Humans Have 3 Brains – And You’ve Been Marketing To The Wrong One

Or to be more precise, humans have 3 main parts to their brain (Cerebelum, Limbic and Neo-Cortex) and they each have very different ways of behaving.

First, here’s a very brief bit of background on those 3 parts and what they do:

Cerebelum (the Lizard brain)

Otherwise known as the Brain Stem, this is the part that looks after all of our basic needs from breathing to beating our heart.

In other words, it’s about survival and all of our most basic needs. The lizard gets hungry, scared, angry and horny. It wants to eat, be safe, secure and reproduce.

The lizard controls 50% of our decision-making process.

Limbic (the Mammal brain)

Also known as the Hippocampus and Amygdala, this is one step up from the lizard where we start to feel emotions.

The mammal records memories of behaviour, matching them to both good and bad experiences so we learn from them. Consequently, it is responsible for our emotions and controls much of our sub-conscious behaviour.

The mammal controls 27% of our decision making process.

Neo-Cortex (the Human brain)

Only now, in this third part, do we start to have rational thoughts. Only so-called ‘higher-order’ animals have one like humans, dolphins and some primates.

The Neo-Cortex gives us compassion, reasoning, imagination, creativity and problem-solving skills. Crucially, it also oversees and rationalises the reactions of the lizard and mammal brains… the trouble is that it needs to be consciously activated by one of it’s troublesome siblings, and they don’t always want to (hence, all lack of rational thought when the ‘red mist’ comes down).

The human controls just 23% of our decision-making!

What does all that mean?

It means that we humans are not as logical as we like to think we are.

It means that a whopping 77% of our decision-making process is complete before we start to engage the ‘human brain’ and begin to rationalise the decision.

It means that unless your Neo-Cortex is freakishly powerful, you don’t buy the products and services that are most useful for you. You buy the ones that are marketed and sold the best to the lizard and mammal.

And it’s exactly the same with your prospects and customers.

In most markets I’ve seen (not all by any means, but most) the top businesses have products that are all largely the same. Sure, a few features here and there are different but they all do pretty much the same quality job.

What gives each business its customers and makes some customers very loyal is how well they have been marketed and sold to. In many ways, even your post-sales service is just another form of selling and marketing.

Some of your competitors are not as good as you. Maybe they care less about their customers as well. But they still nibble away at your market share. It’s because they’ve tapped into the lizard brain more than you have.

And the ONLY way you’re going to do that (unless you get very lucky – like, win-the-lottery-lucky) is by having a deep and specific understanding of your prospects wants, fears, frustrations and desires.


So, you’ve got 3 choices:

  1. Carry on as you are and keep battling on against the competition – some of whom you’ll beat and some of whom will beat you.
  2. Learn how to market to the lizard and mammal brain through my PSM Masterclass
  3. If you don’t have the time to learn and implement it yourself, get me to do it for you


Whatever you decide to do, don’t keep making your marketing ordinary.

Focus on the lizard brain for each of your prospects and customers and see your ROI, your leads and your market share go up.


Phil Cave is the founder of People Shaped Marketing. He helps companies like Samsung, BBC, Ricoh, RBS, Virgin, Lloyds, Stagecoach and Ferrari grow their profits through his unique methodologies. He has been repeatedly labelled as one of the “Top Digital Experts in Europe” and “One of the World’s leading minds in Persona-driven Marketing”. He has worked at some of the biggest agencies in London before owning, running and eventually selling his own successful digital marketing consultancy.