Today’s world presents numerous challenges for marketers, ranging from geopolitical changes to the impact of artificial intelligence on consumer behavior. One key challenge is understanding consumer preferences. Neuromarketing offers a solution by providing valuable insights into consumer preferences, enabling marketers to decode complex buying behavior and meet the growing demand for personalized experiences. Explore this article to discover three effective ways to integrate neuromarketing into your marketing strategies.
Key takeaways :
- Understanding consumer preferences: the mechanics of decision making and the role of the reward system in it.
- Leveraging the Framing effect: The combination of neuromarketing and the framing effect can be a powerful tool for marketers. Know how to carefully frame messages using insights from neuromarketing to influence consumer perceptions and achieve the desired behavior.
- Know more about how neuromarketing can help test stories and further boost the effectiveness of storytelling.
- Understand how employing sensory stimuli using neuromarketing insights that align with the target audience’s preferences can enhance the sensory experience and create more engaging interactions between the brand and consumers.
Back in the early 2000s, an email with my name in the subject line had the power to captivate me and make me feel special. But post-2010, while it still managed to grab my attention, it no longer held the same allure. Fast forward to today, unless important, such emails usually irritate me and find their way straight to my trash bin! It’s personalization, but in name only, lacking the impact it once had.
I’m sure you’ll agree that in today’s consumer society, experience is crucial. Marketers work hard to create personalized and memorable experiences for their customers. The evolution of technology has made it easy to collect huge volumes of data on anything and anyone, combined with the capabilities to undertake complicated data analysis to make sense of the huge amounts of data, has enabled firms to bring disruption, innovate, and even reshape the economy. It is feasible to develop accurate customer profiles, buying journeys, segmentation, targeting and re-targeting, customize and communicate with consumers using insights from data analytics and established traditional market research. Integrated marketing techniques are often used by marketers to make their brand’s presence known practically wherever customers go. However, as technology evolves, consumer behavior evolves as well. Because consumers are constantly exposed to new information and a variety of marketing stimuli, consumer preferences evolve in tandem. Therefore, it’s no secret that only marketers who can use this data and insights to their advantage in creating meaningful experiences and emotional connections can sustain themselves in this hyper-competitive and volatile environment.
However, one of the crucial considerations is that these insights are most of the time derived from the expressed or well-thought preferences of consumers, meaning they stem from their conscious minds. On the contrary, actual decision-making while buying a product or using a service does necessarily reflect the same. Many studies in social science have proven that what consumers state as their preferences may not always align with their true desires. In fact, individuals often have difficulty identifying their genuine preferences (Thompson, Schaefer and Menzel, 2012). Our choices and decisions can be influenced by a range of factors. By understanding how the human brain works in decision-making and knowing the true desires of consumers (which they fail to express?!), marketing techniques can be improved to arouse appropriate emotions and build strong consumer-brand bonds.
Science of decision-making for creating emotional connections
Neuroscientists believe that our primitive brain is constantly communicating with our modern brain, i.e., the cortex, in order to influence decisions. For example, researchers have discovered that the “reward” pathways in the brain that react to things like cocaine, chocolate, sex, music, and so on also find pleasure in the mere anticipation of gaining money or exacting revenge on someone. Our primal brain, which is driven by emotions, does not always work under the watchful eye and may dominate our higher cognitive functions, leading to impulsive or illogical decision-making (Morse, 2006). Furthermore, preferences are highly subjective, and individual characteristics such as impulsivity and cognitive control contribute to individual decision-making heterogeneity (Peters & Büchel, 2011). Earlier economic theories stated that humans made logical judgments; however, according to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s prospect theory, individuals assess outcomes based on subjective values rather than objective probabilities and value losses more than similar gains. As a result, human decision-making is frequently impacted by various cognitive biases and heuristics or mental shortcuts (Tversky & Kahneman, 1986), (Tversky & Kahneman, 1992).
Having said that, understanding the preferences and emotions that influence consumer behavior, or the “why,” is a challenging task for marketers. However, it is not impossible.
Neuromarketing can help to understand how the unconscious brain influences consumer behavior and decision-making by accessing thoughts, emotions, and desires. It can assist in bridging the gap between data, analytics, and decision-making processes, allowing marketers to make choices easier for consumers by delivering products or services that are more closely aligned with what they want. Neuromarketing techniques such as EEG, eye tracking, galvanic skin response, and Heart rate analysis, among others, could be leveraged in both ways – in formulating strategies as well as testing their effectiveness.
Here are three approaches to using neuromarketing to create effective marketing strategies that link your product to the heart and brain of the consumer :
- Use the fusion of neuromarketing insights & the framing effect :
Scientists Kahneman and Tversky discovered the ‘framing effect’ that leverages the tendency of our brains to be influenced by emotions and intuition rather than just thinking analytically. When faced with complex or incomplete information, our brain tends to take shortcuts called heuristics and use simple rules of thumb to make decisions quickly. Therefore, the way information is presented to us, or “framed,” can have a big impact on our choices. This framing effect is thought to be driven by our emotions and how we feel about things (Tversky & Kahneman, 1986).
The study undertaken by Martinez-Levy et al. (2021) to examine the efficiency of message framing in nonprofit advertising by incorporating insights from neuromarketing research is an interesting example of the application of the neuromarketing & framing effect. An unsuccessful advertising strategy was examined and effectively adjusted in this study undertaken in collaboration with UNHCR. Weaknesses in originality were detected, such as a lack of emotional impact and a poor call to action. Neuromarketing techniques were used to identify the pictures that needed to be modified, and a new and improved commercial was made and shown on television, taking into consideration current literature on nonprofit advertising campaigns. The UNHCR claimed a favorable impact following the campaign’s distribution, with an increase in contribution requests and subscriptions. A post-test study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the new ad, examining if the weaknesses identified in the previous ad were addressed and their impact on neurophysiological markers. This highlights the importance of using neuromarketing tools to optimize creative strategies and predict the success of marketing campaigns.
- Use neuromarketing insights to test, improve and refine marketing stories:
Needless to say, storytelling is a strong marketing strategy that allows marketers to develop emotional connections, stand out among competitors, and successfully represent their brand’s identity (Whitler, 2018). Neuromarketing can boost the power of stories by assisting in the creation of successful narratives that connect with the objective, stimulate the appropriate emotions, and ensure longer retention. British Petroleum (BP) tested two stories about its efforts to conserve endangered sea turtles using neuromarketing. One narrative focused on emotions (narrative 1), while the other used a more rational approach (Story 2), and both were written by BP to re-establish public trust following the 2010 oil leak tragedy, with the goal of studying the effects of these stories on the participants. Before and after reading, participants completed surveys on their concerns about global warming, their perceptions of various oil companies, and their trust in BP. Biometric data, such as eye tracking, facial expressions, and skin responses, were collected while participants read the stories. The same surveys were repeated immediately and four weeks later to measure retention.
Fig. 1. Heat map for affective story
Fig. 2. Heat map for the cognitive story
The results revealed that affective stories generated greater shifts in behavior and attitude change compared to the cognitive text. However, it also stimulated more negative emotions and lower levels of trust. Respondents spent more time reading the affective story and showed higher engagement levels. Cognitive stories resulted in longer-lasting attitude change and better retention. (Hamelin et al., 2020)
Testing stories pre or post-campaigns can help marketers to include tailor-made content or narratives for the target audience and get insights on what and when the key information, emotional content, images, etc., should be included in their storytelling.
Websites are great Storytelling Platform: Build compelling websites using Neurodesign
- Employ neuromarketing to deliver an effective sensory experience:
Both sensory & neuromarketing could be integrated to deepen the understanding of consumer behavior. Sensory marketing focuses on creating multisensory experiences to engage consumers on various sensory levels, whereas neuromarketing plays a crucial role by revealing how different sensory inputs affect consumer perception, emotions, and behavior. By studying neural responses using techniques such as EEG and fMRI, researchers can identify which sensory combinations are more effective in capturing attention, enhancing engagement, and creating memorable experiences (Menezes, Gonçalves, and Muylder, 2016)
Neuromarketing can also help marketers to assess sensory preferences and evaluate the impact of sensory elements on consumers. By measuring brain activity, researchers can determine the emotional and cognitive impact of multisensory marketing campaigns and identify areas for improvement that can allow marketers to optimize the timing, sequence, and intensity of sensory stimuli to create more impactful and personalized experiences. (Manzano, Serra and Gavilán, 2019). Moreover, it can also help in creating effective personalized marketing strategies by understanding individual differences in sensory processing and preferences leading to more effective communication and higher engagement.
All things considered, there are numerous ways in which neuromarketing can be used to boost marketing strategies example deciding on product pricing or designing product packaging, and more. The non-invasive techniques discussed in this blog, however, are less expensive, more accessible, and simple when compared to complex techniques such as fMRI, and thus could be easily accommodated in marketing budgets and in a transparent way.
Are you ready to harness the potential of neuromarketing? Let us connect and delve deeper into the possibilities. Schedule a discussion today!
- Hamelin, N., Thaichon, P., Abraham, C., Driver, N., Lipscombe, J. and Pillai, J. (2020). Storytelling, the scale of persuasion and retention: A neuromarketing approach. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 55, p.102099. doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102099.
- Manzano, R., Serra, T. and Gavilán, D. (2019). Sensory Marketing: Straight to the Emotions. [online] IE Insights. https://www.ie.edu/insights/articles/sensory-marketing-straight-to-the-emotions/
- Martinez-Levy, A.C., Rossi, D., Cartocci, G., Mancini, M., Di Flumeri, G., Trettel, A., Babiloni, F. and Cherubino, P. (2021). Message framing, non-conscious perception, and effectiveness in nonprofit advertising. Contribution by neuromarketing research. International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing. Doi https://doi.org/10.1007/s12208-021-00289-0.
- Menezes, R.G., Gonçalves, C.A. and Muylder, C.F. de (2016). Sensorial marketing and neuroscience: neuroscience contributions to the marketing field. ufmg.br. [online] doi https://doi.org/10.36478/ibm.2016.1672.1678.
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- Thompson, J., Schaefer, L. and Menzel, J. (2012). Internalization of Thin-Ideal and Muscular-Ideal. Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance, [online] pp.499–504. doi https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-384925-0.00079-1.
- Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1986). Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions. The Journal of Business, 59(S4), p.S251. Doi:https://doi.org/10.1086/296365.
- Tversky, A. and Kahneman, D. (1992). Advances in prospect theory: Cumulative representation of uncertainty. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 5(4), pp.297–323. doi https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00122574.
- Whitler, K.A. (2018). 3 Reasons Why Storytelling Should Be a Priority For Marketers. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2018/07/14/3-reasons-why-storytelling-should-be-a-priority-for-marketers/