Elections bring clarity. But they also can bring uncertainty. 

Today, millions of people are waking up feeling uncertain. Not because of “their” candidate, but because of the “other” candidate. 

This column isn’t about politics. It’s about engaging the primitive brain. And when you want to engage the primitive brain, you do so with FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Uncertainty creates fear. Uncertainty creates doubt. It’s a powerful emotion—powerful because the human brain is primitive. And if your marketing messaging ignores this fact, you not likely to get through.

Last week I had the honor of speaking at the National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America (NEOMA) conference in Boston. Their theme was “Cracking the Customer Code,” and my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” was tailor made for this event where I spoke about the primitive brain.

My presentation covered far more than I can share in an email, of course, but today’s simple reminder is this: Our brains are primitive. This morning, millions of voters of all political persuasions are waking up to uncertainty with who will lead our country.

My advice to marketers right now: use uncertainty to your advantage. That is, what can you do to bring a sense of certainty to your prospects and customers? Certainty that good health can be supported. Certainty that a financial future can be made more secure. Certainty that relationships can endure.

Cracking the customer’s mind code is complex, yet there is one simple item we must keep in perspective: our brains are still, at their core, primitive.

And until you break through uncertainty, the brain blocks out everything else.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.