The Next Big Thing is Neuromarketing
The world has been in a state of constant flux for a long time now, with more and more innovations coming up every single day. The art of marketing and selling has also naturally gone through monumental changes, to keep up with the times and the demands. Earlier there might have been a scramble amongst agencies to acquire advertisement spots in newspapers, slots in radio or television shows and even the occasional hoardings. While this sort of marketing is not yet totally obsolete, there are newer and more efficient ways that are coming up which also promise not to be as elaborate and costly. Figuring out what your target audience really wants and how they want it is possibly the most crucial part of your marketing drive. This can only be ascertained by having a basic knowledge of how people think. This is where neuromarketing comes in.
What is Neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing, as a process, combines science and marketing to measure the neurobiological effects that an activity can have on its potential customers. The idea is to study the responses in the brain when it is triggered by certain marketing strategies that a brand might come up with.
There are two basic methods to track users' brain activity- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG). The MRI is a procedure where a powerful magnet is used to track the blood flow in the brain with respect to the audio,visual cues and the triggers. This enables the examiner to access deep parts of the brain, known as the pleasure centre, to figure out what the fundamental reaction to a certain brand, product or service has been for that person.
EEG is a process where the cap of electrodes is fitted on the user’s scalp, which then measures electrical waves produced by the brain, allowing researchers to track instinctual emotions like anger, sorrow, happiness, excitement etc. Both MRI and EEG come with their own set of pros and cons. The MRI gives the most accurate results but it is not only an expensive procedure, the subjects are also required to lie completely still in an intimidating large machine, while the EEG, in spite of being a relatively cheaper and easier process to go through, cannot access the deeper parts of the brain. The advantage of this is that it is a foolproof way of knowing what your users and customers are truly thinking instead of knowing through surveys and discussions where there is room for relativity, biases and miscommunication.
Other than these two, neuromarketing can be done through eye-tracking where attention and attraction are measured through fixation points and pupil dilation in eye movements. Tracking micro-changes in facial expressions can also provide information about how any customer responds to a product or a service and monitoring the heart rate can also demonstrate arousal in the customer.
The origin of neuromarketing is not new. It was back in the 1990s that marketers and scientists started doing research about this. In the same year, Coca-Cola reportedly hired several research centres to conduct different studies, but the results of these were never published. It was finally, in 2002, that the first academic study in neuromarketing titled "Neural Correlates of Behavioral Preference for Culturally Familiar Drinks" done by the company called SalesBrain appeared. In this study, the scientist monitored the MRI of the brains of subjects who were asked to drink either Coca-Cola or Pepsi. They noticed that their response was dependent on whether the subject knew what they were drinking or not. This has been around for quite some time now, but experts believe that it is bound to only grow more from here.
Not a hypothesis, companies are actually using it...
Many companies have already started using neuromarketing to restyle their packaging, or reshaping their marketing campaigns. The neuromarketing processes involved exposing the customer to the products piece by piece to record their responses, be it positive, neutral, or negative. This information was then used in conjunction with an in-depth interview in order to fully understand the changes that would be favourable if made, with regards to colour, text size, or imagery.
Frito-Lay, for instance, discovered that shiny bags with pictures of chips on them did trigger a negative response, whereas, matte bags with pictures of potatoes did not. As a result, within months, new matte bags were designed and the shiny ones were scrapped.
In another well known instance, Hyundai, used EEG caps and asked their customers to examine it and use a car prototype for an hour, in order to record their basal psychological reactions to it.
PayPal is also known to have used neuromarketing techniques to figure out that commercials focusing on speed and convenience triggered a significantly higher response in customers than those advertising safety and security. This led them to design a wholly new campaign altogether.
What has Neuromarketing taught us so far?
There are some very basic concepts behind neuromarketing, which have been identified in the research over the years. These are easy to follow, have higher conversion rates and have been proved to be perennially successful.
Colour psychology: Colours play a very important role in grabbing the attention of a consumer and thus, it is extremely important to use the right colours for the right kind of products or services. For example, if it is a product catering to children, it may not be the best idea to colour them in shades of brown.
Audio branding: If you walk down memory lane, you might be surprised to find that the most iconic advertisements that you remember from your childhood are probably the ones with the characteristic jingle. While visuals are very important for marketing, audio branding is also a powerful way to get customers to remember your business.
Pricing: Pricing is an important aspect of your business and it determines the revenue as well as the profit of your business. Neuromarketing has revealed that smart pricing strategies make a huge difference in the success of your brand. Depending on the product that you are selling, you should pre-determine whether you want to keep rounded prices or odd prices. Download prices are easy for the brain to process and all prices make the brain work harder.
Effective packaging: The way you package your product is extremely important for greater acceptability. Neuromarketing helps a lot in figuring out what kind of packaging appeals to the customer with regards to the product. It helps to identify any minor tweaks or changes required to be made to a fairly accepted packaging even more personalized and better.
Fonts matter: You might not realise this, but fonts can make or break your business. Complex fonts will make the brain work harder while simple Sans Serif fonts seem to elicit immediate impact. A good thumb rule to follow is to use simple legible fonts to give out instructions or messages or information and use complex ones which are usually more attention-seeking as highlights are headings.
Trends in Neuromarketing, 2021
Neuromarketing is a discipline that may be new, but its future looks bright pointing to new trends.
Nano marketing: With the growth in nanotechnology, several tools and applications are being integrated into small non-intrusive wireless devices which are now available as wearable technology. With these devices, it might be possible to get a more constructive understanding of consumer emotions and behaviours.
Hyper personalization: In this day and age of data collection by big companies, it is imperative that advertising and marketing be more and more personalized, targeting highly personal experiences. This is another area where neuromarketing can come in handy.
Internet of things: This is the concept of connecting devices remotely in order to collect and share data about the way they are used and the environment that they are in. This provides an opportunity for neuromarketing as well.
Successful marketing has become such a huge part of our lives today, and with the increase in the amount of content we consume on a daily basis, it also becomes increasingly difficult to break through all the clutter. Neuromarketing is an advantage, in that regard, as it seeks to analyse the most basic roots of human emotions and reflexes. Yes, it might look like that it requires a significantly higher budget, but it often turns out that in the long run using neuromarketing and shaping your product or service, just the way the majority of your target audience will like it, proves to be less expensive that designing a campaign that appeals to no one.