The Buying Brain

What is at the heart of truly inspiring marketing communications? What is it that we can say about our company or our products that makes people want to listen, that captures their attention? Perhaps it’s about the ‘what’, and the ‘how’ and the ‘WHY’.

As marketers we know that differentiating our product or service is important. In this TED video, Simon Sinek walks us through a pattern that he’s noticed behind the most remarkable companies and leaders.

He observes that when we communicate in marketing, it’s often the WHAT. We talk about features and benefits, about what we offer. If you’ve been on the sales side and have been successful, you know that features and benefits are not the place to start if you want to make a sale. Many marketers and sellers move to HOW, or differentiating the value proposition of your product or service. Sinek is telling us that the most important element of standout communications indicates starting with the WHY.

LimbicSystemHe says it’s all about how our brains work. Our Mr. Spock brain parts focus on the WHAT. That’s the neocortex. It’s rational and logical and connected to language. But when you want to influence change in behavior, you have to go further into the brain, into the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that makes decisions. It’s less logical, and has no capacity for language – but this is where we realize things like trust and loyalty. Think about the last time you bought something on gut feel. Your limbic brain was working.

The important piece of the equation, according to Sinek is to understand WHY you’re in business as a company. What is your belief behind your business? Then, he says, it’s easier to connect to the right buyers who share that passion and belief.

Sinek then switches over to the laws of diffusion and innovation. You’ve seen the bell curve that illustrates innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and finally laggards. If you’re going to reach the tipping point in sales – first you capture the limbic system of the innovators, and then you move on to the early adopters by leveraging those innovators – because, he says, “the early majority will not try something until someone else has tried it first.” This is where you can leverage Experience Sharing marketing to have the Innovators, your advocates, talk about your product to those who occupy other portions of that bell curve.

So after you’ve finished asking WHAT to do to make your marketing better, HOW to go about it and WHY this is a good idea, we can help you with the WHO.

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