What Is Pattern Interrupt, and How Can You Use It to Market Your Business?

The most difficult thing about marketing is getting people to pay attention to what you have to say. 

Whether you’re on a page of search results, on a social media feed, or even on a billboard, there is no guarantee that people will stop what they are doing for long enough to notice you, no matter how well-crafted your message might be.

People are creatures of habit. We go about our lives repeating the same routines, rarely noticing what’s happening around us unless something grabs our attention.

What is a pattern interrupt?

When our attention is pulled out of our everyday thoughts and routine, that’s a pattern interrupt. 

We might have a routine where we delete emails that we think are spam, scroll past posts on social media, or ignore signs and billboards. Those are the routines that you need to break if you’re going to successfully market your business.

The key way to interrupt a routine is to show something unexpected or quickly hook your potential customer with something they want or need.

Pattern interrupt techniques

There are a lot of ways that you can successfully use pattern interrupt in marketing. If you want to employ a pattern interrupt in the physical world, you can use lumpy mail. For example, you might send a potential customer a custom magic 8 ball featuring your company logo. 

People don’t typically receive unsolicited parcels, so straight away, they will be paying attention. Then the fact that what you’ve sent is a child’s toy will elicit nostalgic memories, creating a positive association for your company.

Some other ways that you can use pattern interrupt in sales are:

  • Warm leads. People are expecting cold callers, and most of the time, when they encounter one, they either hang up or mentally check out until they can politely get off the phone. If you want to interrupt this pattern, you can think about implementing a marketing strategy where you introduce yourself to the person ahead of the call. That way, instead of an unwanted sales pitch, it’s a valuable call from an acquaintance.
  • Offer value. If you’re offering valuable information upfront, then this is going to make your potential customer sit up and take notice. Before calling or emailing, do your research, make sure you understand exactly what your customer’s issue is and how your business can help. Then, open the call with this information. It takes a little extra effort, but it is much more likely to yield positive results.
  • The unexpected. When calling, emailing, or crafting a social media post, think about creating pattern interruptions by doing something unexpected. One of the best ways you can do this is humor. People don’t expect to laugh, and if you can be the one to make them, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

The key idea is that however you are trying to engage with your customer base, think about how you can make them sit up and take notice. What would you pay attention to as a consumer, and what would you scroll straight past? Thinking like this will help you to engage more effectively.