To get more sales, market to the "lizard brain"...?

​A few years ago, I stopped marketing to the reptilian brain.

My conscience could no longer tolerate it…

By “lizard brain” I mean the parts within people that are governed by fear, greed, and impatience.

​See the image below that breaks down a real example…
Example of Lizard-Brain Marketing

Yes, my sales cycle is a bit longer now. When people find my website randomly, they’re no longer immediately triggered or incentivized to opt-in or to buy from me. It takes them more time to get to know my values, my expertise, and my way of doing things.

Yet, the clients I now get are a much better fit.And, I’m able to connect with them about my higher values, which makes our work together more fulfilling.

My marketing is no longer going against the values I believe in. I’ve made the commitment to prioritize virtues above quick sales results, and to help others become conscious of the values they’re supporting so that they can be more empowered in their business.

(You might get more short-term sales by manipulating people’s lower selves, but over time this erodes your relationship with your audience, eats away at your conscience, and spawns bad karma.)

​Those who market to the lizard brain are breeding more lizard-brain-dominance in their audience.

By inciting the people’s lizard brain, marketers (and politicians) do in fact gain more control over their audience in the short-term. It’s power-over others, rather than empowerment of others.

I seek instead to help my audience grow their knowledge and ability to make good choices, not to diminish their free will for my own profit.

By marketing to the lizard brain, they’re also breeding more fear, greed, and impatience in society. So what if we short-term profit if it actually creates a society we don’t want?

​When I stopped doing this type of marketing, I also made the choice to stop supporting the companies that use such tactics. Therefore I don’t use some software that’s popular in my industry. (I won’t name them, but you’ll recognize them when you see their lizard-brain marketing.) Thankfully, these days there are many alternative choices. We can work with providers that do more heart-based marketing. This supports our internal alignment with our values too.

There are authentic ways to make more than enough sales.

I am happy to say that by prioritizing service over selling, I now have a full coaching practice, without using lizard-brain tactics. (To understand this better, refer to my articles about authentic marketing.)

I am always exploring better ways to run my business that align with deeper values. I love teaching methods what I discover to be both effective and good for the heart.

May we all commit to more compassionate and wiser ways of marketing, knowing that even before people buy from us, our marketing itself makes an impact!

​Article originally written in 2017, updated 2020.

Feel free to share this post forward, to help uplift the marketing conversation:

​All of George's content, including this post, is freely in the Creative Commons (CCBY).

To get George's best articles through email, subscribe to George Kao's email newsletter.

Since 2009, George Kao has been training and coaching entrepreneurs to build authentic businesses that cultivate fulfillment, freedom, and contribution.