NeuroscientificResearchAs the word suggests, neuromarketing applies neuroscience to marketing and advertising, allowing companies to measure customer engagement, consumer behavior, and consumer decision-making processes through science.

Neuroscientific research can also help marketers craft an effective marketing strategy by assisting them to accurately assess their consumer base’s response to branding, demographics, advertising, and pricing. Not to mention that consumer neuroscience eliminates some of the obstacles of traditional consumer research, like bias. Scientific research methodologies used are, for example, brain imaging and tracking of physiological responses like eye movement, facial expressions, and heart rate, all of which are used to measure a customer’s engagement and emotional responses.

Since customers are orienting themselves within the customer journey based on their emotions, touchpoints can show them the way by consistently conveying a certain feeling. This is particularly important in times when capturing the attention of customers is more difficult than ever. Today’s customers are exposed daily to tons of marketing messages. However, only 1% of them find a direct way into the consciousness of consumers, while the remaining 99% of marketing efforts are only perceived subconsciously and miss out on getting any attention. In addition, the products and services are increasingly interchangeable in the vast market fields: apart from the label there are often hardly any differences between the various providers. Therefore, to stand out with a clear profile and differentiate under these circumstances, great skill and knowledge from neuropsychology are required.

Latest scientific findings form the basis for effective marketing and can be principally summarized with the following approaches:

1. Know your customer's gut feeling

The crux of neuromarketing is that every customer decision is around 90% emotional. Considering this, rational sales arguments seem like an attempt to cut paper with a hammer. Hence, a more suitable strategy is the emotional marketing approach that aims to trigger targeted emotions in the customer who expects getting a clear gut feeling from products and services. For instance, customers don't just want to buy an alarm system, rather want a feeling of security. So, it is important to know this feeling of desire and trigger it in the customer. Whoever succeeds in this wins the customers.

2. Pull a red emotional thread

Whoever managed to capture the customer's gut feeling and attention, however, has not yet reached the final goal! The customer is only at the beginning of the journey and has still a long way to go. What’s important is to give direction so that the customer can follow the entire journey and ultimately decide to buy. To do this, every single touchpoint must evoke the same emotional reaction—ideally always the customer's feeling of desire. As a result, the brand is increasingly remembered positively, which has a corresponding influence on the purchase decision.

Neuroscientists use several different neurological and physiological research methods and techniques to measure customer responses, which include:

  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a brain imaging technique that uses magnetic fields to track blood flow through the brain, allowing to track a customer’s detailed neural responses, recall, and level of engagement with an fMRI.
  • Electroencephalography (EEG), a brain imaging technique that measures neural activity through electrodes placed on the scalp, allowing to track customer engagement and brain activity very quickly, over the course of seconds.
  • Eye tracking, since the eye's fixation points measure attention through eye movement, while pupil dilation measures a customer’s arousal. This can be used to measure engagement and attention.
  • Tracking facial expressions as it can provide insight into a customer’s emotional response.
  • Monitoring heart rate as an increase demonstrates increased arousal in your customer.

All these techniques allow businesses to glean detailed information about its customer base, which is the more important since focus groups and traditional marketing research carry research obstacles—like response bias, self-assessment bias, and research bias—which neuroscientific research solves or at least lessens the potential for these biases to impact your research and data collection.

There are three main biases that can influence the results of traditional marketing research:

  • Response bias is when a customer’s test response is influenced by the circumstances of the research set-up, including their reaction to the interviewer, the environment they’re in, or the desire to be a “good” test subject.
  • Self-assessment bias is when a customer is ambivalent about their own response or emotional state within a test, which can affect the accuracy of their recorded response. This means that your customer’s response to a product may not be as clear as what a brain scan or physiological response may reveal.
  • Researcher bias means the researchers proctoring a focus group carry their own subjective biases into any sort of marketing test, which can influence the way they report the data. Neuromarketing cuts out the influence of a potentially biased researcher.

The bottom line is neuromarketing gives you a clear, unfiltered portrait of your customers’ preferences by gathering consumer data beyond any consciously reported responses.

By Daniela La Marca