Are You Marketing to the Whole Brain?

More than just having lemonade at a lemonade stand, with a price sign, the true young entreprenuer will entice neighborhood prospects with “Wow, look at the sweat pouring off you. You must be really thirsty.” Or…”Since you’ve just been out jogging, it’s obvioius you care about your health.

This isn’t just any lemonade I’m selling. This lemonade is made from fresh-squeezed organic lemons, fresh from the tree this morning. While I could be selling it for a lot more money downtown, I want to offer it to folks in my neighborhood at nearly a give-away price for the quality.”

The true entreprenuer will market to the prospects’ Whole Brain…and never have an extra glass of lemonade left over at the end of the day.

People don’t buy rationally. Much as we may like to think otherwise, most purchases are not made from our rational, logical mind. They are, instead, made from a combination of emotions, habits, and logic… in that order.

Why is that?  One would certainly think that a logical, rational sales letter, describing the product, its uses, and its price compared to similar products would be sufficient to sell any product. 

After all, isn’t that how we were taught in school to evaluate? 

Most schools provide information, one piece by piece, with conclusions drawn about what that information meant, in a logical, linear method.

Perhaps by examining why our educational system has such a high drop-out rate, we could also determine why so many “sound, logical” marketing programs fail. 

Our educational system currently clearly favors and rewards the left-brain, logical thinker.  These students control their feelings, think sequentially, and favor step-by-step learning techniques…exactly as laid out in the text books.  This is in contrast to their right-brain counterparts, who first see the “whole”, and then see the patterns of how the pieces fit in. 

Right-brain thinkers have a much stronger ability to visualize, or make a movie in their heads, of what is read or heard. Because they have a curious and spontaneous nature, and express their feelings freely, they are often seen as trouble makers.  They lose interest in their school projects…getting off the logical, linear path to daydream… and are frequently punished for their behavior.

What seems to be going unnoticed is that approximately 60-70% of all readers, all grades, coast to coast, are considered “dysfunctional.”  In other words, those students who do not conform to the logical, linear thinking and reading patterns, are not viewed as “right-brain” creative thinkers, but as dysfunctional thinkers!

For the same reason left-brain education falls short, left-brain marketing falls short.

In marketing, we are talking to that 60-70% of “dysfunctional” thinkers. Those fickle, illogical thinkers who purchase products and services with their emotions and habits, rather than following the linear path to the end of the road.

Even the truly left-brain, logical linear thinkers, as well as the conformists…those non-dominant right-brain thinkers, use more of the limbic system of their brain in making purchasing decisions as they mature.

The limbic region of the brain controls emotion. Emotion is what makes customers search for products to solve their problems, those products that address a stress point, and will induce positive emotions if purchased…such as a rug cleaner that advertises “Wouldn’t it be nice if your mother-in-law gave you her smile of approval?” as apposed to”This is a rug cleaner that will satisfactorily clean your rug.”

Another part of the brain controls habit. This part of the brain is important because it speaks to the way we purchase products…whether you see the product as a way to enhance your life, or as a way to alleviate a problem or pain. Positioning your product in a way that bests aligns with your prospects’ habits is an important marketing element often overlooked.

This is not to say there is no logic involved in customer purchases. Logic is generally the third piece, however, of a buying decision, coming after emotion and habit.

The logical, thinking part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, is good for evaluating decisions, while the emotional, or limbic portion of the brain, generally considered “right-brain” thinking, is the motivator, followed by the reptilian portion of the brain that controls habit.

Many marketing programs appeal directly to the logical, thinking part of the brain first.

Successful marketing programs, however, appeal to the whole brain: emotions first, habit second, and logic last. Successful marketing programs:

  • Give the heart of emotion in a problem the prospect wants solved
  • Give the other side of the problem…”Would you like to know how to..”
  • Create urgency in solving the problem
  • Propose a solution that appeals to the prospects buying habits
  • Provide logical justification for “left-brain” processing.
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