Neuromarketing refers to the study the brain’s response to marketing stimuli. Based on the information received, companies can adjust their marketing efforts in order to elicit better responses. The knowledge acquired from neuromarketing allows marketers to find out what consumers react to so that they can determine if their marketing efforts are working, and make improvements as necessary. In this article, we provide an overview of neuromarketing.
The biggest challenge that marketers face is getting the best results possible while spending the least amount of money possible. What is solution for this challenge? – In short, it’s neuromarketing.
Neuromarketing refesr to the process of using modern science to measure the impact marketing has on consumers’ brain activity. The techniques used in neuromarketing use scientific principles that relate to how people think and make decisions. This involves using processes within the brain that the conscious mind isn’t aware of. When integrated with definitive procedures and experiments, the techniques used in neuromarketing offer greater insight into how the decisions and actions that consumers make that would otherwise not be visible to traditional methodologies that are used in market research.
How does Neuromarketing Work?
Two basic strategies are used to track the brain activity of consumers:
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). This method involves using a magnet to track the blood flow of the brain as a subject responds to visual and audio cues. As such, marketers can get a glimpse into a deep part of the brain that can otherwise not be accessed: the pleasure center. By seeing this part of the brain, marketers can find out how consumers are responding to their messages. Despite the powerful information fMRI can provide, it is extremely expensive and it is inconvenient, as those who are subjected to this method must remain completely still while the study is being conducted.
- Electroencephalography (EEG). With this method of neuromarketing, a collection of electrodes are attached to a subject’s head. These electrodes measure the electrical waves that the brain produces, allowing marketers to get a look at instinctual emotions, such as happiness, excitement, sorrow and anger. EEG is less expensive and subjects can move about; however, this method does not provide researchers with access to the deep “pleasure center”.
History of Neuromarketing
Neuromarketing is relatively new. Previously, to find out how researchers made purchase-making decisions, researchers relied on the responses that people offers. While these responses did offer valuable information on motivators that inspired decision-making processes, it wasn’t conculsive.
Montague designed his own ‘Pepsi Challenge’, in which he connected participants to an MRI machine in order to track the activity of their brains. Initially, his subjects were pretty evenly divided between the two soft drinks; however, when his subjects knew what they were drinking, the majority of them preferred Coke over Pepsi. Dr. Montague saw increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain that controls higher level thinking. He also saw more activity in the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that is connected to memory.
Based on the findings of his study, Montague determined that the brain recalled images, information and ideas that were presented in commercials. As such, the feelings and thoughts that were connected to branding were taking control of the reactions of his subjects regarding the quality of the soft drink.
In 2004, Dr. Montague published the findings of his study and neuromarketing became a popular marketing strategy.
Who Uses Nueromarketing?
Neuromarketing isn’t an inexpensive endeavor. It can cost millions of dollars for an fMRI machine alone, and even more to set up the study and assess it. Given the cost, this type of marketing study is mainly used by large organizations that have access to extensive resources.
Some recent examples of neuromarketing include:
- Frito-Lay, a well-established international company, has used neuromarketing to examine female brain activity to find out how they can improve their advertising efforts. Their findings indicated that had to steer clear of making inferences to things anything associated with ‘guilt’, and rather, focus on making associations to ‘healthy’ decisions in their advertising efforts.
- Microsoft has used information obtained from EEG to gain better insight into the interactions of their consumers with the laptop and personal computers that they offer, including feelings that relate to satisfaction, surprise, and frustration.
- Google and MediaVest joined forces with NeuroFocus to learn how consumers responded to their InVideo advertisements.
- The Weather Channel also parternered with NeuroFocus and used EEGs, in addition to other technologies, to make adjustments to their marketing and programming so that they could improve their impact.
What Type of Consumers does Neuromarketing Work With?
Neuromarketing can be applied to virtually anyone who has ever developed an opinion about a product, a service or a company. No matter how marketing is employed, the goal is to create a positive and memorable impact on consumers. Neuromarketing can effectively measure those impacts, no matter what the demographic of the population that is being tested may be.
Disadvantages of Neuromarketing
Despite the benefits that neuromarketing can offer, there are some key disadvantages associated with this marketing study. These disadvantages include:
- It’s high cost.
- Some believe that it can lead to brainwashing.
- The inability to use neuromarketing strategies in the business-to-business setting (thus far).
Despite the downsides, those who use neurmarketing attest that it is a highly effective tactic for improving marketing efforts.