Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a relatively new area of marketing, which emerged in the 21st century. Neuromarketing examines what processes take place in the brain of the consumer before and during the purchase, and uses this knowledge to optimize sales processes. Methods of neuromarketing also belongs to the field of market research or product optimization.

Background

As a result of constant progress in research, analytical methods in marketing are also expanding continuously. Thus, eye tracking is used in Online Marketing, for example, to draw conclusions about the design of online stores by means of eye movements. Likewise, surveys and sophisticated web tracking tools, such as Google Analytics or etracker, provide important insights into consumer behavior. However, as accurate as these methods may be, they do not solve one of the key questions of neuromarketing. What happens in the consumer’s brain when he visits a website, buys a product, or looks around a store?

Prerequisite

Neuromarketing presupposes that, when a customer buys a product, processes that are not rationally justified are often carried out. It is therefore exciting for scientists to uncover the secret of successful brands with the help of brain research, because most of the time the decision for a particular brand cannot be substantiated by any reasonable arguments.

However, the assumption that rationality is secondary in buying decisions because we are controlled by unconscious processes in the brain, is controversial.

Research methods

The human brain is a complex human organ. It is the central control center for our actions and feelings. And that is what is being investigated in neuromarketing.

The investigations in neuromarketing are generally based on measurements of brain activity with a magnetic resonance tomograph. It is done under laboratory conditions. Alternatively, brain currents are measured using electroencephalography. These methods are supplemented with additional data, for example from the pulse frequency or the activity of the sweat glands.

Criticism

Since most measurements in neuromarketing are carried out under laboratory conditions, accurate statements about brain functions can be made. However, these methods do not take into account many other factors which can also influence a purchase decision such as:

  • Current state of mind (such as frustration purchases)
  • Recommendations by friends or acquaintances
  • Previous experience with a product
  • Circumstances during the purchase (distraction by other media such as radio or television)
  • Confidence of the buyer in the store

So far, neuromarketing can only be an additional method to identify potential purchasing characteristics.

Possible benefits for marketing activities

An important finding from neuromarketing is that the human factor is important for the purchase decision. Many modern online stores are taking advantage of this discovery by replacing technical images with background imagery depicting people. Some shops use storytelling to evoke emotions in potential buyers. A good example of this is fashion store ASOS.

Although neuromarketing research is still in its infancy, future knowledge will no doubt flow into the design of online stores or company websites. It is important, however, to note that neuromarketing, as well as any part of marketing, is just one of many factors that can help optimize sales.

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