Neuromarketing. Everything you need to know.

Have you ever heard of Neuromarketing?

Surely you’ve encountered with its practical application, although you may not even be aware of it.
Say, did you notice all those “tra-la-la” Christmas songs when you go to a holiday sale? Or that soft music in your favorite shopping center? Do you think they accidentally and randomly selected those songs? Nope, they didn’t. Those songs have an impact to make you stay enjoyable and to slow down your movement and force you to buy more.

Simple, but interesting question: Why customers buy products?

Admit it, if you engage in any form of sale, often you’ve wanted to know the answer to the question what is in the mind of a customer and why they are buying a particular product. Certainly, the primary buying motivation is the satisfaction, but why they didn’t choose your product and instead bought from the competition? Maybe it comes to price, quality, functionality, or is it good marketing?

This is where the neuromarketing comes in. It is linking events in the brain of the buyer at the time and space when it’s exposed to the product or the way in which the product was introduced to him. Will your campaign go unnoticed or will it awake the desire to buy?

Neuromarketing can help decipher the hidden motives, subconscious reactions and consumer psychology that drive purchasing decisions. Most of the websites that I made are partially influenced by neuromarketing, click here to see all of my recent projects in web design and SEO that have helped my clients, to have professional and reputable businesses.

What is neuromarketing discovered about customer behavior

Shopping is not a logical process as much as we thought. More often that process signals comes from our subconscious.
So, the question is, does our brain play tricks on us?

Once the customer sees a product or advertisement, the center of decision-making is first activated, a decision based on emotion. Rationalization of thoughts come later. People make decisions within 90 seconds. In this time frame there is no time to think but only to “hit” emotions and instincts. The decision to purchase is an impulsive decision! To find out what are the emotions that influence the decision to buy, scientists began exploring the brain and its connection with the purchase, which is now known as neuromarketing.

Consumer behavior research has worked in the past because the marketers always needed to know what is behind the decision of customers and how they can improve performance on the market and present the product in the best light. Researchers mostly worked by testing and interviewing some of the participants.

Neuromarketing has gone a step further.

For neuromarketing, they measured a brain activity.
Such methods for marketing purposes are not available to everyone since it requires special equipment and a lot of money. Measurements of brain activity are made by using Electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance and sensors that monitor the work of other organs of the body such as heart rate, breathing rate, and the like.

And what neuromarketing research revealed?

When it comes to buying decision, within us is awaken sleepy caveman and his way of thinking. So in your campaigns, you need to speak to “him”.
In other words, the decision to purchase does not affect the mind, but rather the basic human instincts that are rooted in man since ancient times – safety, greed, aggression, pleasure, fear, pain and the like.

What neuromarketing says about evolution and specifically about the brain?

The brain may not be the largest organ in our body, but during human evolution, he underwent major changes. From the time of the caveman until today, its mass tripled. We can say that today’s brain consists of three parts, which communicate with each other:

-The oldest brain is the one which makes the decisions. Usually inside of that part of the brain are instincts and basic emotions.

-Midbrain “feels like he is in charge” and it has a little more complicated emotions created inside of him.

-The youngest brain is a rational brain, one that developed last, and its role is to think and reflect.
The brain is not only important because of the evolution, but also because it is necessary as much as 20% of human energy to function properly. Neuromarketing aims to find ways to reach out to that old, primary human brain in which decisions are made.

When the brain gets a first sign or pulse of energy/signal, less energy is left for other parts of the brain. All these three parts of the brain communicate with each other, but it depends on which of them has taken the leading role. When you create a marketing message that “attacks” the old brain from the start, the decision on the purchase will bring the unconscious part and reasonable part of the brain will find a valid explanation and excuse why you are at the moment made such a decision.

If you are interested in more in-depth info about how your brain functions, I would recommend you to see this 10 min. video.

How to use neuromarketing in your favor

If you want a successful marketing strategy, target the primary emotions. Create ad message which will immediately cause lust, fear, pain, uncertainty, happiness and then provide a solution that will meet these needs.

Here are 6 key steps to reach the buyer’s brain:

1. Target buyer’s ego

The old brain is self-centered and lacking the ability to think about anything other than the satisfaction or a need for survival. It does not analyze relationships, it doesn’t moralize, and it doesn’t calculate or make assumptions.

2. Send a simple message and place it at the very beginning of advertisement

Your message will be just one of hundreds of thousands of messages that the brain will receive and process during the day. Keep in mind that you “contact” the cave brain that will not have much patience, so you need to go straight to the point. But when the brain needs to involve emotions or to think in order to understand the message, your chances of getting a battle with buyers is shrinking.

So, the main point is to focus on the work for the old brain, so that less energy is left for other parts of the brain that might deter a buyer from buying.

3. Display contrast and make it look appealing

The old brain responds well to visual stimuli. Additionally, make it easy for purchasing decision and make it clear what problem your product solves. How to do that? For example, you can show “before and after” pictures or something similar.

You’ve probably have seen this kind of use in infomercials where at first ad displays black-white version of the story about a specific problem, and then all of the sudden there is a painted part of the story and solution for that problem. I’ve written an another article that talks more about the design aspect and why great web design can make or break your business. 

4. Wake up the basic emotions from the start

Emotions that are sensitive to the old brain such as fear, sadness, happiness, pain, pleasure, and the like. The motive of buying is removing the bad emotions or increase the happiness and satisfaction. Our body reacts automatically and unconsciously in order to put things under control. Our body/brain has a primary goal to have greater control because there is a greater chance of survival.

Fighting fear or having a similar emotion in the brain is activating the “fight or flight” signal, and your product is sort of solution as a weapon for this fight and encourages people to make a purchase so that they can get rid of that fear.

How do we create this fear emotions?

For example, limiting the time for order or restricting the stock creates the fear that they will remain unmet need and accelerate the decision-making process on the purchase, while logic is pushed aside.

Provide quick satisfaction. One experiment at the University of Princeton offered students two types of vouchers for Amazon; one had $15 discount, which they can use immediately, and the other in the amount of $20 discount but they had to wait 2 months to use it.

By monitoring their brain activity, it has been shown that there is created a greater activity and blood flow to part of the brain responsible for feelings of pleasure when there is given the possibility for a rapid/instant satisfaction compared to the decision that increased the amount of gratification postponed for a few months. All students took the first offer.

Display other’s experiences. This is what people are thinking when the see or read testimonials “This man is like me and have a problem that I have, too. If he made it, and I will.”

The absolute best way for testimonials would be to be in video form and to be “natural looking” i.e. no special effects, loud music, just a person describing their problem and how your product or service have helped them.

5. Create a good brand and connect it with positive associations

This is something that has helped Coca-Cola to be more popular than Pepsi. The experiment, which was done by Read Montague it found that the emotions that the Coca-Cola sparked their advertising campaigns and branding has an impact that 75% of people had “rationally” took Coca-Cola, instead of Pepsi. The same interviewees tried both drinks without knowing which brand they drank. Do you think Coca-Cola won? Nope. The ratio was 50:50. However, positive associations, happiness, joy, love, memories, and emotions forced in advertisements bring an ultimate victory to Coca-Cola.

6. Include/provoke emotions as much as possible

Choose music that provokes or evokes joy. Choose the right color. People make decisions within 90 seconds, and about 62-90% make a decision based on color. The yellow color is considered a color that symbolizes joy and optimism; orange is friendly and cheerful, red provokes excitement and passion, blue indicates the strength and confidence, green peace and health.
Probably it is clear to you now why the special offers and discounts are usually marked in red letters on a yellow background – it creates excitement and happiness at the same time!

The point of neuromarketing in selling/marketing is to “read minds” and experiences of customers and to build a marketing strategy accordingly.


Ok, let’s recap the main points:

*The subconscious has a big influence on our decision to purchase.
Marketing studies and economic models are based on the assumption that people behave rationally and predictably. However, brain scans showed an enormous influence of emotions on our every decision. Thanks to MRI, we can have an insight into how emotions such as generosity, greed, fear, and life satisfaction, influence decisions in the economic sphere.

*Our brain remembers the fear.
If we sell fear or sense of urgency to our target group/audience with such a message they feel threatened, or they will feel like they will lose something if they do not meet this goal, that way they will support it.

*When we see someone doing something or when we read about it, our brain reacts as if we do that to ourselves.
Have you ever wondered why sometimes we are sad when we look at the movie, because the main character suffers or why we want to eat something sweet when we see someone eating an ice cream? Our brain in these cases identifies observations and behaviors. In this way, neural mirrors help us not only to imitate others but also to coordinate with the feelings and reactions of others. Thus, these neurons are responsible for empathy.

*Smiling faces may subconsciously persuade to buy more, or spend more money.
We love happy people, but that’s because we’re more sensitive to positive signals. We want to remember the people who were kind to us, just in case in the future we come into contact with them.

*Shopping makes us happy.
Shopping truly makes us happy, but temporarily. This dose of happiness can be credited because of dopamine, a chemical carrier of satisfaction, enjoyment, and well-being. When you decide to buy something, the brain cells that release dopamine creates a feeling of comfort and tells to our instinct to continue buying, even when common sense tells you to stop. That’s why you need to have a great looking website for example. Hiring a professional to do this part of the job can just help your business to grow. Click here to read more about, when it’s time to hire a pro to design you a website and make you stand out from a crowd.

*Most of the products are evaluated based on their ability to fix the social status.
Whether we like it or not, most of us will buy a product that will give us “help” to seduce/impress a partner or to fit into society. The concept of imitation is an important factor in our decision making when buying something. For some products, we may be not interested, but if we see a significant number of people wearing/using it, turns out to be a fashion hit, and all of the sudden we want them to have it – right now.

*Fewer choices we have, higher the chances are that we will buy something.
Do you find it easier to decide what book you want to buy if you stand in front of the shelf that offers top ten bestselling books or being next to shelf where there are all the books in one area? Ask yourself why today all bookstores have just shelves with selected books.

*The more senses are involved, the bigger effect it is.
This is also called sensory branding – using sensory stimuli such as smell, hearing, and touch in order to strengthen the brand and increase sales. Also, it is important to have visual experience – the shape and design of the product also affect the purchase.

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