Understanding Consumers’ Behavior by Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing as a discipline of neuroeconomics is utilized for marketing purposes. It is used to complement marketing findings and to gain a deeper understanding of customer behaviour but also used to measure cognitive processes, attention, and emotions. The field of neuromarketing aims to bring neuroscience and marketing together.

About Marketing

Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over those of your competitors, and is a form of persuasive communication. It is made up of every process involved in moving a product or service from your business to the consumer.                                                                 

Marketing includes creating the product or service concept, identifying who is likely to purchase it, promoting it, and moving it through the appropriate selling channels.

There are three primary purposes of marketing which are; capturing the attention of your target market, persuading a consumer to purchase your product, and providing the customer with a specific, low-risk action that is easy to take. 

Marketing has four stages which can also be mapped onto another popular marketing model known as the four Ps of marketing. 

The four Ps in this model are product, price, promotion, and place. Relating to the four Ps,

product refers to the procedures you have in place to ensure that your products are ready for selling. Moreover, your product should fill a gap in the market, meet the needs of customers, and stand out from the competition. 

Secondly, we have the price which points out the cost of purchase, including both the sticker price as well as less quantifiable trade-offs that a customer must be willing to make when they purchase your products. 

Thirdly, promotion stands for the information you give to the consumers through targeted advertising to generate interest in your products. Promotions usually have one of two purposes: generate leads or initiate actual purchases. Finally, we have the place that refers to how and where products are sold. All distribution decisions are part of your overall marketing process.

If the objective of your business is to sell more products or services, then marketing is what helps you achieve that goal. Anything that you use to communicate with your customers in a way that persuades them to buy your products or services is marketing, including advertising, social media, coupons sales, and even how products are displayed. However, there are many kinds of advertising that you can use to promote your business, teach customers about your products, and generate sales.

Print, radio, and television campaigns are types of advertising, as are direct mail, email, and internet marketing.

If you have a website, it should be optimized for search to help customers find it through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Newsletters, press releases, and articles are also forms of marketing used to capture leads and generate sales. Some companies also use referral marketing, where satisfied customers refer others to increase business. In addition, the rise of social media platforms has increased the importance of social media marketing, including connecting with customers on social media by persuading them to follow your business, partnering with social media influencers through product placement or paid sponsorships, and paying for advertising on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. 

The types of advertising that you choose will depend on your budget, type of business, and the preferences of your ideal customers. 

About Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system – from structure to function, development to degeneration, in health and in disease. It covers the whole nervous system with a primary focus on the brain. Our brains define who we are and what we do. It stores our memories and allows us to learn from them. Our brain cells and their circuits create new thoughts, ideas and movements and reinforce old ones. Neuroscience has traditionally been classed as a subdivision of biology. These days it is an interdisciplinary science that liaises closely with other disciplines, such as mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and medicine. Neuroscientists focus on the brain’s impact on behavior and cognitive functions, and they attempt to clarify the complications and smooth out the intricacies of the brain in order to better understand the brain. They also study the cellular, functional, evolutionary, computational, molecular, cellular and medical aspects of the nervous system. Moreover, interest in consumer neuroscience took off in the mid-2000s, when business school researchers started to demonstrate advertising, branding, and other marketing tactics can have measurable impacts on the brain.There are different branches of neuroscience, such as cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.

Cognitive neuroscience is concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition and mental processes and addresses questions such as how psychological/cognitive functions are reflected by neural activity in the brain. Typical data collection methods employed by cognitive neuroscientists are functional neuroimaging (fMRI, PET), electroencephalography (EEG), behavioral genetics, and lesion studies.

Behavioral neuroscience addresses the impact of the nervous system on attention, perception, motivation, performance, learning, and memory and their manifestations in human behavior. Studies in behavioral neuroscience focus on the interaction of the brain and behavior in real or simulated environments. 

Neuromarketing and its tools

Neuromarketing is designing your content, website, etc. By using it you can rethink your strategies and create smarter marketing that will boost the effectiveness of your efforts. The goal of it is to understand how your customer’s brain actually works and what affects your marketing will have on the population of consumers. Neuromarketing is a commercial marketing communication field that applies neuropsychology to market research and measures physiological and neural signals to gain insight into customers’ motivations, preferences, and decisions, which can help inform creative advertising, product development, pricing, and other marketing areas.

Neuromarketing uses a variety of tools and techniques to measure consumer responses and behavior. These techniques are based on scientific principles about how humans really think and decide, which involves brain processes that our conscious minds aren’t aware of. When combined with sound experimental designs and procedures, these new techniques provide insight into consumer decisions and actions that are invisible to traditional market research methodologies. The most common methods of measurement are brain scanning, which measures neural activity, and physiological tracking, which measures eye movement and other proxies for that activity.

The two primary tools for scanning the brain are fMRI and EEG. The former (functional magnetic resonance imaging) uses strong magnetic fields to track the brain’s blood flow as subjects respond to audio and visual cues. It is administered while a person lies inside a machine that takes continuous measurements over time. This allows examiners to access a deep part of the brain known as the “pleasure center” and lets marketers know how people are really responding to their work. It is used to help set pricing and improve branding. Moreover, fMRI machines are many times more expensive than EEG equipment (up to $1000 per machine per hour).

On the other hand, EEG (electroencephalogram) uses a cap of electrodes attached to the sample’s scalp, it reads brain-cell activity. These electrodes measure electrical waves produced by the brain and allow researchers to track instinctual emotions such as anger, excitement, sorrow, and lust through fluctuations of activity. It is used for improving ads and branding. However, unlike fMRI, EEG does not grant access to deep parts of the brain where the “pleasure center” is located.

 Tools for measuring the physiological proxies for brain activity tend to be more affordable and easier to use, including: 

  • Eye-tracking detects exactly where subjects direct their gaze and can measure attention (via the eyes’ fixation points) and arousal (via pupil dilation). It is used to improve website design, ads, and packaging, and it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to administer.
  • Facial-expression coding (reading the minute movement of muscles in the face) identifies facial expressions and can measure emotional responses such as happiness, surprise, fear, and so on, heart rate, respiration rate, and skin conductivity measure arousal.

Physiological measuring techniques will most likely remain popular in the industry because they have been around longer, are less expensive, require less technical expertise to administer, and can easily be paired with more traditional marketing research tools, such as surveys and focus groups.

Neuromarketing isn’t cheap. As we said before an fMRI machine can cost as much as $5 million (and twice that to set up). Additionally, a single ad sample group of 20 people can cost in excess of $10,000. By necessity then, true neuromarketing is primarily used by large companies and organizations such as Frito-Lay, The Weather Channel (TWC), and eBay.

Examples of neuromarketing that marketers can use to sell their products 

1-Using gaze to direct attention

Ads that include people are much more effective than those that do not. In particular, images and videos that include babies tend to attract longer and more focused attention from potential customers. With the help of eye-tracking technology, researchers studied how people view ads with babies, and the study located the areas of the ad that attracted the maximum attention of viewers. For instance, they put the first photo of a baby with the face looking at the viewers. The result shows that the viewers were only gazing at the photo of the baby. When they put the second photo with the face looking towards the ad copy, the viewers were also looking at the ad copy. So be sure to direct the face in your ad to look at what you’d like the viewers to focus on.

2-Using effective packaging

Companies have figured out through EEG what elements consumers prefer and don’t prefer on their packaging. In studies, customers were shown packaging with their responses recorded as positive, negative, or neutral. This research revealed that customers had a negative response to shiny packaging, but didn’t show a negative response to packaging when it was matte. Frito-Lay then went on to scrap shiny packaging, and move on with a new, matte look. Moreover, when Chips Ahoy decided to use neuromarketing in their packaging, they discovered that people had a negative emotional reaction to the “resealable” words on their packaging. This is because people found it a bit hard to read. Surprisingly, the photo of the chocolate chip cookies on their packaging failed to garner great reaction amongst the test subjects. As a result, Chip Ahoy redesigned their packaging with a “resealable” tab that was more clear and a cookie visual that is more exciting (with flying chocolate chips). Simply put, making sure that people will like your packaging is one great way to steal their hearts.

3-Revealing personality with a smile

Never underestimate the power of a smile. The Journal of Neuroscience has revealed that laughter is contagious. In addition, marketers should take note and add personality to their brand with a smile. According to Neuromarketing101, an image of a person who is smiling influences a customer’s willingness to spend. In revisiting the patterns of eye movements, research has also found that customers are more likely to focus their attention on a smile rather than a frown.

4-Using fonts                                             

A study by the professors of psychology revealed that people prefer fonts that they can easily read and understand to complex fonts. They conducted a survey of 20 students by giving them printed instructions about the exercise routine that were written in two different types of font: Arial,12pt, and Brush, 12pt. The result of the survey concluded that the participants were able to read the instructions written in Arial font more easily. However, there is also a role for complex fonts that you can use in tactical sections of your ad copy to catch the attention of visitors, so you can use this tactic for important information throughout your web copy to catch more eyeballs.

5-Using colors

Color is one of the most powerful methods of design. It can increase brand recognition by 80% which means more people trust a brand that adds the right blend of colours. Moreover, neuromarketing experts specializing in colour and advertising have divided colours into subgroups as a guide to how they may be used effectively. For example, McDonald’s uses red because it’s seen as an energetic colour that stands out easily and stimulates hunger, which may be why a number of other fast-food brands use the colour. Red is also often used to signal a sale, so many brands will use it in combination with a softer colour like white or yellow to convey the properties of red without risking the perception the brand may be going out of business. Subway uses the colour green, which is often used to signal health and restoration, Subway looks to convey the values of freshness which it has put the colour green at the core of its brand, and yellow is also another colour that can easily be spotted from far away and draw consumers to its restaurant. Chanel was the pioneer of the famous “little black dress”, so it’s only natural for the colour black to be a core part of the brand’s identity since black is considered to be a very fashionable colour and stands for sophistication in the retail world. Hermes uses the colour orange which is thought to exude extroversion and confidence.

6-Limited editions

The term “Special Edition” or “Limited Edition” when used in marketing management intends to give the product something new and previously unseen in the regular edition. The effect of consumers’ love for limited editions and limited-time offers is called marketing with scarcity. Marketers put limitations on a product like timed offers and dwindling supplies to pressure them into buying fast. For example, SUPREME is one of the brands that has made Limited Edition known. They release products into the market and sell them out almost immediately. However, once these products are sold out, they are never put into the markets again. In this way, customers are fascinated with the idea of being part of a few people all over the world wearing a particular T-shirt.

7-Audio branding

Also called an audio logo, is a wide term that encompasses the use of sound and music to reinforce your brand identity in consumers’ minds. Jingles, tones, and even spoken slogans are all forms of audio branding. It isn’t just a way to get clients and customers to remember your business, but you can also use the power of music to make listeners feel a certain way about your product or service. For example, the McDonald’s audio branding that precedes their “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan uses tones that encourage the listener to feel happy, upbeat, and positive. The snap, crackle, and pop of the Rice Krispies audio brand evoke a silly, carefree feeling reminding adults of their childhood and encouraging younger consumers to embrace the fun of the cereal.

Neuromarketing masters 

Some university programs use the term specifically, as the new “Masters in Neuromarketing program” at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and more. This master course in neuromarketing and consumer behaviour is offered in Bellaterra (Sant Cugat), province of Barcelona. The first part of the course lasts five months and is online, where basic theoretical training is provided to successfully approach the second part of the course, which is in-person. Several professors are available, along with experts that work for large corporations: brands such as Nestle or international research companies such as Kantar TNS and Ipsos. Professors specialized in neuroscience, scientific investigation, publicity, communication, and marketing strategies will offer theoretical and practical training. The techniques that you can practice with are; fMRI, EEG, GSR, ECG, facial coding, eye-tracking, and virtual reality. It costs about 6,750 euro.

Another master course which you can take is at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, this academic course offers theoretical and practical training while employing the main neuromarketing tools (EEG, MEG, GSR, eye-tracking, facial coding), and its duration is about 9 months. Different types of neuromarketing expert companies participate and the course takes place at the university as well as the companies that support the program.

In summary, it’s clear that neuromarketing is a large and huge science that brings neuroscience and marketing together. It needs financial input and mental effort from companies so that they can reach their aim of dragging consumers’ attention and emotions in a creative way. Moreover, neuromarketing techniques can be used to create a brand identity that can influence the actions of the visitors and make them want to buy the product and also help many corporations and academics to understand how neurons in the brain behave to improve the companies’ marketing.

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