2010-01-02_2245The daily “gind” of life so fully stuffs our memories that it often takes a special effort to see bigger picture changes.  You just can’t get a clear “before and after” picture of things without taking mental snapshots at specific moments in time and comparing them.

But without some kind of associational prompt, most people won’t flip through their gallery of mental snapshots to make that B&A comparison.

Anniversaries are meaningful precisely because they provide that prompt; they make seeing the changes easy.

Nobody looks back on and reviews the last 12 months of their life in June.  They save that for New Year’s – unless of course there’s some other prompt that sparks the comparison, maybe a college professor seeing yet another class graduate.

Or maybe the prompt is more associational than temporal, like revisiting a certain place, say your home town, the house you grew up in, or even your college campus.  Inevitably, those returns bring back memories of your previous visits, thereby highlighting the changes that have taken place in your life (and in you) during the intervening years.

So what’s the practical application here?  Three things:

1) We love stories and messages that bring things back “full circle.”

This technique, in fact, seems to be a favorite over at J. Perterman.  Just check out the copy for these three items.  All of them bring you back full circle with the last line or two of copy.

2) Your copy should bring the reader forward in time to highlight accrued benefits.

Provide readers a mental image of themselves looking back on and being thrilled with their decision to buy because of the change/improvements/benefits they’ve reaped over the course X months.

3) You shouldn’t be leaving this time-stamping thing to chance.

If you offer a service that moves your clients from point A to point B over a period of time, you should figure out how to stamp these points into your clients memories and how to graciously remind them of the anniversary.  This will allow you to highlight the progress and change without chest thumping.

Same thing with durable goods.  Let’s say you make flip-flops so darn good that people fall in love with them.  Would it hurt you to send them a thank-you post-card or e-mail 6 months or so past the time of purchase?  Let ‘em know you appreciate their business, remind them of all the great features that they’re still enjoying but may have taken for granted by this time, show ‘em a picture of what a new pair looks like, and let ‘em know that now’s the time to buy next season’s pair at a special price. By sending that kind of e-mail, you’ll have reactivated everything the client loves about your flip-flops while also highlighting the not-newness of their current pair and the opportunity to update.

What about you?  How are you taking advantage of – or creating your own – anniversaries?

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