Hacking The Human Brain: What Every Marketing Professional Needs To Know

Hello friends — I hope you had a joyous Christmas Day that was relaxed, and full of family, love, and much too much wrapping paper.  I want to introduce you to Mark Armstrong, an illustrator whose blog I happily happened upon this afternoon. His drawing skill is quickly obvious, and after just a paragraph or two, his wit likewise becomes apparent — I now follow his blog, markarmstrongillustration.com, and you may want to do the same.

Hacking The Human Brain: What Every Marketing Professional Needs To Know

SEPTEMBER 7, 2012

A recent illustration for The Partner Channel Magazine, which focuses on marketing and salesmanship. It was for an article entitled Why People Buy.

The author defined marketing as applied psychology, and began by asking this question: How do you get inside of people’s heads to get them to buy from you? A rather visceral image immediately sprang to mind. Here’s the final:

humorous illustration for Partner Channel magazine about salesmanship and making sales and marketing skills and six essential traits needed for getting inside customer's head, showing salesman with briefcase opening trapdoor on man's head and about to descend ladder down into man's cranium to access his brain

A more interesting question, perhaps, was this: What tips the scale to get people to buy from you instead of your perhaps equally competent competitors? The author went on to discuss 6 psychological triggers that influence the way people buy and behave. Here’s a brief summary:

1. Reciprocation: Give to get. You comment on my blog, I’ll comment on yours.

2. Commitment: Small sales lead to bigger. A satisfied customer will ask you to take on on bigger, higher-paying jobs.

3. Social Proof: Evidence that people like you and your work: sales, commissions, testimonials, enthusiastic followers.

4. Liking: People buy from people they know and like. Reach out, join groups, be friendly and courteous.

5. Authority: We buy from people who project it. Good manners, good grammar, knowledgeable blog posts all project authority.

6. Scarcity: The ol’ limited time only: People will buy it today if they’re afraid it might not be available tomorrow.

I decided to incorporate these buzzwords into the illustration by running them around the perimeter of the face. Photoshop’s ability to string text along a path came in handy here. I could then adjust the path to align the text perfectly along the head’s contours.

There’s something amusing about “Reciprocation” curving along someone’s nose. Here’s a close-up:

detail image of humorous illustration for Partner Channel magazine about salesmanship and making sales and marketing skills and six essential traits needed for getting inside customer's head, showing salesman with briefcase opening trapdoor on man's head and about to descend ladder down into man's cranium to access his brain

You can see some slightly thicker lines running through the brain. They define its four principal lobes: frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal– what you’d see in a medical diagram. It makes me smile at myself for being such a stickler for detail.

I wanted the brain to be anatomically correct. Why? Because the humor in the drawing depends on the reader instantly recognizing the brain for what it is. It has to look the part, even if it’s only a “cartoon brain.”

It’s the old maxim: one has to know the rules before one can successfully break them. A humorous illustrator has to know what something really looks like before he can draw a credible cartoon version of it.

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What do you think? Ever heard anyone coming down that little ladder into your skull? Is blogging a form of salesmanship? one that requires us to pay attention to these same psychological triggers?

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Happy Birthday To Folksinger Patty Larkin And Her Machine Gun Guitar

Paula Deen, Twinkies, And The National Debt 

Ring Around The Rosary, We All Stand Together

footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information
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