In today’s digital landscape where marketers are vying for every second of the customers’ attention, traditional market research methodologies of surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. are falling short in terms of bringing out the real needs and wants of the customers. Neuroscience proves that purchase decisions are deep-rooted within the subconscious, which most often than not is unknown even to the consumers who are being asked survey questions in the traditional research techniques. The major implication of Neuromarketing is that at times, findings go against our instincts and leads to higher marketing returns.
Neuromarketing is all about understanding how the human brain works and the real needs, wants, feelings, emotions of your TG and then realigning your traditional marketing tools and techniques to communicate effectively to your customers. Neuromarketing mainly uses two basic methods of tracking prospects’ brain activity: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and electroencephalography (EEG).
fMRI is used by using a powerful magnet to track the brain’s blood flow and observe how subjects respond to audio and visual cues. This allows examiners to access the “pleasure center” and enable marketers to predict how the audience will respond to their work. The EEG electrodes measure electrical waves produced by the brain and allow researchers to measure instinctual emotions- anger, excitement, sorrow, and lust through fluctuations of activity. In layman terms, we can define Neuromarketing as quantifying a person’s responses to develop business insights.
It is not just the cutting-edge technological marvels in Neuromarketing that has got all the big brands using it extensively to gain competitive advantage. It is also the research findings that play a game-changing role in helping the marketers make strategies for incredible campaigns that go beyond human intuitions.
Airbnb used an HBR Research as the foundation for one of its most successful campaigns – ‘New Yorkers Agree: Airbnb is great for New York City’. This ad campaign featured the heart touching story of one of the Airbnb host’s Carol Williams – ‘Meet Carol’, which showed how AirBnB helped her survive the financial crunch post her husband’s demise. This campaign created an emotional brand image for Airbnb and made it very relatable to a major section of their prospective customers. The video was not about what Airbnb offers in terms of financial incentives or its pricing structure but how inducting AirBnB in Williams’ life changed it for the better – the financial part was simply implied. The important insight gained from this example is that marketing tells us to focus on the core product and price, but Airbnb completely neglected them to focus solely on the emotional triggers – backed by data and hard evidence. This is just one example out of hundreds of successful campaigns of big brands using the power of Neuromarketing. Neuromarketing should not be viewed as a different branch of marketing but more as a framework for gathering insights on which to formulate marketing strategies and campaigns.
Let’s have a look at some of the interesting findings of Neuromarketing:
1. Fonts: In theory, selection of fonts may appear to be based on personal preference but Neuromarketing teaches us that Simple fonts encourage actions and conversions whereas complex fonts boost memory recall. This has far-reaching consequences as this finding dictates that all website content, forms, and instructions should be written in simple, easy to understand manner and simple fonts. A complex font visually stands out and can be used to grab the viewer’s attention.
2. Direct Gaze: Viewers often at what the person in the ad or video is looking at and as such, it is important to have eye contact with the viewer to increase engagement and make the experience more immersive.
3. Earn Trust: The best way to earn the trust of the audience is by showing trust. Free trials, free resources like eBooks, webinars and tutorials are good for a company to earn the trust of its audience.
4. Smile: A smiling photograph always triumphs a serious-looking one and this is an important criterion while selection stock images.
5. Peer endorsements are more effective than celebrity endorsements and this finding has given rise to the culture of influencer marketing. Celebrities often lack the credibility factor and expertise on the product and in comparison, with the celebrity, viewers often see a drop in their self-esteem which spills over to the brand. Peer endorsers or influencers are more relatable to their audiences and have a higher impact on the decision-making process of the customer.
6. Product Placement: In the age of ad blockers and people shunning away from ads, Product Placement has a higher effect on increasing the attention to the product but at same time, owing to regulations which force makes it mandatory to announce regarding the product placement in the movie/video, the brand attitude takes a hit.
7. Cialdini’s Scarcity Principle: This Neuromarketing principle has been widely applied across diverse industries with tremendous success. Nike’s limited-edition sneakers always cause tremendous mayhem amongst its loyal customer base when they are released. Another proven example is the limited time offer of McDonald’s McRibs. This is called marketing with scarcity. Marketers create a time-limited offer or a product with dwindling supplies and are able to create a sense of urgency to bolster sales. The latest in the line of Limited-edition strategy is mobile phones – usually sold in flash sales.