Neuromarketing: How Brain Research Guides the Future of Marketing

What is neuromarketingI have been studying brain research for a while now in relation to how we can program and re-program our brain to achieve our goals in life and excel, so it recently caught my attention that media are starting to show interest on another breakthrough discovery of neuroscience: Neuromarketing.

I came across a feature on TV describing how researchers in Neuromarketing are using MRI scanners to dig into the human subconscious and analyze the brain of volunteers while showing them advertisements. The findings show that emotion (how the advertisement makes you feel) becomes more important than logical reasoning when it comes to selecting a product.

This is not news to marketers and branding experts who have been using different techniques to affect people’s emotions and perceptions for years. Neuromarketing just comes to confirm now with brain research what was before left to intuition. It also explains why consumers sometimes exhibit irrational behaviors.

One study comparing Coke to Pepsi found that when volunteers were tested blind, the brain used its activated taste zone and the result was that they preferred Pepsi. But when they were told the brands, the part of the brain pertaining to memory and emotions came into action and the volunteers preferred Coke, proving that advertising or brand loyalty does indeed play a more important role than actual taste.

What is Neuro-Marketing and how it works

Neuromarketing is a very recent discipline and it is now starting to be taught in some of the largest business schools. Although large corporations have not yet admitted to using these research findings, it will not be possible to ignore brain science in marketing in the next few years, as it will potentially give them a strong edge to competition.

Neuromarketing is based on the fact that brain research findings have proven that 95% of consumers purchasing  behaviors are guided by the unconscious part of the brain and emotions, while only 5% to 10% of the behaviors are a result of rational thinking.

Neuro Marketers use mainly MRI brain scans and sometimes facial coding (reading of facial expressions and micro-expressions) to dig into the subconscious and study the reactions of the human brain during consumer’s buying or choice process, such as watching an advertisement, the test of competing products, the act of purchase in a real situation, the perception of a brand or a politician.

Neuro marketing uses

Using the results of the research, companies can decide if their ads are actually engaging, how they are affecting people’s emotions (and if they cause any type of negative emotions with their advertising message) or if consumers showed no interest and tuned out while watching. Using the findings, they can then improve their marketing efforts.

So using brain-research, companies can now test the effect of their advertising, packaging, placement, online promotions, slogans, communication messages, web-design and social media campaigns on human brain, before releasing it to the public and make the necessary adjustments so that they make sure that they positively affect people’s emotions and buying decisions.

Terms that are expected to emerge in the near future are Neuro-web page design and even Neuro-Social media marketing!

Although due to significant costs involved in the brain research, only very large corporations have had the chance to use Neuromarketing up to now, neuromarketing research reveals information that can be very useful to small marketers and entrepreneurs.

One example is a recent study which has found that by using the 10 simple words ‘you can trust us to do the job for you’ can significally improves the results of any message you are sending out to your audience.

Other than offering companies and politicians a competitive edge, people argue that the findings could be potentially dangerous and pose ethical dilemmas, as it could be used to more effectively brainwash people to making certain decisions, for example choosing a specific politician or consuming a product potentially harmful to their health.

Whatever the ethical concerns behind neuromarketing, the truth is that we will hear more and more about it in the next few years and marketers will be using as a competitive edge to make their marketing more effective.

Suggested Reading – Top Neuromarketing Books:

2 Responses

  1. Hi Pavlina,

    I also prefer Cola over Pepsi. How is it possible that Pepsi would taste better?

    Neuro web page design sounds like an exciting idea, than we could start design web pages that really attracts the target public we really want, just by do a test by some good test readers.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Marc since you are from Belgium, I found that a lot of the Neuro-marketing research is done in Brussels, Belgium actually and the company who contacted the Coke-Pepsi experiment is also in Brussels http://www.brainimpact.eu – here is the video I saw on Euronews a few days ago explaining that research: http://www.euronews.net/2011/09/19/advertising-turns-to-science/. Basically, what the research says is that we are all brainwashed or can be brainwashed – so maybe you have been ‘brainwashed’ from childhood with the advertising messages to prefer Coke as it gives you a good feeling sentimentally when you drink it!

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