The astonishing hypothesis, as described by Nobel Laureate Francis Crick, is the idea that all human feelings, thoughts, and actions—even consciousness itself—are simply the products of neural activity in the brain. The promise of this concept for marketers is that neurobiology can reduce the uncertainty and conjecture that have traditionally hampered efforts to understand consumer behavior.
Neuromarketing, also known as consumer neuroscience, is the study of the brain in order to predict and potentially manipulate consumer behavior and decision-making. Previously regarded as an extravagant "frontier science," neuromarketing has been bolstered in the last five years by several groundbreaking studies demonstrating its potential to create value for marketers.
Even as the validity of neuromarketing is established, marketers are still unsure whether it is worth the investment. What are the most useful tools? How can it be done properly? To answer these questions, marketers must first understand the various techniques involved, how they are used in academia and industry, and what future possibilities they hold.
What is Neuromarketing?
Making decisions used to be simple. Consumers are bombarded with information these days. Even the most basic products are adrift in a sea of possibilities. In the United States alone, over 80 brands of bottled water are sourced.
To make matters worse, Interbrand consistency is implicit in the water market—after all, there can only be so much variation in a tasteless product. So, what makes a consumer choose Aquafina over Evian? There really isn't a simple answer. Packaging, shelving, personal experience with the product, brand reputation, or any combination of these factors could be to blame.
It is more than difficult; it is impossible to wade through the sea of options to make a logical purchase. This rule is applicable to almost any product. As a result, almost all consumer decisions are made subconsciously, far from conscious reasoning.
Nonetheless, the majority of marketers conduct market research using traditional methods (focus groups, surveys, etc.). If we accept that consumers cannot consciously express the reasons for their purchasing decisions, why should we rely on what they say to inform our marketing and advertising efforts?
Simply put, neuromarketing is the only method for collecting information directly from the source of human decision-making: the subconscious.
But how exactly does it work? Is it also worthwhile to make the investment?
Neuromarketing is the scientific study of how people's brains respond to advertising and other brand-related messages through brainwave activity, eye tracking, and skin response.
These neuromarketing techniques are used to study the brain in order to predict consumer behavior. Neuromarketing can also be used to try to influence consumer behavior. Marketers use neural and other physiological signals to gain insight into the motivations, preferences, and decision-making processes of their customers.
They also use this research to forecast the performance of a specific product, service, or marketing campaign.
What is Neuromarketing used for?
The inability to immediately see how neuromarketing can be implemented into existing business practices contributes to some of the confusion surrounding it. The problem is that neuromarketing has many applications, so most explanations of its utility are vague and imprecise, adding to the confusion.
The flexibility of neuromarketing, while initially perplexing, is also the industry's most valuable asset. In practice, neuromarketing can be used to answer almost any research question about a product that a marketer might have—even questions that traditional marketing research cannot answer.
For example, one brand may use SST to see if the end branding of an advertisement is encoded in long-term memory, whereas another brand may use the same technology to optimize their ad for mobile platforms. Neuromarketing has no single application. The methodology and technology to be implemented are defined by the neuromarketing research topics, not the other way around.
Here are just a few of the primary applications of neuromarketing:
Product design evaluation
TV advertisement optimization on a second-by-second basis
Audio branding research
Neuro-marketers' primary goal is to understand buyers' decision-making processes in order to create compelling products and campaigns that delight customers to the fullest. Given how difficult it is to stand out from the crowd, this procedure can bring a wealth of assets to the table.
Gerard Zaltman was one of the first experts associated with neuromarketing. He studied the human subconscious and how specific images can elicit a positive emotional response and influence purchase decisions. Many similar experiments and studies have since been conducted, shedding light on many previously unknown aspects of consumer behavior.
Principles of Neuromarketing:
For many people, the field of neuromarketing is new and somewhat complicated. Marketers' lives are made easier by neuroscience. Prior to neuromarketing, marketers relied solely on traditional market research methods such as focus groups, interviews, and field trials to learn about the interests of their customers.
Market research conducted traditionally reveals less than what neuromarketing can reveal for your customers by reading their brain activity. As a result, we can say that neuromarketing technology assists marketers in understanding how the brain of a specific person reacts to a specific situation using various resources and tactics.
Here are four neuromarketing principles you can use to keep your current customers and acquire new ones:
Principles of Neuromarketing
It is undeniable that if a product or service appears to be scarce or in short supply, people are more likely to purchase it. The reason for this is that the desire to gain something can outweigh the fear of missing out. Marketers who understand the concept of scarcity use it to increase demand for their products.
Supreme and Yeezy popularized the concept of the product "drop," which occurs when less product than demand is offered for sale, causing limited-edition drops to sell out in minutes.
The Psychology of Habit:
The logic behind developing a habit is straightforward: repetition is key. It is said that if you want to be prominent on any channel, make people crave your presence by intentionally or unintentionally become their habit.
The same is true for your business, which is why gamification and subscription services have recently become popular. People crave these games after playing them repeatedly because they have become unintentional habits.
Also Read: Marketing Psychology: Relevance & Application
Almost all of us want someone in our lives who understands our feelings without expressing them. What if technology takes care of this for us? Nothing could be better, can it?
The primary goal of neuromarketing is to understand people's emotions through various techniques as it learns about how people think about a particular subject. It's a great way to tweak your marketing campaigns or advertisements so that consumers respond positively. Many well-known companies have used neuromarketing technology for this purpose and have seen tremendous success.
Humans are social creatures, and our behavior is often influenced by societal norms. A person is more likely to act if those around him or her act. If several people buy a particular product or service, it acts as "social proof," and more people will follow that specific behavior, increasing demand for that product or service.
For example, testimonials in marketing are a way to attract customers because seeing how other people benefited from a particular product or service can be a powerful motivator to engage in the same behavior (e.g. purchase).
Top Neuromarketing Techniques:
Understanding the complexities of human behavior is not easy. Assume you want to investigate how people react to a specific promotional campaign. How will you accomplish this?
The following are the primary techniques that experts employ:
Because one part of the brain is responsible for unconscious neural activity, brain scanning is one of the most effective methods for understanding human behavior. However, in order to conduct these studies efficiently and safely, someone must understand how the brain works.
The prefrontal cortex, for example, regulates higher cognitive functions like attention and thought processing, whereas the limbic system is activated during emotional responses. Alternatively, according to Kahneman's theory, the brain is divided into two systems: System 1 includes all automated and intuitive reactions, and System 2 is the analytical and reasoning side of the brain.
To monitor these processes, experts can use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or electroencephalograms (EEG). Both methods can demonstrate how the brain reacts to various marketing stimuli but in different ways.
Overall, EEG can capture more direct information about neural activity in real time, whereas fMRI is limited in time due to measurement limitations. Furthermore, fMRI should be done in a lab, whereas EEG can be done anywhere.
Segmentation of Customers:
Customer segmentation is at the heart of personalized marketing, which has gained traction in the business world. You can deliver tailored experiences to customers and please them to the greatest extent possible by dividing them into different groups based on variables such as demographics or behavioral data.
Assume you want to delve deeper into your customers' behavioral data. To monitor brain activity or physiological and emotional arousal, neuroscientific methodologies such as electroencephalography or GSR can be used.
Someone might argue that you can get the same information from customer surveys. However, these sources are less credible because certain cognitive biases can interfere, resulting in inconsistent responses to a "marketing cue.”
Also Read: Customer Behavioral Analytics - An Overview
Campaigns That Worked:
You begin your promotional efforts after conducting market research to determine buyer preferences and habits related to a product/service. So, how do you ensure that a campaign is well-received and influential?
If you know your buyer personas and are about to launch a large campaign, you can use a neuromarketing method to see the results. Marketers can draw safer conclusions about buyer reactions using neuroimaging and facial coding tests before developing a go-to-market strategy. So why not try them out?
Big brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi frequently use such methods to ensure the success of their products and promotional efforts. We understand that these techniques may be expensive, but it's better to be safe than sorry when launching your next big hit.
Have you ever been to IKEA? If you answered yes, you've probably realized that you can't leave without purchasing at least one item. This is because the store is designed in such a way that visitors get a tour and a glimpse of all product categories before they reach the Exit sign.
If you don't own an IKEA department store, but rather a local shop, there are still ways to help visitors understand your brand. Make fine product categories with clear labels and present them in a simple but elegant manner. It will allow them to process information more quickly and find their desired products in record time.
Also Read: Marketing Strategies Used By Supermarkets
In terms of both knowledge and financial resources, access to this equipment is difficult. As a result, most neuromarketing experts conduct their research in universities or business schools.
To detect arousal or attention, experts can use simpler methods from neuroscience research based on biometrics. Let's look at the most popular methods:
Eye-tracking measures arousal through pupil dilation or attention through fixation points in the eyes. It detects emotions by analyzing facial expressions. Heart rate: It reflects emotions such as anxiety or excitement.
To summarize, breaking through the clutter is becoming increasingly difficult, and marketers who understand the most fundamental roots of human emotion have a significant advantage. The beauty of neuromarketing is that it can be incorporated into both inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
From spraying your store with a distinctive fragrance to using baby pictures in advertising, we can see that the brain is responding in the same way subconsciously. For marketers, and if the budget allows, neuromarketing is essential for better understanding your customers' preferences.