7 Mental Models for Marketers (and One Bonus)

Mental models help us understand the world.

They’re the ‘lenses’ we use to interpret reality… and the more of them you have access to, the better you can respond to complex problems and scenarios.

Billionaire investor Charlie Munger (who helped popularize model-centric thinking) said:

You can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts… If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head.

There are hundreds of mental models out there, most of them already well-enumerated by folks like Shane Parrish Gabriel Weinberg. So in this post, I want to focus on marketing-related concepts specifically – 7 models you’ll need if you want to become a master of persuasion.

Buyer’s Journey — “Buyers don’t want to be prospected, or demoed, or closed… Buyers are looking for additional information about your product that can’t be found online.”

Stages of Awareness — “Stages of awareness refer to the degree to which your prospect knows about their own pain points, general solutions, your product, and your product’s ability to solve their problem.”

Big Idea — “Write about one thing at a time. One good idea, clearly and convincingly presented, is better than a dozen so-so ideas strung together.”

Rule of One — “Each email you write has one goal, every element of your email has one job, and every email is written as to one person.” (Applies to all copy, not just emails)

Proof — “Don’t forget to include convincing proof. It will help you create compelling copy that brings in more registrations, opt-ins, and sales.”

One-to-One — “To write better, you must write for one person. When you write for your entire audience, you’re trying to be all things to all people…and that means you don’t end up making any connections at all.”

The ‘Greased Slide’ — “Each sentence is another step on a prospect’s journey to the end of your advertisement or marketing piece. As prospects get further into your text, momentum builds and it becomes easier to keep them interested.”

Bonus Model: Storification — “To make sense out of life, the story-making mind strings meaning-charged events through time, connecting and unifying them by cause and effect. At story’s end, meaning is not only understood rationally but also felt emotionally.” (A powerful model for understanding how storytelling creates an emotion)

Do you use any of these in your own marketing? How do you usually apply them? Leave a comment below and let me know. And if you have any suggestions for other good mental models, post those too.

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