be they business prospects or life saving volunteers.
By the way, this weekend October 12th is Bushnell’s Basin Fire Department Open House. Wherever you are, please take some time to acknowledge fire fighters in your community. We appreciate your support.