Business, Technology

Neuromarketing – What, Why & More

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This guest column is authored by Manoj P A, Business Partner at Vintage Denim Factory

Neuromarketing has emerged today because of some amazing new discoveries in Neuroscience, Social Psychology and Behavioural Economics that have changed our understanding of how the human brain experiences, interprets, decides and acts in the world. These discoveries would be applied to advertising, marketing and consumer behaviour.

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is the branch of neuroscience research that aims to better understand the consumers through his cognitive processes and has application in marketing, explaining consumer’s preferences, motivations and expectations, predicting his behaviour and explaining successes or failures of the marketing or advertising messages.

By definition, Neuromarketing is any marketing or market research activity that uses the methods and techniques of brain science or is informed by the findings or insights of brain science.

Foundations of Neuromarketing

Neuroscience – The study of the human nervous system including the brain, its anatomy, functions and the peripheral nervous system it controls.

Behavioural Economics – The study of how people make economic decision in the real world.

Social Psychology – The study of how people think and act in the presence of other people.

Marketing Vs Neuromarketing

Marketing – is a field devoted to influencing people to like things and ultimately to buy things, including things they may not need. Marketing is now and always has been devoted to influencing brains.

Neuromarketing – is a new way to measure whether and how marketing is working. It is better way to understand how consumers’ brains operate.

Goals of Neuromarketing

Researcher will use Neuromarketing to better measure a consumer’s preference, as the verbal response given to the question; “Do you like this product?” may not always be the true answer due to cognitive bias.

Neuromarketing will tell the researcher what the consumer reacts to, whether it was the colour of the packaging, the sound the box makes when shaken, or the idea that they will have something their co-consumers do not.

Uses of Neuromarketing

• It can tell us what’s going on in consumers’ brain while they are experiencing a marketing stimulus.
• It can tell us how brains react to marketing stimuli presented in different situational contexts.
• It can tell us how brains translate these reactions into consumer decisions and behaviours.

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Application of Neuromarketing

It is used by marketers in six key marketing areas:

Brand – Understanding of brands and branding is an area in which neuromarketing is a natural fit. A strong brand is one that triggers deep associations with related ideas that keep that brand at Top of Mind for consumers

Product – Innovative product and package design are two research areas in which neuromarketing is making impact.

Advertising – It is an active area for neuromarketing. How advertising works and what makes one ad more successful than another have always been a bit of a mystery.

Shopping – Shopping and in-store marketing are research areas where neuromarketing has much to offer.

Online – Closely related to in store shopping experience is online shopping experience.

Entertainment – People are better able to identify when they are being entertained than when they are being persuaded.

Tools used to Measures Consumers Response

Generally they have two categories

Psychological or Biometric – This approach used to measure response of the body to marketing.
Neurological or Neurometric – This approach used to measure the brain response during marketing or other activities.

Psychological or Biometric measures include the following:

1. Facial Expressions: It can be read at two levels

• Observable Changes in Expression (Example – Smile or Frowns)

• Unobservable Mico-Muscle Changes (Example – Contractions of muscles associated with positive and negative emotional reactions.)

2. Eye Tracking: The measurement of eye movements and pupil dilation while viewing an object or scene. It provide valuable information’s to researchers indicate attention, interest and attraction.

3. Electrodermal Activity: It is used to measure of perspiration on the skin, usually measured at the fingertips.

4. Respiration and Heart rate: It focus on the beating speed of heart and how deep and fast a person is breathing. It indicates concentration, tense anticipation or Panic and Fear.

5. Response time: It provides a simple and accessible way to test the strength of association between different concepts.

Neurological or Neurometric measures include the following:

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1. FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) : It is used to measure the blood flow. When parts of the brain become active, blood flows to them.

2. EEG (Electroencephalography) : It is most popular technology because of its low cost and manageable equipment. It is used to measures the strength at the scalp of very small electrical fields generated by brain activity.

3. MEG (Magnetoencephalography) : It is used to measures minute changes in magnetic fields produced by the brain.

4. ERP (Event Related Potentials) : It is used to measures very small voltages generated in the brain structures in response to specific events or stimuli.

5. P300 Wave : It is an event related potential component elicited in the process of decision making.

Expected Results from Neuromarketing Techniques

• It helps marketers to understand the brand recall pattern of individuals after viewing the advertisements with and without social messages (Cause related advertising)

• Impact of advertisement with and without social messages on the short term and long term memory of human beings.

• Researchers / Marketers would be able to choose better advertising or marketing strategy for their advertisements.

• The knowledge provided by Neuromarketing will help marketers create products and services designed more effectively and marketing campaigns focused more on the brain’s response.

Criticism

• Neuromarketing is controversial, in many cases because it is not well understood. It is also evolving and growing very rapidly, so it is a moving target.

• Many researchers believe that neuromarketing is a field devoted to influencing people mind or brain to buy things often things they don’t need and it is therefore a bad and dangerous thing to do.

Conclusion

Neuromarketing is not a technique for turning people into “Zombie Consumers”. Startup entrepreneurs, product managers, brand managers may be concentrate on neuromarketing technique to gauge consumers preference towards their brands. If neuromarketing is worth its salt, it has to help entrepreneurs, marketers to solve the consumer problems better than other types of research.

Neuromarketing will help us make the transition towards understanding the truth and lies about why we buy.

Image Credit – Zepo

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