What is neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience and cognitive science to marketing. It involved the measurement of peoples' physiological and neural signals to understand triggers, motivations, and buying behaviors.
It’s becoming increasingly complex and challenging to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Wouldn’t it be great if small businesses and marketers understood how people think and make purchasing decisions?
This is possible through the science of neuromarketing.
Neuromarketing combines neuroscience, social psychology, and market research to inform advertising, product design, pricing, design, and other decisions.
Neuromarketing is not a new concept. Large companies heavily rely on neuromarketing for sales, go-to-market, and advertising strategies.
But this elusive science is no longer exclusive to a select few businesses. Marketers and small business owners can also use neuromarketing to improve their strategies and grow their businesses.
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Neuromarketing uses scientific methods to track body movement and brain activity to provide brands and marketers insights on how to communicate best, motivate, and influence their target audience. Among other tools, scientists use:
- Electroencephalography (EEG). An EEG is a brain-imaging scan that measures brain activity via electrodes placed on the scalp. This technique shows what stimulus activates which specific regions of the brain.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). An fMRI is a brain imaging test that uses magnetic fields to track blood flow through the brain. An fMRI can reveal a customer’s neural reactions, recall, and degree of engagement with a product, design, or content.
- Eye-tracking. This method helps marketers observe and measure the attention of a test subject through their eye movement. This method also records pupil dilation, which measures a customer’s arousal.
- Facial expressions tracking. This method uses tools to identify and track micro-changes in people’s facial expressions. This is useful in measuring a customer’s emotional response with quantitative data that measures abstract emotions such as joy, sadness, anger, disgust, or fear.
- Heart rate monitoring. Through sensors attached to cardiovascular points, users can track and record the increase or decrease of a person’s heart rate. The changes are indicative of uncontrolled emotional responses such as arousal or excitement.
Here are nine examples of how you can improve marketing, product design, and branding with neuromarketing:
1. Use images strategically in ads
Images with people, especially babies, tend to attract longer and more focused attention.
But, when a person in the ad is looking directly at you, people tend to focus more on the face and less on the content or ad. When the person is looking at the content, readers are naturally prompted to also look at the content. Studies looking at the effectiveness of baby photos in ads demonstrate this well.
Pick images that create a natural eye flow to the accompanying copy rather than away from the copy.
2. Pick appropriate colors
Colors influence purchasing decisions. So, don’t simply pick colors you like. Select colors that fit your products, messaging, and audience. Here’s a look at how 21 brands use different colors to influence customers>.
3. Use effective product packaging
It’s not always what’s inside that counts. People are drawn to attractive product packaging.
Neuroimaging has shown that consumers subconsciously respond to marketing stimuli, including packaging.
4. Eliminate decision paralysis
Marketers and business owners used to believe that customers wanted choice. But it turns out that having too much choice creates decision paralysis.
Less can be more.
5. Leverage loss aversion
People often worry more about what they might lose than what they might gain. That’s why “limited stock” advertising strategies are highly effective.
How you present decisions to people (called “framing”) impacts their decision-making. And importantly, if consumers feel that indecision will lead to a loss, they are more likely to buy something.
6. Take advantage of the anchoring effect
The first piece of info people hear is critically important because it is often the basis for subsequent decisions. This happens because people can rarely assess the intrinsic value of something and instead compare it to alternatives. You can leverage this by taking advantage of the “anchoring effect.”
7. Set the right price
We often see items prices end in .99 instead of an even number.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s a reason for this, but it doesn’t apply in all cases. The correct pricing depends on the accompanying messaging.
8. Include critical features in website design
Neuromarketing also informs how websites are designed. From streamlined navigation to strong photos and social proof, your eCommerce website must have numerous vital website design features to succeed.
9. Supplement market research with science
Traditional market research such as surveys and focus groups is limited in scope and accuracy. Even in the most accurate surveys, brands and marketers still find discrepancies between what people consciously say they do versus what they do.
People may say one thing and do something else.
People often lie.
But the brain does not.
That’s because the subconscious mind is more influential than people think. More than 90% of our decisions are made subconsciously.
Neuromarketing mitigates the conscious and subconscious gap, allowing brands and marketers to understand decision-making triggers, motivations, and patterns.
Neuromarketing derives data methods and tools that track and measure people’s unconscious reactions. This data reveals more about customers’ preferences, desires, and attitudes than typical and controlled responses from questionnaires and supervised interviews.
So, continue to do market research, but supplement your research with data from studies that can help you improve your marketing and advertising.
Every business owner and marketer wants the ability to read the minds of their customers. Neuromarketing makes that possible.
Use the neuromarketing principles we shared above to create better content, design better websites, inspire better product designs, and provide a better customer experience.
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