If you use data analytics, you know what people have done on your website; if you use neuroscience, you know what they will do. The difference is tremendous if take into account the fact that most of the customer’s desires, expectations, and decisions get formed on a subconscious level where collecting any marketing data is challenged.
Achievements in neuroscience take marketers backstage, into the human brain, enabling them to understand subconscious consumer behavior and use these findings to create a perfect customer experience and skyrocket sales.
This is the quintessence of neuromarketing, a recent trend in marketing that studies online behavior and provides marketers insight into the subconscious. Already a buzzword, the technology is promising though raw and untamed. It has challenges and limitations. Nevertheless, it has already helped many innovative businesses to find out the true expectations of their target market, tailor-make their services and devise a faultless product positioning.
Let’s take a closer look at neuromarketing and its advantages for businesses, review some cases and draft some takeaways your business can incorporate into its marketing strategy next to advertising, sales funnels, bulk SMS, and the like.
What is neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing is a technique that uses neuroscience tools and knowledge to study, explain, and forecast customer’s behavior. The ultimate goal of the technique is to plunge into the customer’s subconscious to help marketers better understand how their clients think to manipulate them to make a purchase.
Neuromarketing typically relies on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), facial coding, eye-tracking, biometrics, and other technologies that help measure subconscious reaction to such marketing elements as advertising, packaging and so on. Jonathan Rosenfeld, Account Executive at ScribbleLive, a company that specializes in appealing visual and interactive content, mentioned that tracking customer’s brain activity helps his company improve the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
Why neuromarketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy today?
The relationships between companies and consumers have changed a lot within the last decade. Brands operating in the digital era have to deal with the digital consumer who is much more exigent and much more demanding in terms of treatment and personalization. 84% of customers expect brands to treat them as personalities, not numbers, while 59% expect businesses to customize engagements based on all past interactions.
Companies that fail to personalize their relationships with clients based on their needs and expectations are going to become extinct soon. However, such customization requires knowing your customer on a much deeper level than web forms, focus groups, observation, or surveys can ever allow. The reason why most traditional techniques of collecting data fail are in the complexity of a human brain that tends to play pranks on marketers consciously giving answers contradicting the actual behavior. This is why neuromarketing that helps penetrate into the subconscious level where everything is genuine gives marketers a head start in strategizing campaigns.
Advantages of neuromarketing and neuro research
Since 90% of information is processed by humans non-consciously, only neuromarketing can provide marketers with some valuable insights into the true reasons behind a certain behavior.
“Consumers are biased, even when they aren’t trying to be,” said Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO at LA-based Hawthorne, digital marketing agency. “The subconscious mind processes much more information at a quicker pace than the conscious mind, so appealing to consumers based on neuroscience principals offers the ability for marketers to achieve better results,” she added.
Neuromarketing provides additional information about non-conscious reactions that cannot be collected through traditional marketing means. For example, since brain reactions reflect in other zones as well (like sweaty hands), we can easily track these physiological changes using biosensors to find out and decode the non-conscious reaction to, say, an ad campaign.
In the same way, neuromarketing helps companies collect data to make more informed decisions concerning packaging, website usability, brand positioning, price, shopping experience, evaluate impact generated by the online marketing campaign, etc.
Cases of successful use of neuromarketing techniques
Due to the complexity and high cost of neuromarketing research, only the giants (like, for example, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Gerber, Campbell Soup Company to name a few) are actively using the technique so far. Major networks and studios in the entertainment industry also successfully leverage neuroscience to test response to trailers and ads. Here are some examples of how businesses can benefit from neuromarketing.
1. Boosting conversion
Tim Gray, the founder of Neuro Web Marketing, an expert in cognitive hypnotherapy and NLP, has helped a number of the UK businesses to skyrocket their conversion using his own unique marketing methodology based on neuroscience. This is how he explains how websites that get into the customers’ brain are made:
“We audit websites or landing pages from a psychological perspective, which identifies the exact elements needed to be changed to boost conversions quickly… instead of preparing 40 tests and seeing which give ‘wins’. This saves our clients months and earns increases far greater, far quicker…”
2. Adjusting the value proposition
The Internet is a crowded place. Your website has only 4 seconds to impress and communicate your unique value proposition (who you are, what you do, and why people should buy from you). Gray uses neuromarketing to “refine and optimize” the sales point, which has proven to boost conversion by up to 350%.
3. Basket optimization
According to Gray, buyers have lots of anxieties that can hardly be relieved by the classical “money back guarantee, delivery assurance and the like. Neuro Web Marketing uses psychology to address those anxieties on the basket page literally reading the shoppers’ thoughts and quelling their concerns. This leads to an increase in sales of 30%.
4. Testing packages and commercials
Using neuromarketing research, the marketers behind the chip brand Frito-Lay’s (PepsiCo) have found out that, unlike shiny bags picturing chips, matte beige packages with pictures of potatoes and other natural ingredients don’t trigger activity in the brain area responsible for the feeling of guilt. As a result, sales increased. Neuromarketing can be very helpful when it comes to measuring consumer response to changes in design components like color, images, fonts, etc.
Campbell Soup Company ventured out for a complete redesign of its soup cans after spending two years testing different versions and tracking changes in human heart rate, skin moisture, and other biometrics.
Another brilliant example comes from Volkswagen and its Darth Vader commercial (2011) featuring a little boy dressed as Darth Vader who tries to “use power” on his dad’s Passat. Before the launch, the ad was tested on a group of 30 people using the EEG machine to track neuro-engagement, and it was through the roof. The “aww” reaction can be explained by the positive emotions such as nostalgia, empathy, and humor the ad induces.
Volkswagen Darth Vader commercial
5. Improve product design
Mercedes-Benz involved neuromarketing techniques to measure customer response to different fronts of cars. They found out that fronts that reminded human faces triggered the pleasure center of the brain. This way they managed to increase sales by 12% in the very first quarter.
Challenges and limitations of neuromarketing
- High operating costs. Using machines such as fMRI to track your customers’ brain activity would cost you an arm and a leg. However, the prices are going to fall anyway, sooner or later, making neuromarketing more affordable for medium and small businesses.
- Using specialized machines requires personnel that is not only educated in neuroscience or psychology but also has a deep understanding of marketing.
- Neuromarketing often gets simplified to using EEG machine for checking whether the brain area responsible for positive emotions reacts or not. The reality of quality research is far from that. The researcher has to follow the correct methodology and decoding algorithms as well as to be able to interpret the results for business in the form of a guideline.
- Neuromarketing is being criticized for manipulating the buyers’ will with the use of “buy” triggers.
Any takeaways for marketers?
While the full-fledged neuromarketing research remains a prerogative of big companies, smaller business can also benefit from the neuroscience using these simple clues:
- If you use a face on the webpage, ensure the eyes are looking towards the call to action or the product, not the visitor.
- Don’t give away too much information (offers, messages) as it paralyzes the customer’s ability to think and make decisions. Conversion drops.
- Consider speed as the “buy” trigger. PayPal has found that its customers liked the message about PayPal being fast and comfy more than the message about it being safe and secure.
- Besides benefits, tell your customers what they will miss if they reject your offer.
- Rewards activate pleasure centers in the brain and help you win loyal customers.
The field of neuromarketing grows very fast, and many neuroscience adepts persuade the marketing world that the technique is able to substitute traditional research soon. However, it’s very unlikely as only in a combination with old-school marketing approaches, neuromarketing is able to provide a holistic insight into what’s going on in the customer’s head. The role of neuromarketing is still complementary.
Eric is a digital marketing specialist at Axonim.com who is always looking for ways to improve his skills. He’s always traveling when he’s not at the computer. Eric likes to share his thoughts and believes that his articles will help a great number of people.