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Beware: Your Brain’s Sneaky Tricks Exposed! Unraveling the Secrets of Irrational Choices

You know how when you go to a restaurant, they always ask you if you have dined with them before. Do you ever answer opposite to the truth just to see what they say based on what the decision tree training tells them? Me neither. But if this is your first time here, “thanks for coming,” if you have been here before, “thanks for coming.” I try to keep to a simple script.

Regardless of the number of times you have read any of what I like to call ‘my poorly written blog’ this one is interesting to me. It is about how our mind can trick us into making decisions. I think this information can be very valuable to us as consumers and marketers.

Let’s go! Let’s dive into our brains and how they can trick us into what seem to be irrational choices.

Cognitive ConflictAlthough our brains are remarkable, they are far from perfect. The brain tends to exhibit quirks and biases when making decisions, which is well-known. These quirks and biases can lead us to actively search for information that aligns with our existing beliefs, reinforcing what is known as confirmation bias.

Marketers can use this to focus on highlighting a product or service’s best features, “America’s Number 1 selling truck,” or attaching visuals of their products to like-minded individuals—those people driving their Jeeps to the top of mountains. “Man, they are cool, aren’t they?”

Besides not wanting to let go of old information, like that Van Halen T-shirt from the Diver Down tour in 1982, we also have an aversion to feeling like we are losing anything. This phenomenon called loss aversion or, as is it became known on social media in and around 2010, FoMO. It drives us to cling to products or services even when faced with better options!

Marketers find this loss aversion to be as enticing as cotton candy. They have a knack for tempting us with irresistible ‘limited time’ offers, creating a sense of urgency that makes your brain scream, ‘Don’t miss out!’ After all, once this exclusive run of Dill Pickle Lip Balm is gone, it’s gone forever!

We know it’s been a minute since you uttered the phrase FoMO and are ready to dive into the details of the product or service you are looking at, but suddenly, you’re smacked with Social Proof.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No more about reviews. We got plenty in the blogs, How could 65,688 people be wrong? & Why You’re Really Trusting Strangers with Your Money!.”

Well, reviews aren’t the only part of this marketing attack. Social proof includes testimonials they show about their widget being the best thing since sliced bread, or if you are like copper fit you may have Gwyneth Paltrow endorsing your latest copper infused turtleneck sweater.

But just when you have opened yourself up to receiving and believing new information, protected yourself against FoMO, and properly weighted the value of company-displayed reviews, testimonials and the newest influencers endorsement pitch, your brain goes head-to-head with Price Illusion. Our brains are terrible, or as Charles Barkley says, ‘Turrible,’ at judging the absolute value of things. Our brains rely on comparing things like price of the king size Whatchamacallit to the regular size Whatchamacallit.

“But who is going to buy one when you can get two for just 75 cents more?”

“Wait, what? Did I just fall for that again?”

I know, I am exactly who marketers, especially Whatchamacallit marketers, are looking for. But my brain and yours, are naturally drawn to “deals” like “buy one, get one” or “limited time” or “2 for 1.” (Hmm, that almost seems repetitive.)

As consumers, the more we understand our brain’s shortcomings and stay focused on pausing before buying so we can give the rational part of our brain time to catch up with the emotional part and make better buying decisions. Decisions we will be happier with.

On the other hand, as marketers we need to understand the brain can also work against what our clients and customers want or need in the form of paralysis by analysis, so we must ensure we provide the right information for educated decision in an ethical manner.

No matter if you are a buyer or a seller understanding the brain works vs your perception is pretty valuable.

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