Why You Need Marketing Content That Builds Certainty


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Some time ago, I published a post that explained why you need marketing content that specifically addresses the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that potential buyers inevitably experience as they move through the buying process. It’s equally important to have marketing content that’s specifically designed to foster certainty in the minds of potential buyers.

As I’m using the term, certainty refers to the subjective sense of confidence or conviction that one has about an attitude or belief. Recent research has revealed the important role that attitude certainty plays in buying decisions. A high level of certainty regarding the positive attributes of a proposed purchase will make potential buyers:

  • More likely to buy, more likely to buy sooner, and more willing to spend more
  • More likely to recommend going forward with a proposed purchase and more likely to recommend a product, service, or company to friends or colleagues
  • Less likely to change their attitudes or yield to persuasion
Attitude certainty is what causes potential buyers to be willing to act on their attitudes or beliefs. Research has also shown that feelings of certainty about an attitude are independent of the attitude itself. This means that certainty is a distinct, viable, and important target of influence for marketers. In other words, marketers should focus on creating the right attitudes in the minds of potential buyers and on increasing buyers’ feelings of certainty about those attitudes.
In a recent presentation, Dr. Zakary Tormala, an associate professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, identified six factors that drive increased feelings of certainty in the minds of potential buyers.
  • Complete information – Buyers feel more certain when they believe they have complete information about a proposed solution (or at least sufficient information to make a sound purchase decision).
  • Consistent information – Buyers feel more certain when the information they have regarding the benefits, costs, and risks of a proposed solution is consistent.
  • Consensus – Buyers feel more certain when they believe their attitudes or beliefs are widely shared. Consensus is a heuristic that makes us believe an attitude is correct.
  • Repetition – Buyers feel more certain about their attitudes when they express them repeatedly.
  • Ease – Buyers feel more certain of beliefs and attitudes that come to mind easily.
  • Defending an attitude – Buyers feel more certain about their attitudes after they defend those attitudes to others.
The first two factors listed above are obviously essential for both engendering the right attitudes and increasing attitude certainty. Of the remaining four factors, two are particularly important for marketers.

First, marketers should take every opportunity to emphasize that desirable attitudes and opinions are widely shared. So for example, you should use research data in your content to support your benefit claims whenever possible. Second, make desirable attitudes easy to understand and recall. Providing three compelling, easy-to-remember reasons to support a desired attitude can be more powerful than providing six reasons that will be more difficult to recall.

The role of attitude certainty in the buying process is a example of the continuing importance of human psychology in marketing. In future posts, I’ll be discussing other aspects of human psychology that marketers can use to make their marketing messages and content more effective.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Dodd
David Dodd is a B2B business and marketing strategist, author, and marketing content developer. He works with companies to develop and implement marketing strategies and programs that use compelling content to convert prospects into buyers.


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