Many see neuromarketing as a kind of “dark art” designed to force consumers to buy the brand. In reality , neuromarketing indicates a recent discipline aimed at identifying communication channels more direct to the purchasing decision-making processes, through the use of methodologies linked to the discoveries of neuroscience. It is a discipline that blends traditional marketing (economics) with neurology (medicine) and psychology (behavioral science) and aims to illustrate what happens in people’s brains in response to certain stimuli related to products, brands or advertising with the aim to determine the strategies that lead to purchase.
Understanding how the human psyche works is critical to successful marketing – in fact, creating an emotional connection with the customer has been shown to have 52% more value than customer satisfaction.
The benefits of neuromarketing
The reality is that neuromarketing helps marketers overcome some of the human barriers in traditional market research by penetrating superficial emotions into the subconscious and measuring emotional markers in real time rather than during recall. Focus groups and consumer surveys aim to understand consumer preferences and attitudes. But asking consumers questions isn’t always the best way to get accurate answers. Rather than relying on the declared responses from stimuli (“I like this more”, for example), neuromarketing uses other tactics to see what is really going on in the brain. The same techniques apply whether you are asking about political preferences or researching a new product design.
The primary methods of neuromarketing
Neuromarketing is not one thing – there are many ways to conduct this cutting-edge research. The main methods of neuromarketing research include:
- Electroencephalography (EEG), which can measure attention, emotional engagement, and memory stimulation.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which can detect with areas of the brain, is stimulated, showing real-time indications of emotions such as trust, anger, desire and disgust.
- Eye tracking, which helps us understand how humans process visual stimuli and can improve the user experience on websites.
- Biometrics, which measures the body’s response to stimuli by looking at blood pressure, skin response, breathing, heart rate, and sweat gland production.
Neuromarketing, however, does not seek to replace traditional market research, but to complement it. As Dooley explains, “ Some people think neuromarketing means the end of traditional market research like surveys, focus groups, etc. Neuromarketing studies augment, rather than replace, other approaches. The highest predictive power usually comes from the combination of multiple techniques. “
Neuromarketing metrics can help us find out what’s really going on behind the claimed response or expected response. Knowing this helps marketers better understand product design, branding, advertising, and customer experiences. The advantage? This not only makes it more profitable for brands, but creates a better overall customer experience.
Neuromarketing myths and realities
Let’s take a look at some popular myths on this topic and set the record straight:
1. Neuromarketing makes people do things they don’t want
Many believe that what we consume has tremendous power over us – and that there are neuromarketers to harness that power. In fact, marketers can use neuromarketing to help design better products, packaging, and brand items that are crafted to create a deeper emotional bond with consumers. But it’s not magical. Product market suitability assessments are still important and should take place prior to any neuromarketing assessment.
2. Neuromarketing is not based on any science
What is really happening, based on recent solid science, is this: the gap between what neuromarketers claim to know about the human brain and what the scientific canon knows is very close. Neuromarketing is no longer pseudoscience, since research is scientifically valid, neuroscience can have tangible and applicable results.
3. It is too early to know if neuromarketing really works
The emotional brand strategy dates back to ancient times: artists imprinted their products with a brand. That “mark” was made not only to identify the creator; it conveyed a prestige, an emotional connection between seller and buyer. It was the beginning of brand recognition and loyalty. Likewise, applying psychological principles to improve ad effectiveness, appealing to consumers’ emotions, needs and weaknesses, are very useful strategies.
Neuromarketing simply serves to visualize results more effectively.
Emotional appeal has always been central to advertising and brand development. Neuromarketing can help objectively assess how our products and messages affect audience emotions and habits, delivering real value to brands.
4. The evil marketers have already hacked your brain
Since the 1950s, when the debate on subliminal advertising broke out, this myth has remained in the collective imagination. There has been enough anecdotal evidence to suggest this myth actually works. In truth, the brainwashing era has not yet arrived. There is a world of difference between seeing that a brain is busy (via EEG, for example) and understanding why it is busy.
“ Maybe there is something that looks like a buy button in the brain. What neuroscientists have discovered over the years is that our instinctual self has a greater impact on our final decisions than the rational “we” or even the emotional “we”. “- Patrick Renvoise.
The truth is that while neuromarketing can certainly influence marketing strategies it certainly cannot enter people’s minds. But for marketers working in the age of the attention economy, it is worth exploring a better understanding of consumer preferences and their emotional triggers.
Beyond the myths of neuromarketing
The art and science of selling have always existed. Because science can help us better visualize what’s going on inside our customers’ heads, we can become not only better at selling, but better at developing real relationships with our customers, based on a real emotional connection.
Neuromarketing actually improves the outcome for the client, as they can really get what they are looking for (even if they don’t really know what it is). When we take a more serious look at neuromarketing and the promise it offers to brands and the consumer, we can go beyond the myths and truly embrace the significance of this paradigm shift in marketing.