Published On: Thu, Jan 17th, 2013

Neuromarketing-A Look Into The Brains of Consumers

TNeuromarketinghe concept of neuromarketing has gained popularity today. It is an effective method which can be applied to know the trends and tendencies of the consumers which otherwise cannot be obtained. The application of neuro imaging technology to marketing has provided a scientific basis for the marketing task. The conventional marketing functions have paved way for the more scientific and authentic methods of tracing out the customers and studying their behaviours.

The three fundamental questions the marketer should ask himself before advertising a product…Answers to these questions will definitely help the marketer to identify where he is and what all changes should be made to move further. These answers are obtained with a marketing concept- Neuromarketing.

The international journal for psychophysiology has defined neuromarketing as “the application of neuro scientific methods to analyze and understand human behavior in relation to market and marketing exchanges”.

It can be simply stated as the applied extension of neuro science. Neuromarketing is a process of peering in to people’s heads with devices. The term neuromarketing has been coined by Ale Smidsts of Erasmus University in 2002.

Historically, marketing research has judged consumer attitude based on what consumers say. But always there has been a gap between consumers stated intention and their actual behavior. This is because, consumers imagine themselves as rational decision makers. Yet, a growing body of research in Psychology and Neuroscience suggest that learning and decision making is mediated by thought process that occur ‘below-the-surface’. Hence, the buyers are unaware of the ‘thinking and choosing’ process that take place somewhere inside their brain. The neuromarketing concept can be used as a suitable tool to understand consumers’ decision making process. It advances the marketers’ knowledge of how people make decisions and how marketers can influence that decision. Neuromarketing provides detailed knowledge about customer preferences and what marketing activities will stimulate buying behavior and make promotional campaigns more effective. This growing industry has the potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns.

Marketing expert martin Lindstrom views neuro marketing area of study as “simply an instrument used to help us decode what we as customers are already thinking about, when we are confronted with a product or brand”.

The thoughts and reactions that are taking place in a customer can be studied by analyzing his brain. Thus, the integration of brain technology with marketing has paved way for a new branch of marketing-neuromarketing.

The techniques in neuromarketing includes-

1. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) — It is a technique that shows what parts of the brain are active by detecting changes in blood flow and the amount of oxygen consumed in different areas. The more active an area, the more oxygen and blood flow required. Subjects are put into a cylindrical imaging device and exposed to marketing material.

2. Electroencephalography (EEG) —This technique measures the electrical activity of the brain (neurons) as recorded by electrodes placed on a subject’s head. Subjects are either given special EEG headsets to wear while exposed to marketing materials. While not as specific or accurate as FMRIs, EEGs are much less intrusive and can also be conducted at about the same cost as a typical focus group, making them extremely accessible to most businesses.

3. Eye tracking—eyes are the main focus in this technique as the location and pattern of a subject’s gaze is studied to determine which images or portions of an image illicit the most attention.

4. Galvanic skin response (GSR)—is a technique that measures the subtle changes in skin (such as temperature and sweat) that occur in conjunction with certain emotions.

Traditional forms of research have shown that the more emotionally charged a commercial is, the more likely the message is to be imbedded in a consumer’s mind. That is because, in order for a long term memory to be created, it must first have an emotional component to it. Neuro marketing is psycho-analyzing of our cerebral activity, understanding the results from the sphere of emotions, sensations, rational and even consciousness and translating them into valuable marketing guidelines. Thus, the marketer understands which aspect of the advertisement clicks and what all changes is to be adopted to the product and its marketing.

Hippo campus (also called long term memory) is known as the memory stock room. When we are confronted with organizing objects into a hierarchy and forced to prioritize a given set of objectives, simultaneously, the hippocampus cannot yield attention to two or more objects at once. Companies insist on frequency because in order for the long term memory to retain information effectively, the neuronal stimulates and creates connection with other nervous cells in the brain. The more the neurons are stimulated, the more they multiply the points of contact. The neurons and the implicated connection points in the LTM begin to create web of circuits to end up with a well synchronized cerebral map. To remember is to recreate one of these neuronal maps stored in the hippocampus. While advertisers still drive over exhausted and depreciated advertising vehicles, neuro marketing insists on leveraging growth and sustainability via Value driven and customer centric and ethical advertising methodology.

Knowing the audience and understanding their behavior also mean understanding what simulates their attention to your advertising material or website. The conventional AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) formula has been replaced by the new ways and means of studying the brain.

 Peter Drucker opined that “the main objective of neuro marketing is decoding the process that take place in the customers’ mind, in order to discover the desires, wishes and the hidden causes of their options, so that there is a possibility to get them what they want”. The road towards understanding consumer responses opens paths to understanding human behavior in general, which could be invaluable to the development of our global community.

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Neuromarketing-A Look Into The Brains of Consumers