From the beginning of marketing & advertising the main question that is continually asked is “why”. Why do consumers do what they do, why do they buy one brand over the other, why are specific advertisements more effective than others. These are just a short list of why questions but this is where the new and booming field of neuromarketing comes into play. Neuromarketing uses neuroscience to understand why we make the decisions we make when it comes to buying one product over the other. Let’s explore some of what makes neuromarketing so great!

What is neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is a new cutting edge technology that is used to measure the effects marketing has on the brain. The purpose of neuromarketing is to understand consumer behavior while tapping into what consumers purchasing decisions will be. The researchers do this by studying the consumers sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli.

The Science Behind Neuromarketing

Researchers use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the changes in the brain as well as electroencephalography (EEG) & steady state topography (SST) to measure activity in specific regions of the brain. They are also able to see the change in a person’s emotional state by measuring how the heart rate, respiratory rate and skin respond to different messages or commercials.

How Companies Can Use Neuromarketing

Coke and Pepsi are basically identical to one another, even down to the chemical composition, but for some reason most people swear that one brand is better than the other. This situation brings about the big question of how each company’s message is received and perceived by a consumer. Understanding this is key to shaping the perceptions or even dictating the behaviours of their target market.

Neuromarketing: Case Study

In a study done at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, researchers gave coke and pepsi to subjects to measure behavioural taste test by measuring the subjects brain waves using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fRMI). They used two type of conditions:

  1. They anonymously gave coke and pepsi to the subjects and in this task they found that there was a consistent neural response in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex that coincided with the subjects behavioral preferences. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is part of the prefrontal cortex and plays a big role in processing the risk and fear response. It also plays a part in the process of decision making.
  2. The researchers delivered coke and pepsi to the subject while also giving them the information of what brand the drink was. In this test the brand knowledge had a heavy influence on behavioral preferences in the measured brain responses.

At the conclusion of the experiment they found that Pepsi and Coke should share half of the market. The game changer is Coke’s ability to brand themselves better than Pepsi. The subjects were choosing Coke over Pepsi more for the brand and less for the taste preferences.

In another case study Paypal found that commercials that focused on speed and convenience brought about a significantly better neural response than advertisements that focused on safety and security.

Final Thoughts

Today, where we have advertisements popping up on our TVs, radios, Internet and now our phones, it is important to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Knowing this information will save you a both time and money. But more importantly: understanding the reaction your advertisements have on the brain will allow you to get the best ROI on your marketing efforts and help you hone in on what your target market wants. Knowing the science behind why someone liked your advertisement or clicked on your google ad is where neuromarketing really beats out any other marketing research strategy.

Devin the the Creative Technologist at Thought House. He's what some may call a unicorn. He switches between code and design like it's his day job... oh wait, it is! And he loves it oh so much.

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