Advertising is not a sledgehammer. It’s more like a light fog, a very light fog that envelops your prospects. In the communication jungle out there, the only hope to score big is to be selective, to concentrate on narrow targets, to practice segmentation. In a word, “positioning.” The mind, as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it.
In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience. Millions of dollars have been wasted trying to change minds with advertising. Once a mind is made up, it’s almost impossible to change it. Certainly not with a weak force like advertising. “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up.” That’s a way of life for most people.
The average person will sit still when being told something which he or she knows nothing about. (Which is why “news” is an effective advertising approach.) But the average person cannot tolerate being told he or she is wrong. Mind-changing is the road to advertising disaster.
— Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries, Jack Trout