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9 Secrets About Human Brains That Will Help You To Achieve Marketing Success

9 Secrets About Human Brains That Will Help You To Achieve Marketing Success

Understanding psychology is the cornerstone of becoming a great marketer.

The reason is that psychology is the basis for all effective marketing decisions- from designing a website, to creating engaging videos.

Now, for anyone working in marketing, this might sound like common sense. However, neuromarketing has taken the mix of psychology and marketing to a new level.

Neuromarketing is “the systematic collection and interpretation of neurological and neurophysiological insights about individuals using different protocols, allowing researchers to explore nonverbal and unconscious physiological responses to various stimuli for the purposes of market research,” according to the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association.

In other words, it’s how our brain responds to marketing stimuli from both a conscious and unconscious standpoint. If you understand how people react to different information, then you can engage and produce sales more effectively.

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Neuromarketing relies on the cognitive biases that are built into all of us. Marketing either works with or against these cognitive biases. It’s that simple.

Let’s dive into these secrets of the human brain to help you unleash your inner marketing genius:

1. We Make Decisions with Our Reptilian Brain

We experience immediate reactions in three seconds or less from our reptilian brain. The reptilian brain includes the brainstem and the cerebellum. It’s where most cognitive biases take place; it’s commonly referred to as the attention gatekeeper or the decision maker.

If you can appeal to a consumer’s reptilian’s brain, then your marketing is more likely to convert. Characteristic preferences of the reptilian brain that are critical to consider when making any piece of marketing material are: pain points, selfishness, contrast, tangibility, visuals, and emotional connection.

Since these processes happen fast, it’s important to pay special attention to how your marketing materials look when browsed quickly. People are likely to see your subject line, headline, or featured image first. Mastering these three elements will give you a leg up in marketing.

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2. Dilated Pupils

It has been shown that people tend to be more trusting of people with dilated pupils, compared to people with constricted (small) pupils. This phenomenon was observed during a study where participants played a “trust game” with a virtual partner. The pupils of the faces on the screen were digitally changed to dilate (get bigger), remain the same, or constrict.

The scientists also observed how the subjects’ pupils responded to their partner by imitating the pupil condition they were seeing. This mimicry is associated with trust. Remember, people buy from those they know, like, and trust. If you can establish trust, then you’ve got one piece of the puzzle down.

3. Address Pain

Marketing campaigns that begin with addressing benefits are missing out on one of the most important attention-grabbers: pain. The reptilian brain concentrates more on avoiding pain as a means of survival, than on receiving benefits.

An excellent way to address this in advertising is by using a simple question like this: “Having trouble getting clients?”

4. Be Selfish

Consumers care about survival, and to survive you must be selfish. So, if you’re talking about the consumer then they’re more likely to listen. Within seconds, you need to address what you’ll do for them.

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If this is not obvious to the consumer, then they won’t care. To take advantage of consumers’ selfish attitudes, avoid using the words “I” and “We,” and instead, focus on using “You;” this strategy is extremely effective.

5. Contrast

Using contrast to deliver your message will help you keep viewers’ attention. The reason is that contrast helps articulate your message more than words do. For example, showing before and after pictures that distinctly display the benefits of your offer is an effective approach.

Also, keep in mind that contrasting the price of what you’re offering with something of a similar price that’s not a necessity can do wonders. For example, saying something like this for a fitness product: “This costs the same as just one week of going to Starbucks. Now would you rather have seven fattening lattes or an incredible body?”

6. Put Your Call-To-Actions in the Beginning and End

We don’t like unnecessary thinking because it takes energy to run the brain, especially when processing new stimuli. The brain is 2% of our body mass, but it burns 20% of our energy. Since our brain is optimized to conserve energy, it is not going to waste it by concentrating on things unnecessary for survival.

Consequently, the brain is alert when changes occur requiring us to evaluate danger. Changes mostly occur at the beginning and end of a commercial, video, and most other types of stimuli. Since the middle portion of your advertisement won’t receive as much attention, make sure to put your call-to-actions at the beginning and end.

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7. It’s All Visual

Visual input has a powerful effect. In fact, we recognize visuals before other areas of our brain can even process other elements, such as text. This allows for an almost instantaneous reaction when needed. As a result, visual representations help consumers understand your message much faster. For example, this is one reason you’ll notice that many marketers use pictures of books when offering a free eBook in exchange for an email address.

Approximately 90 percent of the information that the brain processes is visual. So if you want to be memorable, make sure to include top-notch images in your advertising. I suggest steering away from stock photos because people enjoy more personalized images.

8. Use Faces

Research suggests that from an evolutionary point of view, humans who could quickly identify threats and build quality relationships significantly improved their chance of survival. Since our brain is highly attracted to nice-looking faces, we unconsciously prefer attractive human faces when building relationships.

This is a big reason long-form sales pages tend to under-perform in comparison to sales videos where a person is communicating to viewers. The big takeaway is that using people in your marketing materials and emphasizing their faces can help increase your conversions.

9. Keep it Short and Sweet

You don’t want your audience to overthink their decisions, and displaying too much information will do just that. An analysis of eCommerce websites revealed surprising behavior: visitors who were exposed to additional details and information about a product were actually less likely to purchase it compared to visitors who were exposed only to the product image and a few general details.

The research showed that visitors who purchased the product, whether on their first time on the page or their fifth visit, spent significantly less time on the sales page than visitors who did not purchase. The takeaway: keep your sales page short and sweet and you’ll attract more customers.

Now that you’ve dived into some of the secrets of the brain, it’s time for you to begin using them to inform your implementation of marketing strategies.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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