“The customer is always right.” Every businessman has heard this statement at least once in their life. And why shouldn’t they? The idea is 100 percent true. Without loyal customers, a business is nothing. Apart from purchasing products and usage of services, a customer’s feedback must be worth a million to any company.
Since the beginning of time, wise people have used various strategies to expand their ventures. There is no doubt that a booming business means good quality products. But that does not necessarily mean that the other competitors somehow make products of inferior quality. Then why is it that one company makes millions every year, but another struggles to make just enough? This is where the science of neuromarketing comes into play.
What is Neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing is a relatively new strategy in the field of marketing. In the old days, the marketing team spent weeks coming up with campaigns to promote their company’s products. These campaigns were solely focused on the product itself. Unlike these ancient methods, neuromarketing takes notice of human behavior and decision-making.
Simply put, the marketers now play with your brain without you even realizing it. The person wouldn’t even know that they are under an invisible influence. And yet, their buying decisions largely depend on those subtle tricks that are carefully placed.
The best example of such influence would be that epic scene from the movie Focus. A couple of fraudsters, played by Will Smith and Margot Robbie, successfully wins a huge bet against competing match-fixers. The other guys chose precisely the numbers that our protagonists wanted, but how? It was revealed later that those numbers had been fed to them very subtly. A similar thing is implemented in neuromarketing.
How Does Neuromarketing Works?
In the past, the companies were more focused on their products. They would do anything to get their products noticed and get attention from their potential customers. Now, with the knowledge of neurosciences at the back, marketers target the customers directly.
Neuromarketing works by keeping in mind how a human makes a decision. Over 90% of our decisions are made unconsciously. They pop out only when necessary, and it may seem as if you have made that decision without anyone’s help. Neuroscience suggests that a person always has an emotional connection with the products they use.
The first step of neuromarketing starts with a thorough survey of the consumers. The targeted audience is asked to take part in control experiments where different products are introduced to them. The response to each item is then checked in every way possible. Several measuring brain activities are used, including Cardiac Electric activity (ECG), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eye tracking, electrodermal response measures, and other neuro-technologies. These tests show when a person’s brain lights up on using a specific product and when it refuses to acknowledge it.
In 1985, Coca-Cola was losing to Pepsi in terms of sales. People preferred Pepsi over Coke, so the company decided to change the formula. When the new formula was finally made, the marketers conducted a blind tasting test. The participants were given New Coke and Classic Coke. Most of them preferred the new one. They were given the New Coke with Pepsi. The New drink still won. The company was satisfied with their formulation and launched their new product. Within days, they started getting angry calls. People were demanding to bring back the older version of Coke. The company could not understand what’s happening because their survey was a complete success.
What the company didn’t know was the fact that many loyal customers of Coca-Cola had deep emotional connections with it. For a long time, Coca-Cola had feel-good vibes to it. Its slogan was “have a coke and a smile.” Hollywood sweethearts like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were the face of the brand.
The New Coca Cola simply did not have that connection. The company then realized that their customers might prefer Pepsi, but it was Coke that they had a connection with. This is one of the thousands of stories where decisions were made unconsciously by the customers.
We have established that neuromarketing works on people unknowingly. It focuses on certain triggers that push our minds to make a decision in their product’s favor. But what are those exact things that influence our brain more than others?
Among other visual elements, color is the one that gets our first gaze. There is a reason that the traffic light for “stop” is red along with almost all restriction signs. Google spent a good amount of time deciding what color should be used to highlight their web titles. It was agreed that the color should be blue, but then which hue of blue? Eventually, they found a hue that got more clicks than the rest. This is the power of colors that our brain perceives.
Colors can be used in all sorts of products depending on the target audience. If your audience is mature, professional people, soft colors are preferred for them. If it’s for kids, bold colors with catchy elements are bound to hold their attention.
It is common to experience “decision paralysis” when it comes to buying from a ton of options. As opposed to the past, experts have concluded that it may be harmful to a business if people are given too many options. You have ten flavors of crisps with hardly any difference in taste? Make it five distinct flavors and see the difference in your sales.
3. Fear of Loss
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is real. People hate missing out on things that everyone is crazy about. Marketers use this weakness of mortal humans to introduce new but limited edition products. By doing so, they push their customers to try out the latest product before it runs out. As a result, the company can easily see where the new product stands in the market.
Scientists believe that the human mind is dumb when it comes to making a decision. No, really, that is the case. Instead of analyzing the product at hand thoroughly and looking for its benefits, people compare it with the other options available. For example, if you are looking to buy a nice bed, you are more likely to buy the one that comes with a free duvet. You probably won’t even bother looking at other details. This is called the “anchor effect.” Marketers use this effect to attract customers.
5. Hidden Responses
A Cheetos ad revealed that people often get afraid of being judged by their fellow humans. The ad showed a prank that a lady plays on her friend by filling her laundry with Cheetos. A test was conducted on the people who showed dislike for the ad. They were subjected to EEG, which revealed brain activity that confirmed that those people actually liked the ad. They thought the ad was hilarious, but they did not show it for fear of being disrespectful. This is how neurotechnologies help get the truth out of customers, which helps them improve their product campaigns.
Despite getting criticism regarding the authenticity of neuromarketing, it has proved to be a positive change in marketing. It has helped businesses to take a non-conventional yet effective strategy that gives maximum outputs.
Conspiracy theorists call it “manipulation” and “invasion of privacy” since the participants in experiments don’t know what the data will be used for. Either way, there is no doubt that neuromarketing is a breath of fresh air in the stale old market which will keep on increasing with time.