Think Bigly

The McGurk effect: Why your marketing must be emotional (not rational)

Paul Green Content, getting new clients, increasing profit

Have you ever heard of the McGurk effect?

This clip from a BBC documentary explains it very well.

Freaky, isn’t it? How the sound changes depending on what your eyes are seeing.

This is because our brain applies a filter over what we are experiencing.

I was recently reminded about the McGurk effect while listening to an audio book called Win Bigly. It describes how Donald Trump managed to become President.



The author Scott Adams (him of the Dilbert cartoons) believes Trump to be a Master Influencer, who spoke to the American people at a deep emotional level.

The book explains that humans are not rational at all, and do not make decisions rationally. We actually make them emotionally. But crucially, we believe we make them rationally.

To quote different sections of the book:

“People are irrational 90% of the time but don’t realise it.

“Our brains cannot accept that we are irrational 90% of the time. So they create an illusion to explain it away. Trouble is we don’t know this is happening.”

This illusion is like a filter that sways what we are experiencing:

“Each of us is living in a little movie a brain has cooked up for us to explain what’s happening around us.”

This is why I’ve been banging a drum for years and years that your marketing always needs to talk to people’s emotions, and not their brains.

They do not pick an MSP with their brains, and never have done. This is as true for a CEO with thousands of users, as it is for a small business owner with 3 users.

They pick an MSP with their hearts… then rubber stamp the decision with their brains.

An action for you off the back of this article

Have a good look at your website and marketing materials. Are you trying to appeal to people emotionally or rationally?

If it’s rationally, then you have a problem and need to fix that ASAP.

If you’d like our help reviewing your site, you can request a complimentary website review here.

Important: We don’t sell websites or any done for you digital marketing services.

A complimentary website review is simply a good chance for us to talk, and move our relationship on. Maybe at some point you’ll discuss our MSP Mastermind. Maybe you won’t. Genuinely doesn’t make a difference to us either way.