There’s a new trend in marketing, and it is based on hard science — specifically targeting the ancient parts of our brain that pre-date human existence! Neuromarketing experts claim that by simply changing the way we market to individuals, we can turn on a secret, hidden “Buy Now” button that will cause people to take action. Whether you believe the hype completely or feel as though this is yet another form of snake oil, there is a lot of concepts to be learned from the tenets of neuromarketing that will allow you to appeal to the most primitive parts of the human brain.
What is Neuromarketing?
Marketing analysts are always looking for new and different ways to engage individuals in making a purchasing decision, and neuromarketing is a more recent introduction to the field that allows scientists to review a variety of physical attributes to determine a subject’s engagement with a particular topic. Specifically, measurements from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and other techniques are utilized to apply neuroscience to the field of marketing by reviewing human response to advertising, packaging, specific products and other marketing elements. The unique methods used in neuromarketing are highly specific, and can measure a subject’s response even when the individual does not realize that they’re identifying with one particular choice over another. Marketing campaigns can then be developed to produce a brain activity that leads to a certain type of behavior — such as purchasing a product. All together, this field allows marketers to understand not only the answer to which product is preferred over another, but also the all-important “Why?”
The Science of Human Decisions
Understanding how humans make decisions is a question that has been studied for thousands of years, and is still effectively in its infancy. Neuroscience attempts to bring in the science behind human decision making and review the neurometrics, biometrics and even psychometrics required to understand what causes human behavior. There are three distinct sections of the human brain, and each has unique traits that are used to perform activities:
Forebrain: Part of the limbic system, the forebrain is the rational portion of your brain — also called the “new brain” — as it is responsible for thought, language and imagination.
Midbrain: Focuses on our emotional self, and is often called the mammalian brain as it provides memory, value judgments and often unconscious decision making.
Hindbrain: Our deepest, most instinctual self is centered in what is also known as the reptilian brain. Here you’ll find the roots of compulsion, as well as the control for heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance.
Our instinctual self has a greater impact on our decisions than either the emotional or rational parts of your brain, so this is the portion that neuromarketing suggests should be triggered in order to create a successful sales campaign.
Reaching the Lizard Brain
While the entire brain is engaged in decision-making, the reptilian brain has more of an impact than most of us would like to admit on making snap decisions. Speaking to the most primitive part of the brain can be challenging, as it’s important to distill any message down to its simplest parts and create an incredibly visual value proposition that will appeal to a buyer. Some of the stimuli that appeal to the reptilian brain are messages that are self-centered, have a great deal of contrast, are tangible, have a defined beginning and end, bring an emotion to bear and most importantly — messages that are highly visual. Marketers have long understood the value of emotion in making a sales pitch, but extending that idea brings the ability to visualize metaphors in a new and creative way to improve triggers that lead to purchasing behaviors.
Applying Neuromarketing Techniques Today
Few marketers have the ability to run customers through an MRI and ask questions to determine their likes and dislikes, so how can modern marketers take advantage of these neuromarketing techniques? Fortunately, there is a simple prescription that allows you to use these tools to boost engagement and sales for your brand. The four steps for effective neuromarketing are:
Look for obvious pain points. When you determine what type of pains and fears are in your customers’ brains, then you’re one step closer to presenting a solution to their problem.
Differentiate your claims. Show how your solution or product provides a more attractive alternative to other products on the market in a tangible way.
Create tactics the lizard brain cannot ignore. Visual, visceral cues to the benefits are the ultimate tactic for delivering value to the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain responds a great deal more quickly than your logical brain, as your optical nerve delivers images for feedback to your lizard brain much more quickly than words — which are processed in the logical portions of your brain.
Understanding the structure and reasoning of how the brain works is critical to being effective in neuromarketing as well as traditional marketing. Marketing that is tied to strong, specific and simplistic emotion allows the oldest and most reactive parts of our brains to sit up and take notice, and ultimately hit that wonderful “Buy” button. Unlike traditional marketing, the goal is not simply to evoke positive emotion, but to create emotions that will cause prospects to take a positive action.