The Curious Case of Customer Recall: A Lesson From Ivan Pavlov

The Curious Case of Customer Recall: A Lesson From Ivan Pavlov

December 1, 2015 Branding Character Branding Content Giving Back Marketing Marketing Platforms Quick Marketing Tips 0

You might wonder what Ivan Pavlov, one of the most profound developmental psychologists in history, might have to do with advertising in today’s society. You may be surprised to learn that he can help small businesses out quite a bit and I’ll show you just that. To go with me on this journey, you have to open up your mind and think of advertising from the psychology of the consumer.


Repetition is the key to creating a response.

Old blue vintage retro style radio receiver isolated on white background

In Pavlov’s famous experiment on dogs, he created a pattern using a bell and the presence of food to achieve his desired outcome. This repetition taught the dog that every time it heard the bell, food was coming. This is much like our dogs at home, who become accustom to our schedules and can often tell when it is time for dinner. Advertising isn’t much different, especially relational based marketing.



Radio advertising is the best example of this. When you purchase radio spots, you are given the number if impressions or how many people are expected to hear your ads. You are also given the frequency, how often these ads will be heard. This is important because this is how you develop a consistent pattern, just like Pavlov. Enough of your target market has to hear the ad and at the right frequency for it to make the most impact.



When they need a product or service you offer, they should think of you!

This is what we refer to as customer recall. To achieve this, your pattern of delivery should be consistent. However, it’s not just about repetition, as we learned from Pavlov’s experiment, the message also needs to be solid and Handsome-Young-Man-Thinking-264x300consistent as well. Pavlov was consistent, so the dog new each time it heard the bell it was going to get food and be satisfied. The same is true for advertising messages.



You want your ads to be consistent and to paint a mental picture in your customer’s mind of what the outcome of your services or a relationship with your company would be. The more relational your ads are, the easier it is to do this. Over time, your audience will be exposed to your business through these ads. Using the right frequency and the right platform to reach your target market, your business can achieve the coveted mental real estate that leads to customer recall.



Customer recall is every business owner’s goal, even if they don’t realize it.

bullseyeEvery business owner wants their business to be the one that potential customers purchase from over their competition. However, in order for that to happen the customer must think of your business first or have a reason to choose your company over the others. How do you achieve this? Through impressions, specifically good ones! If a potential customer has a good impression of a business and they believe in the same things the business does, odds are they will choose to do business with them.

Advertising, as well as becoming active in the community, are great ways to give potential customers a good impression. Creating a relationship through customer bonding occurs through telling customers your business story. This can be through radio or tv ads, as well as many other marketing platforms. Telling what your business believes, what passions drive it and the dreams it was born on can truly create bonds with customers. Especially if they believe in the same things too. It also makes your business personable to potential customers. This allows them to make an emotional connection with your advertisements and business. So when they do need your product or service, they think of your company and they know exactly what to expect based on the ads and impressions you have given them.


This is one of the best ways to build trust with your potential customers and truly create a lasting relationship. Customer recall is vital to long term marketing success, especially for companies with longer purchase cycles. If your business is interested in how to achieve more efficient customer recall, please feel free to contact us.