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Using your brain requires energy, which is why you’re exhausted after a hard day of thinking through complex problems at work - not to mention juggling everything in your personal life.

So it should come as no surprise that your prospects have the same challenges every day. Laura Leszczynski says this is why your messaging as a club marketer has to be clear and easy for your prospects to understand.

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Understanding the Brain

Lecsczynski, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Strategic Club Solutions has spent years studying how the brain works. She uses this knowledge to help her clients influence prospects and engage members. Laura explains the advantage of neuromarketing by claiming that “it allows us to get a head start on marketing.”

Lesczczynski speaks publicly on this topic -- including at the 2019 PCMA National Conference in Dallas -- and she says neuromarketing is the science of human decision while marketing is all about influencing the decision-making process.

"When you know what parts of the brain are making a decision, you can speak to those parts of the brain,” she said. Add in the fact that it’s scientifically proven that your brain is always looking for shortcuts, and you can understand why it’s important that, as marketers, we know how to influence specific parts of the brain.

So what does this mean for the Club Membership Director, Sales and Marketing Leader, or even General Manager? If the goal is to influence thinking and behavior, then a basic understanding of the brain can increase the chances of success.

Information Overload

Our brains are powerful and can process a tremendous amount of information quickly. Yet, too much information causes us to shut down. According to Leszczynski, there are 3,000 commercial messages pulling at your prospects every day. So, if your club offers 5 or 6 different membership categories to choose from, that may be information overload.

Why? “Because the brain doesn’t want to work extra,” she says. “It’s busy keeping you alive, it’s busy keeping your heart rate going, it’s busy keeping your temperature under control. The brain is always on.”

Remember: Keep your messaging simple because your prospects already have a lot on their mind - even when they don’t realize it!

Be Empathetic

When positioning your marketing assets or messages, be empathetic. View your messaging and collateral through the eyes of your members or prospects.

Our brains are actively processing information that we filter to determine what is essential for our survival, emotions, and arousal. If you’re not able to position that information in a way that appeals to the mind of the prospect, you’ll lose them. This is one of the reasons we shut down when we meet long-winded people or people who talk only about themselves.

Keep it Simple

Marketing Strategist and author of the book Building Your Story Brand, Donald Miller says, “If you confuse, you lose.” To illustrate this point, Leszczynski points to a club's website, a tactical marketing tool that communicates with visitors through its images, copy and layout. It sounds simple, and yet many clubs fail to connect with their website visitors because they depict images of their buildings instead of members enjoying themselves at their club. 

“People are assessing quickly because the brain doesn’t want to work. They want to look at it and say, ‘Would I fit in here? Do I belong here?’,” says Leszczynski. And so often, these images do not help the visitor who is trying to find answers to these questions. Or worse, the images do not actually represent the culture of the club.

Additionally, many club marketers that Leszczynski works with also make the mistake of using language that is cumbersome and hard to follow, creating more confusion for the visitor.

Tell Stories

All clubs have stories to share and they can be shared through words, pictures, and videos. But why are stories so important? A well-told story engages the brain and allows the person to process information faster with a higher retention rate. We see this practice more and more today, including this advertisement featuring NBA star Dwayne Wade.

But why is that? Leszczynski says that “stories are the universal human language.” Stories are a tribal way of communicating that has its roots in the beginning of time. There’s also a neurological reason for this. Laura says stories activate “mirror neurons” in our brains which allow us to internalize, or mirror, the information we are receiving.

“So if you’re telling a story, my brain can process what it smells like, what it would taste like, what it would feel like. And when more of those senses are fired up and engaged, the stickier the story, which means we can remember it better."

In the club world, using stories allows us to take someone through the journey of the club and help them understand what membership would be like. However, take heed, a story should be genuine and authentic because as soon as someone feels as though they’re being sold to, Leszczynski says their brain shuts off.

Social Proof

Social proof is a phenomenon first coined in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. Social proof is the idea that people look to others when making decisions - highlighting the value of social influence. Think about how you shop or determine where to have dinner in an unfamiliar city, you are likely to turn to customer reviews or testimonials to guide your behavior. Our brain thinks that if other people say something is good, it must be good! When people say that they like your Club, whether complimenting the Chef's Special or leaving a comment on your Club Facebook page - it has tremendous influence.  Of course, that knife cuts both ways, so it’s important that your club actually delivers on the promises it makes in its marketing communications.

Remember, in this fast-paced world with information coming at us through so many channels, keep in mind how our brain processes information - what it responds to, and what it shuts out. Without an understanding of this basic information, your marketing efforts may fall on deaf ears. After all, our brains are lazy, so make your messages count!

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