Two Roads to A Consumers Message Digestion

By Kassandra Lopez, Global Strategic Communications graduate student at the University of Florida

As a working communications professional, understanding how people digest the information I send to them is crucial. The crafting of the message itself is key and components such as the credibility, research, and persuasive nature of the content are important. Other aspects of the message can influence the outcome. There are two main ways pathways that information can flow through and depending on which your receiver uses, the attitude with which the information is received will change.

These routes are as follows:

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  1. Peripheral Route — Free samples of fancy cheese are given. You enjoy the cheese, and although it is a bit pricey, you choose to purchase it. This is an act of reciprocation.
  2. Central Route — A professor tells his students about gravity and demonstrates it by thrown two objects of the same size, but different weights from a platform A teacher describes how a thermometer works, and demonstrates by placing it in hot and then cold water to show a change in temperature. This creates a strong argument for how it works.
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Knowing these two paths, and keeping them in mind. I can create messages for my particular consumer. Each kind of consumer will have a different set of wants and needs when evaluating a product for consumption. Depending on the product- I will have a different target audience, that presumably analyzes its worth and features differently. Based upon that target audience, I can decide whether to have my messages tailored to go through the central or peripheral path more easily.

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As shown to the side, certain routes appeal better to different products. If I was selling a compact car, I should praise it’s safety and fuel efficiency in my messages. On the other hand, if I am offering a sports car, I must focus on marketing its speed and overall sex appeal. Knowing the routes people take to arrive at decisions, is immensely useful when crafting communications messages. Even after taking though process into consideration, there are a host of other factors to consider as well. Such as the current mood the subject is in, and their vested interest in the subject. All the aspects of the receiver's condition and nature should be taken into account in order to create the best message.

First-gen Cuban and Argentine. Full-time Marketer. BA in Humanities/Cultural Traditions, Art History + Anthro. MA in Global Communications + Social Media