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Neuromarketing Demystified: Insights That May Surprise You


neuromarketingWhat happens when you take a panel of experts and ask them to demystify neuromarketing?

Answer: you get some fabulous content and some insights that may surprise you. Listen to the recorded session here, enjoy these highlights, and consider the implications to your marketing strategy.

From: Demystifying Neuromarketing via on March 7, 2012 #FocusNeuro
Reference: Definitions Neuromarketing Basics

  • Have you ever heard an ad agency or designer say "Trust me-I know what works" and feel less than comfortable? Neuromarketing can take you from the discomfort of "trust me" to the confidence of "here's what works and why."
  • Do you believe that you can optimize your decisions by using rational data? That was Descartes' belief. But in the book Descartes' Error we learn that we are not thinking machines that feel. We are feeling machines that think once in a while.
  • There are different models of how the brain works. In the 3-brain model we learn that our oldest brain, sometimes called the reptilian brain because we share it with reptiles, operates below the conscious level and is driving our lives and and decisions.
  • Neuromarketing won't replace traditional research like surveys and focus groups, but it definitely will complement and enhance research. The reason why? People don't know what they want. Even if they knew, we don't ask the right questions anyway.
  • Neuromarketing is a window into our own minds, helping us to understand how we make decisions and choose our realities. This helps us get closer to the minds of our customers.

Mentioned resources:

Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain by Antonio R. Damasio
How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market by Gerald  Zaltman
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
Neuromarketing: Understanding the "Buy Button" in Your Customer's Brain by Renvoise and Morin


Patrick Renvoise, Chief Neuromarketing Officer and Co-Founder, SalesBrain, and co-author with Christophe Morin of Neuromarketing: Understanding the "Buy Button" in Your Customer's Brain.
Brian Krausz, President of GazeHawk, a provider of webcam eye tracking services. GazeHawk's proprietary eye tracking technology allows you to see how visitors view your webpage, advertisement, or image.
Sara Misell, Director at Whitematter Marketing Ltd, a strategic neuromarketing agency.


Do you want to have neuromarketing demystified? Follow the link, above.

Is Your Marketing Caught In The Stare Of The Snake?


stare of the snakeIs your marketing in a rut? Are you doing the same thing the same way without any improvement? Are you jumping at every new social media option? Are you writing more content just for the sake of more content?

If so, then your marketing may be caught in the stare of the snake.


The stare of the snake is an hypnotic trance, a Svengali-like grip that has you in thrall to some evil power, often called habit, routine, and "not enough time." You feel helpless and defenseless as your ability to resist flows out of you, causing you to waste time and resources.


  1. Constantly test your activity against your marketing objectives. At the least, each objective should be focused on sales, customers, or brand image. Are your efforts contributing to one of these? If not, the snake has you marked.
  2. Ensure that your marketing strategies are aligned with other departments, like sales, operations, and production. Check internal communication for signs of uncoordinated efforts. The snake likes to divide and conquer.
  3. Measure specific marketing tactics to determine if they are being efficient. Compare results to alternatives, goals, and trends. For example, not every social media option is equally effective; focus on the most productive ones. If you're not quick on your feet to find the best marketing tactics, how can you avoid the snake?
  4. Build-in an escape mechanism. Yearly, examine strategies. Quarterly compare results with activities. Monthly ensure that you are not doing social media on autopilot, for example. Anytime- give permission to your team to call a time out and ask, "Are we in the stare of the snake?"

More ways to break the stare of the snake:

Photo Credit: Flickr Matteo Catanese

The expression "stare of the snake" was taken from the book "The Life God Blesses: Weathering the Storms of Life That Threaten the Soul by Gordon MacDonald

Sales Strategy And Neuromarketing: How Customers REALLY See You


sales strategy selling to reptilian brainHow effective is your sales strategy? How do your customers REALLY see you? Do they see a trusted professional who has their interests in mind? Or do they see you as someone who wants to make a meal out of them and who looks like the guy on the right.

Selling effectively is all about selling to your customer's reptilian brain-it's the brain that makes decisions.

First, your customer's reptilian brain has to see you as a non-threat (the survival instinct). Second, you have to cut through to your customer's "buy button" which is also located in the reptilian brain.

Neuromarketing Is The Key To The Reptilian Brain

Neuromarketing (the science of the brain applied to marketing and sales) tells us that we are all hard-wired by our old brain (sometimes called the reptilian brain) to survive. This means, in today's business context, that the buyer (your  customer) you are calling upon will instinctively (we're looking at as little as 5 milliseconds) process visual and verbal cues to determine if your goal is to eat him or her (figuratively, of course) for lunch. The wrong cues trigger the fight (resistance) or flight response, neither of which is helpful in the sales process.

Eliminate The Threats
For you as the seller to survive, you must eliminate the perceived threats that can trigger fight or flight. Here's how.

First, eliminate the visual threat: Concentrate first on the potential visual threat. The reason for this is that visual cues are processed by the old brain faster than audio cues, and the initial instinctive response may be the dominant one. Is there anything in how you look (grooming, attire, facial expression, or posture) or move that is threatening?

Second, eliminate the verbal threat: Next, point attention to what the buyer can gain, rather than risk, by engaging with you. Do this by liberally using the "YOU" words; "you", "your" and generally any words that fall within the buyer's "what's in it for me" mindset.

(For more detail see How To Open The Sales Door With Neuromarketing.)

Cut Through To the Buy Button

According to Renvoise and Patrick, there are 6 and only 6 stimuli that speak to the reptilian brain. "Incorporating these 6 stimuli will give you fast access to the old brain and will immediately improve your ability to sell, market, and communicate."

  1. Self-Interest
  2. Contrast
  3. Tangible Input
  4. The Beginning and the End
  5. Visual Stimuli
  6. Emotion

Learn more about the Buy Button with Neuromarketing Basics For Marketing Strategy.

If a sales strategy based on your customer's buy button is a big idea for you, please get in touch and schedule a complimentary call, or simply send me a message.


Discover Your Big Picture Marketing Solutions


Are you wasting time and money on small solutions that can't possibly generate big picture results? You may be if you allow the "business as usual" roadblock snarl your lead generation and customer acquisition efforts.

big picture marketing solutions


Here's how to remove the business as usual roadblock:

Ask questions to learn and clarify what’s happening in the marketing world today.

Look for opportunities in new and different ways.

Discover the new approaches, tools, and platforms that can transform your business.

For unblocking ideas, including a mini-case history, check out Big Picture Marketing Solutions. You'll be immediately taken to a web page and won't have to fill out any forms.

Have a big picture idea you'd like to discuss? Sign up for a complimentary coffee break session: no pressure, no selling, only answers.


Introducing Visual Metaphors-A More Powerful Way To Sell

visual metaphorsWhat would it mean to your business or organization if you could instantly communicate your message in the most powerful way?

This is the promise of the visual metaphor and its ability to:
  • Reduce marketing costs
  • Increase lead generation
  • Reduce sales conversion time

What is a Visual Metaphor?
A visual metaphor is a superior communicating image (design or graphic) that instantly communicates a message or idea. It's telegraphic and understandable. It's the Big Mac of persuasion:
  • Memorable
  • Attention-getting
  • Compelling

Example of a Visual Metaphor
Here's your challenge. You are making a presentation to your marketing and sales team about your ideal customer. You describe your ideal customer-high level business executives- in terms of demographics, psychographics, personas, lifestyles and buying behavior. On top of this, you tell them that they must target their selling and advertising messages to the customers' 450 million-year-old reptilian brain, our evolutionary brain that is the center for decision-making and so called because it is still present in reptiles today. (See How To Open The Sales Door With Neuromarketing.)

Answer: You could use all the above words and the descriptions associated with them, or you could summarize it all with the image in this post with the words "Your target customer." (Does the image work for you? Would you change it? Let me know.)

A Short Background on Metaphors
A metaphor is a literary device (word-related) to aid understanding by connecting something less familiar with something more familiar. For example, we could say that an online database is your new Rolodex. (Similes do the same thing, except they use the words "like" or "as." For example, an online database is like your old Rolodex.) You get the idea.

Visual metaphors use images to connect something less well known or difficult to understand to something better known. They are superior to word metaphors because of the superior ability of visuals to communicate ideas.

visual metaphor advertisingAdvertising Example
Here's more of an advertising example, courtesy of SalesBrain. The objective of this ad is to communicate the advantage of digital paper vs. traditional paper.

Why Visuals Are So Powerful
According to the folks at SalesBrain, customers' "buy buttons" are located in the old brain or reptilian brain. (This is part of neuromarketing, the application of brain science to marketing. We have three brains-learn more here.)

The reptilian brain is the decision-maker and is influenced by only six stimuli. One of those stimuli is visuals. So, create and use visuals properly to push the "buy button."

Key Takeaway
Shorten the time and distance to your customer's buy button by using visual metaphors. Use visual metaphors in
  • Traditional marketing (such as print ads, TV, and sales presentations)
  • In digital marketing (websites)
  • For inbound marketing (the marketing of attraction)

Have some fun and check out more visual metaphors here.

The ultimate purpose of visual metaphors is to acquire more customers. Are you getting all you can?

New Call\u002Dto\u002DAction

Additional Resources: Neuromarketing: Understanding the "Buy Button" in Your Customer's Brain by Renvoise and Morin.

Neuromarketing To Your Customer's Brain May Be Your Best Strategy

neuromarketing to the customer's brainPersonas. Target audience. Demographics. Psychographics. Keywords.

These are all important parts of your marketing strategy, and I use them religiously. But personas and keywords, for example, don't make decisions. Customers make decisions, or more specifically customer's brains make decisions.

That's why you need to market-or better yet- neuromarket to your customer's brain.

And the best brain to market to is the old brain, often called the reptilian brain.

We have three brains. According to the folks at SalesBrain, the old brain is the decision maker. The middle brain processes emotions and gut feelings. The new brain thinks and processes rational data. So the old brain is our real target. It takes into account the input from the other two brains, but is the actual trigger of decisions.

The power of neuromarketing is to understand how decisions are triggered. There are only 6 stimuli that can trigger decisions:

    1.    Self-centeredness: the old brain is "the center of ME and has no patience with or empathy for anything that does not immediately concern its own well-being and survival." Therefore, focus entirely on your target (and not on yourself) and liberally use the "you and your" words.
    2.    Contrast: the old brain seeks clear contrast in order to make instant decisions and avoid confusion that results in delayed decisions. "…the old brain is wired to pay attention to disruptions or changes" such as before/after, risky/safe, with/without, and fast/slow. Therefore, to get the old brain's attention, create contrast and avoid things like neutral statements that dull contrast.
    3.    Tangible Input: the old brain prefers and scans for tangible input to avoid the extra time and energy involved in thinking. For example, easily grasped words like "more money" are to be preferred to "maximizing roi."
    4.    The Beginning and the End: the old brain tries to conserve energy (from thinking) by eliminating unnecessary content. "If the old brain can easily anchor a situation with a strong beginning point and a strong end point, it will not seek to use energy to retain content in the middle because it may not be necessary or vital to what the situation requires." The implication to presentations and all forms of communication is obvious and substantial: place the most important content in the beginning (focused on the "you"), repeat it at the end, and repeat it as often as necessary during the course of the communication to regain interest.
    5.    Visual Stimuli: the old brain prefers visual stimuli which are processed faster than words and concepts.
    6.    Emotion: finally, "the old brain is only triggered by emotion." This means that "we remember events better when we have experienced them with strong emotions." Marketers who want to be remembered should keep this in mind.

The key to effective marketing, therefore, is to use these 6 neuromarketing stimuli to trigger the buying decision described via the personas, target audiences, demographics, psychographics, and keywords you've generated. This is what is meant by marketing to your customer's brain. (Why you should put neuromarketing into your marketing strategy.)


Photo Credit: dierk schaefer via Creative Commons license with photo editing by Don Metznik

Boost Marketing Productivity: Follow Key Influencers On Facebook


facebook influencersManaging Facebook as part of your marketing strategy can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating, particularly if you are a small business that has already over-taxed your marketing resources.

A successful approach that I've used and highly recommend is to identify a short list of the top influencers whose knowledge and advice will help you accomplish your goals with the least resources. I follow these three sources:

Top Facebook Influencers

Amy Porterfield: Amy has what I believe to be the perfect blend of knowledge, savvy, and likeability. Her content is timely, she covers Facebook marketing from A-Z, and her webinars are models of how to sell. For example, in The Simple Social Media Formula, she covers why doing less can accomplish more, a refreshing promise for many of us.

Mari Smith: Mari is another outstanding resource. I suggest her Facebook resources page to bring you up to speed on all the most critical topics.

Hubspot: Hubspot is not a single person but a team of some of the most dynamic and smart players in Inbound Marketing, which is the foundation for social media and, of course, Facebook. (Disclosure: I am an Hubspot Certified Professional, use it, and recommend it.) What I expecially value about Hubspot and Facebook is that it puts Facebook into the bigger picture of marketing. Hubspot's resource library is vast and grows daily, so be certain to get on their RSS feed. For beginners, check out How to Use  Facebook for Business, an introductory ebook. Request it on their Facebook page.

Key Takeaway
Follow 2-3 key influences on the topics that are causing you the most pain. Focus on their insights then move on to the other projects that are demanding your time.

Want to talk about how to find big picture marketing ideas for your business? Just send me a note.

How Emotion Powers Your Marketing: Insights From Neuromarketing


Power of emotion SalesBrainDo you employ the power of emotion in your marketing? Neuromarketing tells us that emotion should be a dominant factor in your marketing efforts and overall strategy. (Learn more about neuromarketing here.)

The Rational Barrier To Emotion

This may be difficult to accept by companies and executives who manage analytically and rationally. These companies and executives tend to use the "me" voice in marketing messages, that is, the voice of the company. And these messages are typically recitations of facts, features and benefits-interesting to company execs, but not compelling to customers.

"You've got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen." - William Bernbach, Advertising Legend

What motivates customers is the "you" voice, the voice of the customer. And when emotion is coupled with the "you" voice the "buy button" in the customer's brain is pushed. Here's why.

The Science of Emotions

"Our conscious control over emotions is weak, and feelings often push out thinking, whereas thinking fights a mainly losing battle to banish emotions. This is because the wiring of the brain favours emotion - the connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than the connections that run the other way." (1)

How To Put Emotion Into Your Advertising

A useful framework for deciding where to insert emotion into advertising is taken from Renvoise and Patrick's Message Building Blocks (see Neuromarketing: Understanding The Buy Buttons In Your Customer's Brain). Emotion can be used in all of these blocks, and the more the better.

  • Grab Attention Early: use mini-dramas and stories. For example, David Ogilvy, another advertising legend, said, "When you sell fire extinguishers, open with the fire."
  • Dramatic Visuals: use dramatic visuals that evoke the emotional pain of the prospect and the relief gained by your solution.
  • Support Claims: use stories, analogies, or metaphors that support your product or service claimes and that tap into emotions.

(See examples on the SalesBrain website.)

Marketing Takeaway

Selling via rational argument alone is not be as effective as selling emotionally, with facts and benefits serving to confirm a decision, not make it. Incorporate emotions into all parts of your marketing and advertising message, in both traditional outbound marketing (e.g. print, direct mail, and email) and the growing inbounding marketing (e.g. search-optimized websites, blogging, and social media.)


Learn more about how neuromarketing can help you push the buy button in your customer's brain.

Photo Credit: SalesBrain
"Buy Button" is taken from Neuromarketing: Understanding The Buy Buttons In Your Customer's Brain
(1) Quotation: Mapping The Mind, Rita Carter, quoting Joseph LeDoux from his book The Emotional Brain p.98

Virtue In The Marketplace: Can It Be A Competitive Advantage?


Book of virtues copy

We cycle through a vast number of new books on business management every year. But are we any closer to finding the holy grail of superior performance that these books promise?

The Book of Virtues can hardly be considered a book on business management. However, might it hold a secret that can be mined and effectively employed in the marketplace?

William Bennett wrote The Book of Virtues "to aid in the time-honored task of the moral education of the young" concerning the training of the heart and mind toward the good.

Is there a role for virtue in the marketplace? Another way to ask this is "Is there a place for 'the good' in business?"

Consider the 10 virtues Bennett focuses on: self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty and faith.

Some virtues are obviously worshiped by business people, among them work and perseverance, no doubt because they are associated with success stories. Self-discipline and responsibility fall into the same category.

But what of compassion and loyalty? Are they only opportunistic virtues, to be discarded if there is no return on investment?

And honesty? Faith?

Perhaps there is a return on investment on virtue that has escaped business owners and leaders. Perhaps, with a different type of accounting system, virtue in business is a good thing.

Business success may come from unexpected sources. Would you like to explore them? Contact me and we'll explore them together.

Have you experienced virtue in business? Who are the role models who do good? What do you think?

How Digital Technology and Analytics Will Drive Marketing Strategy


digital technologyLearn from one of the world's savviest marketers, Procter & Gamble, how to compete in a digital world.

Here are rare insights into an $82 billion marketing company that can be applied to your small or midsize business right now. (This is based on "Inside P&G's Digital Revolution" via McKinsey Quarterly.) Use these insights to deveop your digital marketing strategy for 2012.

Business Purpose
P&G: Its stated purpose is "Touching lives, improving life."
Small Business Translation: The company's purpose is stated in terms of the end user, the customer. It is simple, clear, and memorable. It is not a statement of financial objectives. Use the same customer-centric approach to create your business purpose. (For neuromarketers, the purpose is stated in the "you" language customers understand. Learn more about neuromarketing basics here.)

P&G Goal: Create intimate, indispensable relationships between company brands and customers. Digital technology enables this.
Small Business Translation: This goal translates to any business, any size. Copy it. And, although your small business will not have the ability to benefit from P&G's level of digital technology, you have sufficient resources to do more digitally.

The Consumer
P&G and the "consumer pulse": The company scans, categorizes, and reports in real-time on what the consumer is saying, enabling real-time response.
Small Business Translation: Your small business has the same listening capability via social media. And, like P&G, you can respond to small issues before they become big problems, and engage in real-time conversations rather than merely be a passive observer.

Accounting Systems
P&G on real-time accounting systems: P&G envisions an accounting system that tracks "any product at any moment as it goes through the manufacturing line of any one of our plants" and the production costs associated with it. The issue, as P&G sees it, is that accounting systems tend to look backward, while competitive advantage lies in real-time reporting systems.
Small Business Translation: This should appeal to small business owners who have a passion for cost control and reporting. Tear off the blinders of what accounting systems can't do, and begin to envision what might be done, then evaluate the digital technology that can assist you.

P&G wants to be digitally connected to retailers: P&G is digitally connected to retailers via:

  • A standardized data warehouse where data are kept dynamically correct and that automates commerce and reduces costly human error.
  • Technology supplied to retailers that otherwise can't afford it
  • Visual performance standards (such as product display examples) that are available on smartphones. 

Small Business Translation: First, commit to being connected to your retailers, then select one of the above approaches to implement. Hint, smartphones are becoming indispensable  workplace tools.

P&G: P&G's size (it touches more than four billion consumers every day) and research and modeling tools enable it to speed up innovation, product development, and launch.
Small Business Translation: Social media is the small business research tool, and can be used to listen, monitor, test, refine, and launch new products and services.

Data Sources
P&G: P&G relies on external data partners. For P&G, "data sources are incredibly important" and getting data from a business partner is part of how the business relationship is valued.
Small Business Translation: Look to current and future customers for the data they can bring into your company, to make the relationship more productive and profitable.

Analytics & Data
P&G: P&G places a high value on analytical-thinking skills and data as the drivers for innovation. "We need to come up with the ideas to innovate, and those innovations are always informed by data."
Small Business Translation: Look to improve the data that informs your business and the skills of those who must analyze it.

Key Takeaway
To succeed in 2012 and beyond, small and midsize businesses must embrace digital technology as a source of competitive advantage and innovation. The ability to do this is within the scope and resources of every business: look to the best and smartest companies (like P&G), model them, and refine your strategies to fit your appropriate level.

How will you compete in 2012? Where can you gain competitive advantage? How can you use digital technology to grow? If these questions are important to your business, and you'd like to explore them further, please contact me now for a free, no-obligation chat.


Photo Credit: schopie1 via flickr Creative Commons

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