Our brain has 3 layers: the new brain, the middle brain and the old brain. The new brain is responsible for thinking, the middle brain is responsible for feeling and the old brain is responsible for decision making. The old brain is the most primitive part and is sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain because we share it with reptiles and other vertebrates. This primal brain is responsible for our survival and oversees feeding, fighting, fleeing and reproduction. It is also responsible for managing our habits and procedural memory which refers to activities we do on autopilot like brushing our teeth.
Neuromarketing is a fascinating subject and the CXL Institute covers this topic as part of their digital psychology and persuasion course. Our thinking and decision making is mainly influenced by the primitive part and can only be triggered by 6 stimuli. However, even though the 6 stimuli act as influencers, we all still have a choice whether to give into the primitive urges and desires or use our new brain, which is responsible for conscious thought to control them.
The old brain is only concerned with survival and is highly selfish. Caring only about self-preservation and meeting its own needs, when you create your marketing message, it needs to demonstrate that you care about your customer’s problems. It’s best to avoid words like “we” and “us” and rather refer to “you” and “yours” so that everything is centred on your customer.
Our old brain is triggered by drastic changes, also referred to as contrast. Without contrast, it struggles to decide. If you can show the before and after results, people will pay more attention to your products. I’ve seen this work extremely well with the SleekGeek Health Revolution brand. A brand that helps people to establish healthy eating and lifestyle habits so they can live a better life. If you join their Facebook group or visit their blog, a lot of their marketing uses the contrast stimuli to show how their members achieved unbelievable results with weight loss by posting before and after pictures of themselves.
Contrasting elements could be used in different ways. You could demonstrate how something is risky and then safe or how something can be done efficiently or slowly. Once you get your customer’s attention in this way it is usually a lot easier to get them to engage with you.
This stimulus refers to using terms that are easier to grasp to avoid the time and energy involved in thinking. Often the use of unfamiliar or complex terms interferes with comprehension and slows readers down. It does not impress the reader but only frustrates them. So, if you can in plain language explain to the reader what the benefit for them is, that is the best way. To be tangible, it is wise to use active voice instead of passive voice and to write shorter and simpler sentences. An example of a complex sentence can be something like this: You need to be very meticulous when modifying your source code. This can be changed to something simpler: You need to be careful when changing your source code.
- First and last
It is interesting how the old brain is triggered by a change in events. When something changes, it signals to the old brain that there is a potential danger, making it more alert at the beginning and end of an interaction. The implications of this are huge for digital marketing, especially for assets like marketing presentations or videos where a person must go through a series of slides or sections.
How your presentations or videos start and end is hugely important as that is the main thing which people will recall. For most of the content, if nothing much changes the brain will stop paying attention to it. The concept of novelty according to neuroscientists promotes the transmission of information. When putting together your marketing materials, ensure you have original or unusual surprises. This concept of novelty is an essential need of the mind and helps us to capture the attention of our users.
It is interesting to note how the brain quickly learns to ignore repetitive and predictive patterns and rather pays attention to things which are unusual or different.
The optical nerve carries the impulses formed by the retina at a tremendously fast pace. By having powerful images next to your text is a great way to get your message across. Describing services as opposed to products is particularly challenging to convey as they are not always tangible but you can display emotions that one could feel when experiencing a service or you could use metaphors and be creative. A picture is worth a thousand words.
This is an important part of triggering the old brain. Emotional stimuli reach the old brain. This especially works with socially responsible brands where strong feelings can be evoked to move the old brain to decision making mode. Vet and pet food brands use emotion to trigger a response by showing cute photos of puppies or dogs.
To be successful with increasing your selling probability, you need to first address your customer’s pain. Ensure you know what wording to use when describing the pain and if you are not sure, conduct a survey. For your customers to relate, you need to join the conversation in the language your customer understands.
After this, differentiate your value proposition. Remember that the old brain is wired to detect a contrast so make sure your service or product is original and unique. Lastly, it is good to show social proof or convincing evidence. Use reviews, case studies and above all, do not pat your own back – this is not believable.
Also, remember to have an attention-grabbing opener that presents your value upfront. Use jokes, rhetorical questions, interesting statements, contrasting opinions or represent facts in a bold and imaginative way. Always remember to make the message about the prospect as the old brain only cares about itself. Essentially all these stimuli could unlock the buy buttons in your customer’s brain.