I am still pretty consumed with thoughts of fleshing out simulation-based marketing, or perhaps it is more appropriate as ’simulation-based advertising.’ Of course part of the process in thinking out this area is to dig into research about what makes simulations effective for training.
Ever since I met Will Thalheimer of Work-Learning.com several years ago, and since then, following his blog and research, I knew he’d be a great person to turn to in thinking some of this out. Around the turn of the century (neat to be able to use that phrase, though of course I mean the 21st century), he identified five key aspects of simulations that make them particularly effective for practicing real-world skills: Context Alignment, Retrieval, Repetition, Feedback, and Spacing (apologies to Will if I misquoted any of these–I can’t seem to find the article on his web site).
In any event, I spoke briefly with Will recently and he felt that clearly Retrieval, Alignment, and possibly Repetition would be at play in these contexts. As in training, marketing and advertising activities have their own goals to achieve. We talked about the idea of coming up with a good diagram to illustrate the process, perhaps a funnel or maze (possibly with multiple entry points and multiple end points–I can see the relevance of David Scott Meerman’s “buyer personas” here).
Another interesting point he made was that for most any significant purchase, say over $100, people don’t decide to buy at once. Ideally, you want not only to recognize when those people to return, but also trigger the information you have already conveyed about the product.
In all, it is clear that many aspects of simulation-based training have parallels/counterparts in sim-based advertising (or marketing), but potentially at different priorities, due to the overall goal (skill transfer/building, for training, vs. awareness/sales/product research for marketing). Since simulation-based training has been explored much more fully, it would be wise to use that experience in hypothesizing potential parallels to advertising/marketing.