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Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in Your Customer’s Brain

By Patrick Renvoisé & Christophe Morin
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Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoisé & Christophe Morin

By drawing from brain research and innovative marketing techniques, Neuromarketing (2002) offers insights into how we make buying decisions. Understanding the brain’s ancient decision-making processes will equip you with the tools necessary to close deals and motivate people.

Key idea 1 of 9

If marketers want to grab our attention, they need to target the old brain.

When you decide to buy coffee on your way to work in the morning, do you ever consider why you made this choice? Did you rationally compare all prices of nearby competing cafes in order to get the best coffee for money? Or did you just feel like getting a cappuccino?

No matter which strategy you followed, when making that choice of where to get your coffee, you were using what is known as your old brain.

The old brain is your decision-making center; it assesses the information coming from the other two parts of the brain, the new part and the middle part.

The new part of the brain provides rational insights, like, “This latte provides the best value for my money.” The middle part handles emotions and “gut feelings.”

Marketers need to appeal to the old brain if they want to increase sales. So what can they do to ensure they reach it?

One way not to reach it is language. Humankind didn’t develop spoken words until a mere 40,000 years ago. Written language is even younger, developed around 10,000 years ago. The old brain, in contrast, is 450 million years old – and rational language can’t adequately capture its attention.

You’ll have to be more clever than that to reach the old brain.

For example, we know that the old brain is self-centered, caring only about its own prosperity and survival. Therefore, good marketers always concentrate on how their products will improve the lives of those who purchase them.

The old brain is also lazy. It only focuses on the beginning and the end of something, rather than the middle. So if you want to sell, make sure that the beginning and end of your ad are bold and attention-grabbing. This way, people will actually remember them.

Appealing to the old brain is crucial, and the following blinks detail different methods for attracting its attention.

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