Fighting the Gut Instinct

Fighting the Gut Instinct

People go with their gut. We make decisions, even big ones, in a matter of seconds mostly based on emotion and not facts or logic. Some studies suggest this is a leftover from our early days as hunter-gatherers, when we needed to make quick decisions to stay alive. (The jury is still out on whether we make good snap decisions more often than bad ones.)

People are also stubborn. We rarely change our minds once we’ve made a decision. Rather than seeking a well-rounded approach to the situation, we tend to gravitate toward people and information that reaffirm our decisions and complement our worldview.

How to Market to People Whose Minds are Made Up

This makes our job as effective marketers pretty tough. If people have already made up their minds and they’re not prone to changing them, why do we bother continuously promoting ourselves?

First, you simply don’t know when people might encounter your brand. Your next ad or email could be the catalyst for a prospect’s snap decision to join your organization.

Second, you can’t predict which aspects of your story will resonate with your audience’s worldview. When you present a set of ideas that mesh with the decisions your base has already made, you reaffirm their choices and they will naturally gravitate to your organization. Your prospect will tell herself a story about your organization and sell it to herself with little effort on your part.

A Case for Authenticity

It’s worth noting that you can’t simply tell your audience what they want to hear. If a what you offer doesn’t actually help a member after she decides to join, she’s not likely to recommend your organization to anyone (she might even say something negative). She’s probably not going to renew her membership next year. And she’s not going to spout any valuable word-of-mouth storymaking.

Your only course of action, then, is to be your true, authentic self. Tell your story at every turn to attract new prospects and to inspire current members who believe in your organization because it resonates with their worldview and gut instincts.

As they say, it’s easier to sell salad dressing to someone who already eats salad. Your job isn’t to convince people, it’s to find those who are already convinced and let them know you’re there.

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