Over the past few months, I’ve been exploring the similarities and differences of trends and recommendations on major digital advertising platforms. I put together my insights in a blog post after co-presenting with YouTube in Singapore and did the same after presenting with Facebook in Tel Aviv.

I got many responses after writing these posts. One response that I heard pretty often, mostly from brands, was regarding the differences between platforms and what the marketing mix should be when taking into account the pros and cons of each platform.

Diversity is the essence of a good marketing mix

There are endless recommendations from marketers on the importance of diversifying, or including many channels in your marketing mix. Here are a few reasons that stood out to me:

  • To avoid dependency on any one platform
  • To reach a wider audience
  • To get access to varied data that each platform can provide
  • To reach consumers throughout their whole day

And although the above points are important and should be taken into consideration, there’s a psychological effect that makes marketing diversification even more crucial.

I learned about the ‘multiple source effect’ from Bohemian Rhapsody

A couple of months ago, the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out to theaters. I was in New York at the time and the name of the movie kept on coming up. First, a couple of my colleagues mentioned seeing it the previous night and loving it.

Then, my grandma told me she saw it and thought it was excellent, and a couple of days later, I was asked on a date to watch Bohemian Rhapsody, as my date heard it was great as well.

What happened when I heard that the movie was good from different sources is that I believed that the movie really was good, more than if I heard that the movie was good from only one source.

In psychology this is referred to as the ‘multiple source effect.’ The first people who researched this effect were Harkins and Petty in 1981. They demonstrated the multiple source effect by asking participants to watch three videotapes of one person arguing a point and three different people arguing the same point.

Later, participants were asked to rate the arguments and the study found that when participants viewed three speakers, this led to significantly more favourable attitudes.

This study opened the doors to many other studies on multiple sources, with 211 other studies citing this one today.

What this effect means to marketers.

There are many reasons why leaders in the marketing world recommend putting together a diverse marketing mix.

If the primary goal for brand marketers is to get their brand message across in the most effective way, what we learn from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” story and the psychological studies that explored this effect is that the more we diversify, the stronger the message will be.

Ultimately, when considering what your marketing mix should be:

  • Learn the pros and cons of each platform
  • Keep the multiple source effect in mind
  • Don’t limit yourself to one to two distribution channels
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