Neuromarketing is a field of communications that applies discoveries and principles from neuroscience and neuropsychology to marketing. Neuroscience deals with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain. Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between behavior, emotion, and cognition on the one hand, and brain function on the other.
Since a large part of marketing deals with perception, it’s easy to see how neuroscience can apply to marketing. Neuromarketing seeks to understand the rationale behind how consumers make purchasing decisions and their responses to marketing stimuli to apply those learning in the marketing realm.
The potential benefits to marketers include more efficient and effective marketing campaigns and strategies, fewer product and campaign failures, and ultimately align the real needs and wants of the consumers with marketing strategies.
- Eye tracking
Eye tracking is a technique that follows a subject’s eye movement across a computer screen or physical marketing piece. A computer tracking system usually creates a heat map that shows where the user’s eye lingers on the page. Knowing the places where your customers’ eyes linger can help you put vital information right in front of users.
- Brain scans
Wouldn’t you like to get inside your customers’ brains? Isn’t that the dream of every marketer? Now, with fMRI and EEG equipment, you can do just that. As New Neuromarketing describes it, “These brain scanners are nowadays used by neuromarketers to look at people’s brains in order to create alluring ads, websites and packaging that press the customer’s buy buttons. That might sound a bit unethical, but it’s far less scary than it seems. It just means that scientists can read, quite globally, if consumers like or not like a product, if they feel more like approaching or avoiding a product, or if they get excited or bored by a certain advertisement. Seems a lot like the kind of stuff you would ask in traditional marketing research, right? It just removes the process of deliberately thinking about the answers.”
- Facial coding
We look at people’s faces to find out their responses to social cues. If they are happy or pleased, they smile. If they are nervous or apprehensive, their eyes flit from place to place. If they are upset or concerned, their brows are drawn together. Just as there is special equipment to measure a customer’s mental reaction to a product or marketing display, there are special ways to detect, record, and analyze a customer’s facial expressions in response to marketing cues. Reading your customer’s facial expressions can tell you a lot about their response to what you are trying to sell them.
- Sensory marketing
Sensory marketing involves adding stimulation of hearing, feeling, smell, and sometimes even tasting into the marketing experience. It is a way of getting your customers fully invested in what you are presenting to them. New Neuromarketing states, “So is it really possible that simply smelling something can make people buy more products? Sometimes. With emotional products like the ones sold in a fashion store, a bit of pleasant smells will give customers a whole new experience and will make products seem more exclusive and high end. However, fairly neutral environments like hardware or office retail shops are better off limiting noticeable smells.”
- Mind tricks
Yes, mind tricks. As shady as it sounds, psychologists have found small ways of tricking the brain and making it more receptive to marketing efforts. One such way of doing this is by removing the dollar sign from in front of prices listed on or near products. When the human brain sees a currency sign, it automatically thinks of loss or having to give up hard-earned money. Research has found that people spend significantly more when that loss trigger—the dollar sign—is not there. Little nudges like this can add to your company’s bottom line.
The ultimate power of marketing is being able to get inside your customers’ heads, determine what they are thinking, and capitalize on that. If you can invest in and supply this ability for your own business or for your clients, you can engage in more powerful marketing.