in Book Reviews, Startups

Book Notes: The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit was my first introduction to the world of marketing. It cleanly explained the customer lifecycle, developing a customer persona and the process of convincing a prospect to purchase. If you’re starting out in marketing or sales, this serves as an excellent introduction. Below are my review and notes on the book:

There is a sequence to a customer sale:

  • The Problem
  • The Solution
  • The Target Profile
  • Triggers
  • Objections
  • Testimonials
  • Risk Reversals
  • Uniqueness

Customers are looking for problems, not solutions. If they see a huge dog running towards them, that’s a problem. The solution is to run away.

Show the problem first, then immediately provide the solution.

  • Isolate the problem
  • Write down all problems solved by your product
  • Rank them accordingly
  • Use the most powerful one (make it specific)
  • Instead of ‘eliminate all allergies’ use ‘eliminate pollen allergies’

Target Profile

Target profile is just one person (unlike target audience).

Profile Creation:

  • Start with a demographic
  • Choose a real person from that demographic
  • Speak to that person and find out their problems (with regard to that product/service)
  • Choose one problem then expand on it
  • Use a real person to get feedback

Profile comes before problem and solution because you need to know who you’re talking to.

Every product will solve multiple problems, but you should tailor each marketing message to one problem.

  • You can have different marketing messages for each problem
  • Each message appeals to a different target profile
  • Each sign and each message should be singularly focused

The Trigger

A trigger is the ability of your message to stand out and get attention in a crowded space.

Trigger watering down happens when the problem is too generic and not targeted.

The Rollercoaster Effect

Bringing up the problem again along with the solution.

Once the problem is gone, the customer’s attention wanes. You keep them around by having a rollercoaster effect on them.

You basically bring up the problem and solution at regular intervals. But do not overdo it.

The Objections

A decision brings up objections.

Objections don’t mean that the customer is saying no.

They’re staying around hoping to be convinced that they are not making a mistake.

Don’t hide objections, bring it up front and remove any objections that the customer has.

Three core areas where objections start:

  1. Perceptions
    • What we perceive to be true
  2. Past experiences
    • Based on personal history or another person’s history
  3. Need-to-know
    • The unknown
    • When we’re about to commit to something, we’re not sure what we’re getting into

To generate objections: sit down and brainstorm everything someone can find wrong in the product.

The Testimonials

Reverse Testimonial.

Starts off with skepticism and doubt but then becomes good.

“You know that seedy little restaurant? They have some amazing food!”.

To write a good testimonial, customers need structure so they know what to write.

Six Questions for a powerful testimonial:

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product/service?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this product/service?
  3. What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
  4. What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
  5. Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Email gets shorter responses since we type slower.

Calling the customer will get you much larger responses.

The goal of testimonial is NOT to be sugary.

  • It should remove objections and build trust with a prospect
  • It could also relate to the prospect viewing it

The Risk Reversal

Offer some kind of money back guarantee to offset risk a customer has.

You can name the guarantee to sound unique.

Most customers don’t return products, they just won’t buy from you again.

If many customers are returning products, then that might be a sign to tweak your product early.

Could offer a 50% discount.

Every step you take to reduce risk makes the customers buying decision easier.

Find the hidden risk of buying your product and address it.

For example, being able to return an opened package.

The Uniqueness

You don’t find uniqueness, you invent it.

Choose one factor of uniqueness and base your business around it.

Ask yourself, “what do I want to do with my business that’s different from everyone else?”.

You choose only one because:

  • Makes it simple and understandable
  • Becomes DNA of your company and revolves around it
  • Customers and media start to see you as unique and newsworthy
  • Your uniqueness factor should be everywhere that customers can see

When you think of Volvo, you think safety.

Make a big list of unique factors.

Rank them by weight.

Flesh out the uniqueness for more clarity.

Elaborate on a vague uniqueness.

Qualify for uniqueness. Don’t just say fresh. What does fresh mean?

You can also create a personal uniqueness and propagate that.