By Berta Campos, on 23 June 2017
Sometimes as digital marketers we can feel almost like fortune-tellers, trying to read the future of marketing from the bottom of a teacup. What is really going on in our consumers’ minds and what can we do to make them notice our brand?
Luckily, as the years have gone by, marketing has become more and more of a science and less of an art. One of the clearest examples of this is neuromarketing, as scientific subject that that applies neuroscience to marketing to try understand how the consumer’s brain works and which areas of the brain should be activated in order to entice purchase. These 5 neuromarketing techniques should help you stand out in your ideal customer’s mind.
5 neuromarketing techniques to understand your client’s mind
1) Eye Tracking: Look through your consumer’s eyes
As the name itself indicates, eye-tracking consists in following the eye movement of people participating in a study. In other words, it is a tool that allows your brand to see through your potential clients’ eyes, not only in labs, but in real purchasing scenarios as well.
As modern eye-tracking devices are very small and light, the participants in the study can wear them while going shopping or while watching TV. With this, brands can answer a series of questions:
- How much attention to consumers pay to items promoted near the store’s entrance?
- Do clients really read posters and billboards, or do they just glance at them without reading?
- How do they distribute their attention when choosing a product from a shelf?
- Do they pay attention to they pay attention to product placement when watching TV?
As you can see, eye-tracking opens up a whole world of possibilities for marketing studies.
2) Electroencephalogram or functional MRIs: a trip inside the brain
Thanks to neuromarketing techniques, we can go a step even further. Not only can we know exactly what people are looking at, we can even get clues as to what they are thinking. How? By using devices that specialize in reading the brain’s electromagnetic activity, such as functional MRIs or electroencephalograms (EEG).
Marketers can use these to really get to know consumers’ preferences: if they feel attracted or repelled by a given feature, whether our brand interests or bores them. In the end, we obtain the answers to the same questions as traditional marketing studies, but with much greater accuracy and scientific proof.
Both “mind-reading” techniques have both advantages and disadvantages:
- The electroencephalogram is very time-sensitive and accurate - it can relate a stimulant to its reaction almost immediately, which is what makes it so useful to figure out exactly which element provides which kinds of feelings in the user. It compromises, however, with its reduced precision in locating which area of the brain causes this reaction.
- The functional MRI on the other hand, tells you exactly which parts of the brain are being activated, will a somewhat lower time precision.
3) Facial coding: a smile is worth a thousand words
They say the face is the mirror of your soul, and neuromarketing converted the art of interpreting facial expressions into somewhat of a science.
Just as we use neuromarketing techniques to measure eye movement and brain activity, this science is also used to “read faces” with unprecedented precision.
The way it works is very simple: when we smile, display anger or assemble any other kind of facial expression, we use our muscles to do it. By using sensors, these minute muscle movements can be accurately measured to detect expressions and emotions we aren't even aware we are feeling.
Of course, a small smile or a grin don't show the absolute truth of what a person is feeling at that given moment, but facial coding help marketers by reading and interpreting subtle reactions that offer insights on our opinions. They are sometimes even able to predict the behavior that will follow these expressions.
4) Sensory Marketing: Looks aren't everything
Besides investigation related techniques, neuromarketing also has more practical and functional applications, like Sensory Marketing.
By applying Neuromarketing discoveries, we can impact consumers without them even knowing that we’re doing it. There are several forms of Sensory marketing, such as through touch, sound or smell. All of them, however, are based on the same idea: influencing the audience to think of a certain brand in the presence of sensory stimulations.
Smell is the perfect example of the use of sensory marketing. Sometimes, getting a customer to make a purchase is as easy as influencing their senses with the right fragrance. A very common example are supermarkets who strengthen the smell of fresh bread in order to attract people to the bread section and encourage them to purchase.
Sounds are also a very useful resource: it has been proven, for example, that consumers pay more attention to lighter colored objects when they hear high pitched sounds, and darker objects when they hear low pitched sounds.
5) Neuromarketing mind tricks
Last of all, we are going to address the psychological tricks used by neuromarketing in order to boost sales.
Psychological neuromarketing techniques can be very subtle - it has been shown, for example, that removing the dollar or other currency sign from the price tag can make consumers purchase more. It seems that the currency symbol makes people think more about their loss than what they will gain, and removing the price completely may also encourage purchases.
Another surprising example is the organization and structure of restaurant menus: visitors have higher chances of choosing healthy options when these are shown on the left hand side of the menu, and vice versa.
As you can see, neuromarketing has plenty of ways to boost brands’ relationship with consumers, so don’t miss out on the chance to use it!