Leveraging Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Fear is paralyzing. And fear is important for digital learning marketers to understand and leverage while marketing new technology. 

The amygdala, or lizard brain, has an evolutionary purpose for humans to survive. The amygdala reacts in a “fight” or “flight” mode. It is alert to basic needs: anger, fear, and reproduction with memory formulated over a lifetime as it assesses how to respond to survive and reproduce. 

The right amygdala retains negative emotions, especially fear and sadness. The left amygdala retains both pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

Because we’re wired for fear and negative emotion more dominantly than for positive emotions, fear, uncertainty, and doubt take over.

And these emotions are the most powerful human emotions that digital learning marketers can leverage.

For fear to work, and for you to be credible in your messaging, consider these three pathways:

  1. Begin by stimulating your prospect’s emotion with how you relate to their fear, uncertainty, and doubt (“FUD”). 
  2. Once you have acknowledged and reminded them of their FUD, you’re poised to take the next step of earning trust.
  3. Quickly calm their mind by offering your solution and clearing away the FUD.

When your mind is in constant fear, it’s difficult to think. You’re stuck. You’re frozen. You can’t make up your mind. Your decision-making power is blocked. 

Ed tech marketers can leverage the power of fear to stimulate emotion, but to be effective, you must quickly calm the mind so that decision making is unblocked and you can move your customer to the thinking part of their brain where they can make decisions. 

(DLA VP of Marketing's Gary Hennerberg wrote the original of this column at Target Marketing Magazine).