Tricks of the Mind

If you understand what it is that makes us respond, you can use the knowledge to develop your marketing approach. Here are a few pointers:

Your brain has three main areas. The outer cortex is known as the ‘new brain’ and is where rational thought takes place. The middle part of your brain deals with your emotions. The inner brain or ‘old brain’, shared by all sentient beings, deals with non-conscious decisions, actions and reactions. The trick is to reach your prospects’ old brains and get that to make the buying decision for them.

The old brain deals with tangibles, not intangibles, so you need to use direct language and solid proof. Thus, corporate-speak phrases such as, ‘You really can’t fail with interactive relative matrix approaches’ just won’t work! You can find plenty of examples of corporate gobbledegook and obfuscation at the plain English Campaign website. Happily, they also show you how to write in plain English too. And for a bit of light relief (though it’s scarily like real life pomposity), you can even generate your own gobbledegook at the site.

Be a bit like a dart player: get into position, focus, aim, and throw true. Once you’ve diagnosed the pain, differentiated yourself from the rest, and demonstrated the gain (benefits) to your prospect, aim and deliver the rest of the message to the old brain. Before you send that message flying on its way to their old brain, make sure it fits as many of the following criteria as possible.

Your old brain responds to ‘pattern interrupts’; in fact, it scans for them. If there’s a change in pattern in your environment, it tells your body to respond before your conscious thought kicks in. Think how often you’ve shied away from an attacker that’s leaped out at you from the shadows, only to realise it was a bush waving in the breeze. But if it had been an attacker, you would have been speeding out of there even before your outer cortex started interfering with an, ‘Eh? What? Is it a bush or an attacker? What should I do next?’ So:

This means you can use contrast to get the attention.

Brains also respond to ‘me’, so get your prospects’ attention by using their names and/or saying ‘you’ and ‘your’.

Remember we mentioned the old brain picks up on tangible ideas, not nebulous concepts? This means you need to use phrases such as, ‘We can save you over £13,671 in tax this year’ rather than stuff like, ‘We provide a flexible solution to your tax requirements.’ Note that we used a specific sum as well: it sounds more convincing than a round sum like £13,000.

Therefore, grab people’s attention with a pattern interrupt. How might you do this?

Also be aware of when people listen most to your message – that is, the beginning and the end. So when you start your conversation or pitch, don’t waffle on with uninteresting and uninformative facts like when your business was founded. Get right in with the main message, which is how you can help them; how you can find a solution to their pain. As you wrap up what you’re saying, repeat your main message. By the way, anticipation increases attention. This is because dopamine levels are raised. Try to raise anticipation levels before you start talking, especially if you’re speaking at a seminar or similar. How might you do this?

Remember, the primary purpose of all marketing strategies is to deliver a message to the consumer. The message may be an attempt to sell a specific product, to promote a specific brand, or to introduce the consumer to a company with something to sell.

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