What is neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience knowledge and tools in the field of marketing, to evoke particular neurological emotions in consumers, which are associated with the process of purchase. It is also known as consumer neuroscience. Neuromarketing aims to study the brain, and possibly forecast and manipulate consumer behaviour and decision making.
Researchers use methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure specific types of brain activity in response to advertising messages, to study consumer emotions related to advertising and branding. This information helps companies to understand why customers make the decisions they do, and what motivates them to make those decisions. Insights into consumer decision-making help brands to tweak their digital advertising message to elicit a better response from their audience.
There are two branches of neuromarketing:
- Theoretical Neuromarketing– When neuroscience knowledge is applied to the area of marketing.
- Applied Neuromarketing– When neuroscience research tools and methods are applied to conduct market research.
How does neuromarketing work?
Marketers, with the help of researchers, use a variety of tools to track and measure brain activity to different marketing stimuli.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) measures the small changes in blood flow that occur with brain activity. In neuromarketing, fMRI is used to access the “pleasure centers” of the brain. Subjects are exposed to audio and visual imagery, while researchers measure and record the changes in their brain activity, in response to these cues. However, fMRI machines are costly.
On the other hand, there is Electroencephalogram (EEG), which utilizes a cap with multiple electrodes attached to the scalp, to track and record brain wave patterns. The lines of these electrical impulses allow researchers to detect brain patterns in response to stimuli. EEG helps marketers to identify the emotions of anger, frustration, happiness, and sorrow of the subjects, in response to specific advertising cues. Although cheaper, EEG does not allow access to the brain’s pleasure centers like fMRI does.
Marketers also employ other tools to measure physiological proxies of brain activity such as eye-tracking (to measure the subject’s attention) and facial expression coding (to read minute changes in facial muscles). These methodologies measure the emotional response of the subject and tend to be much cheaper.
What are the challenges of neuromarketing?
Since it took off in the mid-2000s, neuromarketing has had its skeptics and detractors. Despite its amazing academic findings, organizations have been slow to adopt neuromarketing as a part of their digital marketing strategy. Keeping aside its significant cost and investment, there have been concerns over the efficacy of these techniques to provide useful consumer insights.
As an evolving segment of marketing, neuromarketing suffers from unawareness and uncertainty of its value, and what it can offer to businesses. There are no standard metrics in this field, which makes it difficult to compare results if the research providers are switched. The field has also suffered from the public perception of potential privacy and ethical violations, for commercial greed. This has resulted in very few neuromarketing studies on advertising effectiveness being published in the last few decades.
Neuromarketing is slowly gaining traction with many business leaders recognizing its ability to predict the future success of products and services, thereby helping them develop more customer-centric products and effective advertisements.
Which brands are employing neuromarketing?
Due to its considerable cost, only major corporations have utilized this technique when designing their products and marketing campaigns. Tech giants Google and MediaVest partnered with biometric researcher NeuroFocus, to evaluate how users respond to their InVideo advertisements. Microsoft uses EEG to understand its users’ interaction with personal computers and laptops. With the help of neuromarketing, Paypal discovered that speed and convenience focus advertising triggered a higher response from the participants than advertising focused on security and safety.
How can neuromarketing help organisations?
Technology advancement and innovation are making neuromarketing more accessible to businesses. User-friendly techniques, pre-designed studies, and decoding algorithms that can be employed by any professional, without a specific background in neuroscience, is helping the expansion of this field.
With the growth of inbound marketing, marketing strategies and company culture have become customer-centric. This has led to the adoption of a more holistic approach to consumer behaviour and has made marketing a modern-day necessity. Integrating neuroscience into the marketing strategy can help businesses achieve better customer satisfaction, and help them to connect with their customers on an emotional level.
Neuromarketing can help businesses navigate complex customer journeys and grow customer expectations with greater precision.
Neuromarketing is here to stay. Neuroscience can help businesses to understand the human emotions behind a customer’s buying decisions. This can have a big impact on how brands approach product design and advertising. At Alkye, we help our clients with their neuromarketing strategies, so that they are able to target their audience more effectively and efficiently.