Neuromarketing – the next generation of marketing

22.11.2017

by Yoana Velikova, Digital Marketing Executive

Up until recently, the connection between psychology and marketing wasn’t very well understood and mentioning the two in the same sentence would bring up the question: ‘How are the two even related?’ Neuromarketing is a relatively new field in science, a hybrid between psychology and marketing.

In its core lies the interest towards physiological processes in the brain that occur while a person interacts with a brand or a product.

The best are already using it

Neuromarketing isn’t about unethical manipulation of customers’ wishes and motivations. It’s only purpose is to better understand their needs. Expecting the customer’s needs is what differentiates the truly successful companies and products. If, say, 10 years ago someone had told you you’d be logging into a website every day to share pictures and read other people’s statuses, you would probably laugh. Facebook is one of the biggest examples of a company that expects people’s needs and satisfies them even before they realise they have such needs – in this case, the need for easier communication, belonging, closeness and so on.

And did you ever stop to think why some people would spend thousands for a bag or a pair of shoes just because its from a certain brand or a designer? Because their wish to own something from the specific designer is so strong, but it’s not born out of logic – it’s emotional. This decision is made on a subconscious level, influenced by these neuropsychological processes that interest the marketers of the new age.

What is going on in the brain?

After centuries of examinations, guesses and hypothesizing, only in the end of the 19th century the scientists from Angelo Mosso’s team have managed to to actually ‘look’ inside the brain. It wasn’t until a century after, that brain scanners like fMRI, CAT and PET, were made – and we still use them today. Since the 1970s, there have been thousands and thousands of experiments and studies that have shown that our moods, habits and behaviours have biological roots.

Scientists have demonstrated that different brain regions are responsible for different emotions – for example, the amygdala, one of the brain’s oldest structures, is responsible for our sense or fear and aggression. With the help of brain scanners, studies have found that a smaller amygdala is associated with antisocial behaviours and aggression. The front part of our brains, called the frontal cortex, is responsible for the sense of self and self-control. Lesions in this part of the brain is often associated with big changes in the personality and habits.

The brain is often guided by the desire for rewards and pleasure. Emotions have a big influence over the decision-making process, often much more than logic and reason. Most of all, the brain loves visual stimuli and relies on them heavily when faced with a decision – don’t forget this next time you plan a big campaign or a product launch.

The brain in marketing

Using the array of knowledge about the brain and the processes inside of it, marketers are getting more and more interested in neuromarketing. The key is to find the winning formula for a good product, brand or service so that they can give customers more quality campaigns and a better message, and in doing so – not waste people’s time.

This is getting harder and harder with the digital transformation because nowadays, everyone with a computer and internet access, is creating content online. However, this is rarely successful. Even those, who do it well, don’t quite understand how to influence the public in a outstanding way. This is where neuromarketing comes in handy.

In an empirical way, this discipline demonstates how various adverts and products impact our brains. In his book, ‘Buyology’, Martin Lindstrom tells a very interesting story – one of his own neuromarketing experiments. He showed a big group of smokers different boxes with horrible images, depicting the harm from smoking cigarettes, after which he interviewed them. Almost all of them said that these pictures made them want to smoke less – which would be the perfect result from this anti-smoking campaign. If only it was true. 

The brain scans of the smokers showed that not only these pictures didn’t stop their desire to smoke- they increased it.  The areas associated with reward (a ciggarete) ‘fired up’ (ie become active). All of this leads to more smoking and more buying of cigarettes- contrary to the sought-after effect! This and other studies like measuring skin reaction and eye tracking show that quite often then things people say in various surveys and focus groups, aren’t true.

They verbal answers are influenced by various factors such as their desire to be accepted, not to be judged, to give good and socially acceptable answers. Neuromarketing shows opinions that can’t be controlled consciously and therefore, are more genuine. If we could understand them, we can create better digital and traditional marketing campaigns and messages.

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author-yoana-velikovaAbout the author: Yoana Velikova has solid knowledge and experience in SEO, SEM (including AdWords and Tag Manager), display advertising, statistics and data management, social media management and advertising, email marketing and Google Analytics. She is responsible for all digital elements and she is certified by Google. You can reach her on digital@next-consult.com.

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