Marketing Psychology | My Notes On Brainfluence By Roger Dooley

March 30, 2016

Brainfluence By Roger Dooley is a book you should read if you have an interested in marketing psychology and influence, what makes people tick and productivity/motivational topics.

This last year I’ve made it my mission to devour as many books as possible, and though I don’t always remember all of the bits, I AM getting better at developing the discipline – and I’m finding that I’m learning more and seeing little ways that a lot of the concepts intertwine and can be applied!

So – what I’ve decided to do – is give you a bit of a breakdown of the key take aways that I’ve had when reading books – and this is the first of many, I hope you like it and that it motivates you to maybe pick up the book, either about marketing psychology like this, or just more books in general and share what you are learning with the community too.

Today’s Book: Brainfluence By Roger Dooley

marketing psychology

By the way, if you like this and are interested – Roger has his own podcast too here: Brainfluence Podcast

Overview: Brainfluence By Roger Dooley dives into the topic of why psychological mechanisms work and understanding a few neat tricks can help you be more influential when it comes to selling things using clever marketing psychology.

Key Point 1: Reduce The Pain Of Buying To Convert Tightwads 

  • A study in Carnegie Mellon University – and also a Stanford University experiment monitored brainwaves of people encouraged to make a purchase.  The brain scans showed that the activity when the offer didn’t resonate with them stimulated the sections in the brain similar to actual physical pain.
  • To minimise ‘buyers remorse’, finding that pain point, whether it is helping the visitor find a price point they are happier with (i.e. changing a $120 annual gym membership to say only $10 a month, or $0.33 a day), or identifying what is going to make the potential customer less likely to have negative feelings about the purchase.
  • Dooley mentioned another study conducted by a Carnegie Mellon University and discovered that “Tightwads” (people very thrifty with their cash), often needed a ‘logical’ reason to purchase.  When offered a massage deal, if the angle was along the lines of massage for pleasure, they were 26% less likely to buy – but when angled as back pain relief they were only 9% less likely to spend their money.

Key Point 2: Make Use Of All Senses

  • This one is a little tricky for people who are predominantly marketing online – but Dooley references Martin Lindstrom’s books “Buyology” and “Brand Sense” – in how flight attendants at Singapore Airlines have used sensory triggers to develop the brand image.  They all wear the same perfume, the airline uses hot towels and match the aircraft’s colour scheme to their uniforms.
  • The sense of smell is a powerful trigger too, Martin Lindstrom claims that 75% of our emotional reactions are closely linked to our sense of smell.
  • A test between two identical Nike shoe stores, one scented/one unscented saw 84% of the test subjects rate the scented room to have more superior shoes.
  • Taking this to online, as I mentioned… could be tricky!  If you have any ideas as to how to implement that kind of thing online let me know in the comments below.  On the other hand, if you have a coffee shop, or a hairdresser – take a minute to think about how your business smells…

Key Point 3: Whack A Baby On It

  • Marketing psychology comes into play when using images in marketing, but none as powerful as a face – people identify and connect with faces – but even more powerful is to put a baby’s face on your ad.
  • If a baby isn’t going to match your marketing approach, then use a baby faced person, an adult with facial characteristics that are young looking and trigger vulnerable emotions.
  • High level activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (the part of the brain that is responsible for emotion) is triggered only 150 milliseconds after having seen a photo of a baby.
  • Dooley’s theory here, is that it likely links back to evolutionary reasons – babies are vulnerable and increase their chances of thriving and survival if adults have an emotional connection to the child.
  • Also, he mentions to make sure that when you place a face (baby or otherwise) on an ad, to make the person face whatever you want the viewer to focus on.  James Breeze, a usability specialist has done extensive testing to discover that when someone is looking at an something, we look at it too.

Key Point 4: Speak Into Their RIGHT Ear

  • I found this point VERY cool, because I’m a HUGE fan of schmoozing… that little bit of small talk before you dive into your pitch, or whatever it is that you are trying to convince someone.
  • Dooley discovered that when speaking with people – when you talk to someone in their right ear, there was a huge increase in compliance in whatever it is that you are trying to pitch someone.
  • Dr Luca Tommasi and Daniele Marzoli from the University Gabrile d’Annunzio found that this worked in multiple situations, including testing it at a night club – where the test subject found they had more success ‘bumming a cigarette’ if they asked the person into their right ear.
  • Try it next time you are at a marketing event… get dinner with the person you want to do business with and make sure you sit to the right of the person you want to schmooze!

Key Point 5: Surprise The Brain

  • Researchers in the UK discovered that the little part in your brain that predicts what happens next, the hippocampus, does it by automatically recalling a sequence of events that we have experienced before and ties it in with an expected reaction.  When it doesn’t go how we predict, the brain wakes up and pays attention.
  • A great example of this is in an example like taking a common phrase and twisting it slightly, so that instead of saying “A Stitch In Time Saves Nine”, they might write… “A Stitch In Time Saves Money”.
  • The idea here would be to make your sales copy more “brain catching”, so placing words in unlikely places, or changing the way a word is used – eg. instead of telling your customers, “it’s time for coffee”, surprise their brains by saying something like … “Let’s coffee it up”

OK!  So – there is loads there.  I hope you picked up a few marketing psychology tricks and that something has jumped out at you, helped you out in some way and just triggered some ideas that can help you build your business.

Check out the Brainfluence By Roger Dooley book if you want to learn more about marketing psychology – and, if you have any books you would like me to dive into please leave them in the comments below, I’m always looking for interesting reads.

– Cindy Donovan

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18 comments on “Marketing Psychology | My Notes On Brainfluence By Roger Dooley

  1. Great review! I think I’ll try an image of a baby on one of my ads! Thanks for the post

  2. Very interesting points Cindy.

    If you want to make a connection through the olfactory senses online, you can mention an evocative smell in your sales copy or content.

    One wee trick I’ve used in the past is to get clients to make themselves a cup of coffee before a coaching call, webinar, etc. This is likely to make them more attentive and more likely to listen actively.

    In NLP terms, the “pattern interrupt” is a well know technique to grab people’s attention. Some squirrels however, get it completely wrong! 😉

    (An Amazon affiliate link to the book at the end of your blog post might be an idea)

    • Excellent points John. I love the coffee trick – nice move!

      I didn’t place an amazon link on there ’cause … well… I thought it might be tacky – I want engagement on my blog more than the $0.60 that it will earn me if someone decides to buy the book – and… one day soon, I think I’d also love to interview Roger some time and have him on the show too!

      I have a direct link up there if you do want to check out the book, direct to Roger’s sales page.

  3. Thank you Cindy!
    Love the “bite size” goodness!
    You realise you have unleashed a horde of baby ads?
    My future client meetings will seated accordingly!

    • Hahahaha!! I know!! I was thinking the same thing re: baby ads when I was reading it and wondering if I should share that one.

  4. I think changing a familiar phrase might work well in email subject lines. I know it works well in a kid’s show here in Scotland where they change nursery rhymes about. For example with Jack and Jill, instead of saying ‘Jack fell down and broke his crown’ saying ‘Jack fell down and then went to Paris on holiday’ gets a tremendous reaction from the kids. Off to look at familiar sayings that might be reworked to get more opens. Thanks Cindy.

    • Norman Leonard Apr 3, 2016

      That is a pretty good tip. Try not to keep the subject line the same and make the customers read it rather than passing it over like any other email.

  5. Beautiful review, love the way you condense the material, but still leave my mouth open to chew a bit more. Momma bird you got this hatching chirping.

    • nom nom nom … Lester Lim suggested (via FB) that I share notes for Gary Vee’s – Jab Jab Jab Right Hook – so I’ll finish reading that and get some notes up next week… you will LOVE it – he has some awesome things to share about dominating social media

  6. Jim Bloodsworth Mar 30, 2016

    Nice review/book report, Cindy, thanks. Lots of good, useful and interesting information most of us can use in some aspect or another.

    • Ronald King Apr 3, 2016

      I feel the same way. I read the book and it IS good. Great review Cindy, keep them coming each month.

  7. Hi Cindy,

    Regarding your commitment, “This last year I’ve made it my mission to devour as many books as possible…”; I have told you many times I can assist you in that area. You could cover over 1000 books a year and be able to use far more of the information than what you will ever get from reading. (Most people forget what they read within a few hours.)

    Please take a moment to revisit my website at I will be happy to personally revisit the virtues of the training with you.

    BTW: We will be bringing out an improved version of the already great training soon.

    Shannon Panzo, PhD

  8. Charles Lea Apr 3, 2016

    I didn’t think it would really make sense, but spending money does hurt for those that do not want to spend it. Being able to crack their wallet open is a great task!

  9. David Randolph Apr 3, 2016

    Can you believe that? A Nike store that smelled better has better shoes 🙂 That is just crazy how the brain works in terms of shopping.

  10. Jeremy Miles Apr 3, 2016

    Judging by the key points that you are making, this book is full of the marketing information that I like to read. Thanks!

  11. Kevin Roberts Apr 3, 2016

    Schmoozing used to be my middle name when I was in sales. It is a little different now that I am in content marketing, but your tips are still valid!

  12. John Carruth Apr 3, 2016

    Roger Dooley….does he have any other books that I could take a look at as well?

  13. Alyse Estrada Apr 9, 2016

    That’s funny, I think I will buy a different book. Anyway thanks for sharing the true review on it. Really appreciate it 😉

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