End the FUD: Decision-Making Obstacles in This Election Cycle

Uncertainty blocks the brain from thinking. While talking with a client recently, he acknowledged that he’d been in a bit of a “mind funk” for a while. There was good reason: uncertainty due to lengthy delays of a key decision from someone outside of his company. And it’s a reminder for direct marketers that uncertainty feels more prevalent in this fear-based election year than usual, and it is sure to …

PE1013_stopUncertainty blocks the brain from thinking. While talking with a client recently, he acknowledged that he’d been in a bit of a “mind funk” for a while. There was good reason: uncertainty due to lengthy delays of a key decision from someone outside of his company. And it’s a reminder for direct marketers that uncertainty feels more prevalent in this fear-based election year than usual, and it is sure to block the brain from thinking and acting.

When presented with fear, uncertainty, or doubt (FUD), all logical thinking can shut down. “Mind funk” — or whatever you want to call it — sets in, and instead of moving forward, you shut down. And so do your prospects and customers. Consider how FUD can overtake emotions:

  • Fear frightens and paralyzes.
  • Uncertainly grips and people ruminate over and over.
  • Doubt shakes confidence and buying decisions aren’t made.

It’s human to fall into the FUD trap because this is how our brains are wired. And quite frankly, this nasty and negative election cycle is likely to exacerbate FUD even more, risking a decline in response rates this year.

At any point when approaching your prospective customers, whether you’ve sent them a postcard, letter, catalog or email, you can’t know a person’s state of mind when they receive it. But you can know the persona of the individual, and that alone enables you to consider a person’s core emotional values, and how you can clear away their FUD.

When you stimulate emotion, especially if you can imagine the FUD a person is dealing with at the moment, you get undivided attention. The brain shuts off thinking and is fixated on the problem. Your marketing opportunity?

  • First, when you have identified one’s fears, uncertainty and doubt, promise a solution.
  • Second, redirect thinking by calming the mind with your solution. This dissipates FUD, and decision-making has a chance of returning.

At the rate fear, uncertainty and doubt is being stirred up by this election, another opportunity is to use the news as part of your message. Marketing guru and author David Meerman Scott wrote a book on seizing the news to help advance your marketing message, called NewsJacking. Using news makes you more topical, and these days, you’ll probably hit many emotional core values to help you break through and release decision-making.

Looking for tips about how to attract more customers using FUD? Download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks. It’s titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” Or get all the details in my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore.

Author: Gary Hennerberg

Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.

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