Is it possible we’re biologically hard wired to make marketing errors?
Bear with me on this one please because I’ve got to start in an esoteric part of human psychology. I promise I’ll tie it back to a money making marketing insight… perhaps THE money making insight. (Seriously)
As a psychologist–(and a guy who really loves to eat)–I’ve spent a lot of time studying ADDICTION.
And the most fundamental conclusion I’ve reached is that, at it’s core, addiction is a biological error…
Choose your poison: Chocolate, cigarettes, donuts, alcohol, pizza, heroine, or crack, etc.
If you’re indulging beyond your own better judgment it’s because the artificially created concentration of pleasure has tricked your lizard brain into thinking the treasured substance is necessary for SURVIVAL. (It’s NOT because you have a “disease” by the way, there is absolutely NO evidence for that very dangerous concept, which ruins people’s lives by giving them false reason to abdicate responsibility and control)
Over-stimulation of pleasure centers tells the brain on the deepest level that whatever is creating the stimulation should be your utmost priority…
This is why, for example, so much violence surrounds the crack-cocaine culture. Crack is deep pleasure inhaled through the lungs, and the body comes to associate the availability of this pleasure with survival AT THE SAME LEVEL as oxygen. Literally, violent acts in service of obtaining crack are driven from a biological perception very similar to suffocation.
And don’t be too quick to dismiss the the crack-cocaine culture as irrelevant to less dangerous addictions (or to internet marketing behavior, as we shall soon see)…
Because I’m only using an extreme example to illustrate the point…
Although the consequences may not be as serious, and despite the fact that it’s socially sanctioned and supported, it’s equally as true for chocolate as it is for crack!
“Just hand over the chocolate and nobody gets hurt.” Anyone who’s experienced the pain of chocolate addiction knows there’s a fundamental truth in this cultural joke.
Even better, think of the last time you had two plates of pasta instead of one, that extra muffin or donut, or just a little too much to drink despite that voice in your head that says “I really shouldn’t, but oh well, I guess I will”… that was your primitive brain–the lizard–overwhelming your neocortex (you!)
(By the way–because the neocortex holds dominance over virtually all primitive impulses–once you recognize what’s going on you can INSTANTLY retake full control without any fancy tricks, extensive treatment, or years-long introspective analysis. The lizard brain can only win the game when it goes unrecognized. For more on this, including effective, simple techniques for retaking control, please read “The Art of AVRT” by Jack Trimpey)
Now, the consequences of not recognizing (or misunderstanding) this addictive process are tragic.
Because in the extreme, the sting of addictive pleasure causes a re-organization of the personality AROUND the pleasure inducing substance…
Literally, the addict’s life becomes DEFINED by that pleasure. Most of their waking life is spent planning for, thinking about, or savoring their precious moments with their drug of choice… to the exclusion of other fundamentally valuable activities, people, family bonds, and moral reasoning…
What first begins as the intake of artificially concentrated pleasure becomes a biological error “run amok” with the power to ruin the life not only of the addict, but anyone who loves him (or her) too…
The addict literally abandons reason, dignity, and most norms of human society to pursue a substance driven life.
Moreover, (s)he seeks a “counter-culture” within which to support his or her new sense of morality and what’s important in life. Anyone who “doesn’t get it” is shunned by the new culture, thought of us “uncool”, “crazy”, or even dangerous!
Hopefully my little treatise has convinced you of the power of artificially concentrated pleasure, and it’s ability to totally overtake human psychology.
Now let’s talk about what this has to do with business.
And in order to overcome any counter-culture pressure regarding what I’m about to say, I want to remind you I’ve billed over $20,000,000 in consulting, worked for dozens of Fortune 500 companies, built and sold an internet marketing agency, entered over a dozen markets profitably myself, seen the dollars-in-to-dollars-out results of hundreds of internet businesses, and successfully marketed my own clinical and coaching practice, generating over 1,000 new client sessions in the span of approximately 6 years.
So hopefully you’ll take me seriously when I tell you this: Businesses that succeed BIG TIME online and off overwhelmingly focus on the fundamentals:
- Generating leads with ONE advertising source they truly master through and through before moving to diversify it with another
- Building lists of prospects
- Converting those prospects with stellar market research, copywriting, and follow up
- Increasing the lifetime value of every customer with back end products and services
- Systematizing operations and customer service with quality control
- Effectively managing cash flow and growth
Period, end of story.
Now, there’s nothing to stop social media from being included as a traffic source for some businesses following these principles…
But as a practical matter what I’ve found is…
THE MORE A BUSINESS FOCUSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA THE MORE THEY ARE NEGLECTING ONE OR MORE OF THE FUNDAMENTALS THAT DRIVE SOLID AND SECURE GROWTH
And I think I know why…
Social Media is Artificially Concentrated Pleasure
Just like chocolate, it fills a biologically hardwired need…
The need to be a member of the herd…
Which in nature protects the individual from danger, making it more likely they’ll be fed, and less likely they’ll be killed by neighboring tribes, wild animals, etc.
Social Media Feels GOOD with a Capital G!
But unless you’re using it to build lists you can track, and unless those lists are ALSO tracked back to MONEY MAKING CONVERSIONS, then you too, my friend, are under the sting of addictive pleasure, and whether you know it or not, your personality is being reorganized around it (at the expense of your bottom line)
And all you need to do is pause, RECOGNIZE when this is happening, ask yourself if your social media activity is truly trackable back to one of the fundamentals above. If not, just change course… you don’t have a “social media disease”, you’re NOT “powerless”, and you CAN log off Facebook, as painful as it might seem at first.
Now, sometimes a particular addictive pleasure sweeps the culture like an infection gone wild…
And before you know it, what seemed like a small counter-culture BECOMES the culture.
Which is exactly, in my not-so-humble opinion, what’s happening to us right now!
It’s also exactly why very few people will care for the words on this page today…
Why I’ll be labeled a “dinosaur”, “has been”, or other derogatory outsider’s term.
But just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s right.
Crowd psychology is capable of witch hunting, genocide, and all sorts of other horrendous behavior in the name of what’s “now”, “hip”, or “in” at any given moment.
I don’t expect to change the world…
But if I can help just a few of you see through the madness, I’ll rest just that much easier this Sunday morning.
And while everyone else is socializing, I’ll be quietly buying media, building lists, writing my ass off, adding back end products and services, and working on my operations.
Feeling Just a Little Bit Dangerous,
Dr. G 🙂
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