The BBC program, More Or Less: Behind The Stats, recently explored the commonly held belief that men think about sex every seven seconds.
What they discovered should surprise and delight you whether you are marketing to men or women; it seems both sexes have wandering minds.
Let’s firstly deal with the myth.
The figure of men thinking such thoughts every seven seconds is complete fiction.
Researchers on the BBC program reached out to academics who could find no source for the claim.
And as the statistically-based program is want to do, they calculated what that myth would mean in real terms if it were true.
Based on the assumption of typical men being awake 16 hours a day, if the myth were true that would mean thinking sexual thoughts 8,229 a day.
So we can see this is clearly a fabricated and unrealistic figure.
What the real number is
Instead, what they did do was chat with Terri Fisher, Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University who conducted her own study with a few hundred participants to test the myth.
The study involved university students aged 18-25 divided into three groups armed with golf score counters to tally how many times they thought of the following topics, respectively:
In the real study of young, active participants, the average number of times men thought sexual thoughts was 34, although the median (a more reliable statistical number that rounds off the extreme respondents) was about 19 times per day. The mean for women was 10 times per day.
Interestingly, Professor Fisher revealed that the numbers were similar albeit a little lower for Food and Sleep.
What this means for marketers
From a marketer’s perspective, it should delight you that most of us are thinking about sex, food or sleep every hour or two every day.
This means that if you can find a message that links your product or service to any of these three attention-grabbing triggers, you will have found the makings of a solution to this attention-deficit economy in which we live.
While sex has long been known to arouse attention, it is intriguing to realise that we obsess about food and sleep to a similar degree.
However, I’m not suggesting you suddenly market your goods and services by featuring a female/male model in PJs standing at the fridge.
What I am thinking is that titles of your blog posts or images on your website might touch on these topics as a way of grabbing attention.
If the human race is easily distracted by these topics, then it is our duty as marketers to consider how we might legitimately weave them into our marketing materials.
Perhaps a challenge this week might be to spend a few minutes thinking about how these topics might relate to your business or the solutions you offer the marketplace.
After all, you are going to be thinking about them anyway, we might as well channel those moments to your marketing advantage!