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Why Marketing Starts with Understanding The Problems

Would you ever step in dog poo?

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

It’s 7 AM. It’s a beautiful morning. The sun isn’t too bright and the wind is smelling fresh. You’re feeling a soft breeze against your skin. The birds are chirping. And, there’re trees all around you.

As you’re enjoying the walk — you see a problem — there’s dog poo on your path.

Now, you’re all careful that you don’t step in the poo.

Logically, dog poo is something you should care least about on such a beautiful morning.

Yet, all your attention goes towards avoiding it.

This is because problems make your brain uncomfortable — your brain doesn’t want you to get into a problem.

It knows the poo is icky, it’s sticky. Perhaps it has caused you trouble in the past. And so it gets all the attention.

Sean D’Souza writes in his book The Brain Audit,

Problems seem to activate our brains. And when you bring up the problem in your marketing materials, sales pitches, and presentations, you are in turn activating the brains of your customers.”

— Sean D’ Souza

John Cacioppo did research, where he showed three sets of pictures to a group of people.

The first set was pictures of things that arose positive feelings, like pizza or Ferrari. The second set stirred up problems, like a dead cat or a mutilated face. The third set had pictures of things that get neutral emotions, like a plate or a table.

He recorded the electrical activity of each participant’s cerebral cortex. John found that the brain reacts more to problems.

Communicate with problems.

As Sean puts it, “If you’re not solving a problem in some new and interesting way, then what’s the point of your product or service?”



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Noman Shaikh

Noman Shaikh


Copywriter & Marketing Consultant | Crazy about psychology and human behaviour | Web: