The Gut Response: Building Product Marketing Using Numbers

COLOR-BRAINYou may not think of yourself as a “numbers person,” but you are. Learning a few tips about using them will add up to more successful marketing.

Our so-called gut reactions, the first hurdle of engagement in marketing, occur in the primal area of the brain, also known as the reptilian brain. It is the gatekeeper. Before you can make a case to appeal to a consumer’s emotional or rational thinking, you have about three seconds on the clock to unlock the primal area where order and imagery is key.

In this blog entry, we focus on appealing to a human being’s desire for order and how to provide it using numbers. In part two we’ll delve into imagery.

Why are numbers important?

The primal brain likes storytelling, but it is also very spatially oriented. Quantifying content makes it more inviting – or potentially less, if you are too ambitious. “Steps” suggest a finite message. Think back to signing on to the Internet as your first morning alarm sounds on your smart phone or later as you slip your coffee standing at the kitchen counter. You are most likely to first open your email –the number one online activity for 94% of Internet users. And what do you find? Odds are an abundance of subject lines such as:

– 7 Ways To A Slimmer Waistline
– 10 Habits of Highly Productive People
– 19 Ways To Save On Your Next Car Purchase
– 3 Date Nights with Tulsa Ballet for $99!

Assuming all these topics are of equal interest, which do you suppose the primal brain will pick to read first? Our guess is date night and a slim waistline. The primal brain is a very active gatekeeper; it’s considered selfish and wants to keep things simple.

Numbers can also be used in marketing messages to establish value and create a sense of urgency. In this recent offer on look at how many ways numbers are used:

Groupon Screen

• Quantifies the discount, establishing value (hey, at 51% off it’s “more than half off”),
• Establishes credibility at a glance because it is both popular with other consumers (89% thumbs up), and others are acting on the offer (more than 70 bought).

A reader reaching this point in the message is likely to be propelled to action when next the motion of the clock ticking down the minutes before the offer expires catches the eye or shall we say, “registers with the primal brain!”

This example doesn’t stop at numbers. In Part 2, we will visit with Brain Fitness Strategies Neurodevelopmental Specialist Susan Phariss to learn how the primal brain responds to imagery and colors.

(Image sources: and

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