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End on a High Note

October 15, 2008  

Whether customers come back and buy your product again may likely depend on whether they remember it fondly or not. So, how do you promote positive product memory? Well, research on consumers' memories for experiences (eg, listening to music, attending an event) shows that whether they remember an experience as good or bad is affected by three key aspects of that experience:

  1. What the final part of the experience was like.
  2. What came before it.
  3. How similar its parts were.

For example, if consumers are listening to a mix of songs that are relatively similar (eg, all love songs from the same artist), they remember their experience as more positive when the songs are ordered from least- to most–liked. In other words, a positive memory is affected by whether the trend became more positive or negative.

In contrast, if they are listening to a mix of songs that are quite different from one another (say, different artists), their memory for whether the experience was good or bad is affected purely by how much they liked only the last song played.

The marketing message here? When you introduce a product, make sure the promo ends on a high note. And if the subsets of the final customer outreach are similar to each other, try to ensure that the overall experience gets increasingly better, and peaks at the end.


The Po!nt: Focus on the positive. Try ending your next promo on a sure thing—the product's highest perceived value.

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