CAVEMAN BRAIN

“They’re trying to dumb it down,” she mumbled to herself, as she read her son’s school assignment.

My mom is always complaining that we’re dumbing-down America.  She’s sharp and knows the answer to every Jeopardy question.  Frankly, she knows a lot more about history and science and you name it, than I do.  She seems to have gotten a much better education than I did.  She’s a proponent of not dumbing-down in hopes that that will force people to step up and smarten up.  There’s one piece of trivia that she may not be aware of though – the back of the brain has a small portion, about the size of a walnut called the amygdala where most rational thoughts have to pass through in order to fully process a thought.  In fact, that’s the part of the brain where many decisions are made.  If you want someone to say “yes” to your product that you’re selling, you have to get the back part of the brain to say “yes.”  Here’s the tough part.  That amygdala is really dumb.  It’s the part of the brain that’s responsible for caveman-type responses like fight or flight.  If you put your hand on the hot stove, the dumb part of the brain has to tell you to lift your hand.  This isn’t the part of the brain that’s capable of solving tough problems so if your marketing content is filled with jargon or industry acronyms, the amygdala will just sit there and say “duuuhhh” and your prospect

will be unable to make a decision.  They can’t say yes because the amygdala is confused.  Now you could be the smartest person in the world and still have a dumb amygdala.  Einstein’s amygdala was probably a lot smarter than most, but even he would have had trouble making a buying decision if the message was complex.  He could have solved virtually any problem you put in front of him, but problem solving doesn’t require the neurons in the amygdala to fire.  Once you’d ask him to make a decision, then his mind would slow down.

So, are we dumbing-down America?  Yep.  Am I partially responsible?  Yep.  It’s a good idea to dumb down your copy when you’re trying to get your prospect to make a decision.  If you’re just educating them, then go for it, make it as complex as you’d like but if you’re expecting your copy to get someone to make a decision, then you’d better simplify it.  We call it “caveman.”  Around here was say, “that’s not very caveman” and we all know what we’re talking about.  Read through your copy and see if it would make sense to a caveman.  If not, consider making it easier to read.  This is a guaranteed neuromarketing tool that will increase the conversion rates of your website design.  Hope that helps.

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