See! Cleavage!Most marketing efforts fail because they don’t account for how people’s brains really process and respond to information, according to panelists at a session on the intersection of marketing and neuroscience at #SXSW this morning.

Among the key points of their presentation:

  • Roger Dooley, author of “Brainfluence” and publisher of the blog Neuromarketing: People respond powerfully to seeing themselves in your ads, which taps into what he called The Doppleganger effect. He cited campaigns by Playboy and Dexter as successful examples of that principle at work. (Also noted: You can apparently sell men just about anything — even bank loans — with a picture of an attractive woman showing cleavage.)
  • Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger Media: Humans are hardwired to love stories. We’re always placing ourselves in the stories, and it’s usually subconscious. Allowing people to tell themselves a story about themselves is at the heart of successful content marketing, in particular. His key example: an ad that the Wall Street Journal ran for more than 20 years, which he dubbed “The Greatest Sales Letter of All Time.”
  • Derek Halpern, founder of Social Triggers: What people say they want when reading text online and what they respond best to are wildly different, and marketers can exploit that paradox. For example, people say they want simple, crisp fonts, but studies find that fancy fonts lead to greater retention of the material. Likewise, people think they like narrow text widths, but they read wider columns faster. He takes advantage of people’s responses to these formats by mixing up the widths and the fonts he uses to pull people in and make certain information pop out.
  • AK Pradeep, CEO of NeuroFocus and author of “The Buying Brain”: Most campaigns on social media fail to connect with their audience because they aren’t focused on why the user is participating. B2B on social networks should stand for “Brand-to-Brain.” You can’t sell; you have to tell. Connect with what people are trying to do through events, places, etc.

Image credit: Stockphoto4u

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