I just finished reading a fascinating book (text book, actually) called Multimedia Learning, 2nd edition by R.E. Mayer. The book details the latest academic research and insights into how we learn through a combination of words and pictures, including animations, videos, static images, etc. I can’t recall every reading a text book in university with such interest.
Dr. Mayer has identified “Twelve Principles of Multimedia Design” that have been proven to increase learning in students and I think they are highly applicable to the development of marketing content as well. When it comes down to it, a prospect is much like a student (with varying degrees of interest) and as marketers we’re trying to help them learn what they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision.
We often hear that “Less is More” and that’s an apt description of Mayer’s Coherence principle. It’s been scientifically proven that “people learn better when extraneous words, pictures and sounds are excluded rather than included”. I know I often find myself trying to put too much information into a particular image or animation concept when developing an interactive study and when I simplify it, the result is always more compelling.
As marketers, it’s our job to identify the key points of case study that are truly important to the prospect and make it as easy as possible for them to absorb those points. I think that's one of the most difficult aspects of our job. It's easy to create a long case study that includes both important and extraneous information. It's much harder to create a short case study that contains only the most important elements and is therefore much more valuable.I'll share more insights from Dr. Mayer's book in future blog posts.