Neuromarketing Irina Khomutova Moscow

Neuromarketing is changing the world

Why do people buy Tide laundry detergent and not Persil, Laska or Wäs? What makes consumers loyal to a brand and what makes them abandon it? In the end, choosing the best washing machine detergent should be based on obvious factors, including price and effectiveness. So why isn't it? Researchconducted in 2021 showed that from 80% to 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for speed and convenience regardless of the quality of the product, and an equally impressive 18% are willing to pay more for luxury and pleasant services. This consumer behavior has implications far beyond what can be captured by conventional means.

What is the best way to understand why consumers choose a particular brand? Research tools such as focus groups, interviews and surveys provide unique and useful information. However, each of them has limitations that make it difficult to get a full understanding of the behaviors, needs and preferences that affect the decision-making process of consumers.

Neuromarketing is often called the future of marketing because it helps to understand the subconscious behavior of consumers. It is becoming increasingly clear that this plays a key role in our ability to understand and discover deep consumer needs, desires, motives and preferences.

By applying a combination of neuro- and cognitive science to traditional marketing, we can enhance our marketing tools for better results. This process involves studying the reactions and behavior of the human brain and body when confronted with various marketing stimuli: branding, advertising, packaging, etc.

The study of subconscious behavior provides information that cannot be obtained from traditional forms of consumer and market research. For example, monitoring neurological responses can help understand the effectiveness of advertising and the desirability of a product, as well as provide insight into attitudes toward price or emotions evoked by promotions.

This gives marketers a better idea of ​​how to create brands, marketing materials and advertising campaigns that are more effective and designed to better respond to their target audience.

Neuromarketing is an offshoot of the field of cognitive neuroscience. However, it goes beyond what people can articulate. Putting the brain at the center of consumer behavior would allow researchers to take into account data that is not just reported by the consumer, but also collected biometrically using technologies such as fMRI, EEG, and others.

NEUROMARKETING TOOLS

There are many tools and methods used to conduct neuromarketing research.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

fMRI is used to detect blood flow in the brain associated with increased neural activity. The technology monitors changes in oxygenated blood flow in response to cognitive tasks. This type of technology can measure certain levels of consumer engagement. For example, fMRI can be used to assess how consumers feel about factors such as price. It's important to note that such equipment is expensive — and testing must be done in a lab with the participant lying still inside the machine — so fMRI isn't as readily available or convenient as other neuromarketing tools.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Known as a more cost-effective alternative to fMRI, EEG is a tool that provides valuable information about brain activity. EEG is a non-invasive electrophysiological brain imaging technique in which marketing stimulus values ​​can be assessed in terms of memory, engagement, perception, and attention. The equipment is light, portable and comfortable to wear. Participants' natural behavior is captured using sensors attached to the scalp to measure the electrical waves generated by the brain.

eye tracking

This method measures eye movements and tracks where subjects move their gaze. Gaze tracking is useful for analyzing what grabs the attention of consumers, what confuses them, and how quickly they can recognize brand elements. This technology cannot measure emotions, so it should be used in addition to other methods to get a complete picture of the subjects' reactions. There are many eye-tracking devices such as fixed eye-tracking devices, eye-tracking glasses, eye-tracking virtual reality glasses, and eye-tracking webcams. Because these devices are so affordable and easy to use, eye tracking is one of the most common methods used in neuromarketing research.

Pupillometry

This is an eye tracking technique used to measure pupillary dilation of a subject. Marketers can use the results to determine how interesting their marketing creatives and communications are. An increase in expansion may indicate that participants are more interested in test materials. Changes in light intensity that occur during testing also affect pupil dilation, so pupillometry testing must be tightly controlled to obtain accurate readings.

Biometrics

For years, marketing researchers have used biometrics to measure physical responses to various stimuli such as online experiences, television, messaging, print ads, products and services. This neuroscience technology measures skin conductance, heart rate and respiration to determine how consumers view and react to media.

Facial Movement Coding System (SKLiD)

This is software that measures subtle changes in facial expressions. This technology is used to measure the range of emotions (such as anger or happiness) and emotional valence (positivity and negativity). This cost-effective neuroscience tool can help marketers understand brand perceptions and consumer emotions in response to marketing stimuli. It is important to note that although this method has great potential, some professionals consider it to be more subjective and less reliable than other neuromarketing tools.

PRESS PEOPLE'S BUTTONS?

Most consumers don't spend much time thinking about why they buy what they buy. The goal of neuromarketing is to uncover the true causes and purposes behind consumer behavior. Business seeks to analyze the subconscious part of the human psyche in order to truly understand why people buy certain products and services. We can bypass the conscious bias and identify automatic responses that tend to be universal across all people.

Recent advances in brain imaging and data collection technologies, coupled with the application of the cognitive speech processing system, have transformed neuromarketing from a curious set of idiosyncratic studies into a vibrant new field of study by neuroscientists around the world. Neuromarketing has brought us closer to understanding the true intentions behind consumer decision making.

By gaining a basic understanding of human behavior, marketers can use their talents to deliver creative ideas and messages that better engage, engage, and align with their target audience, their preferences, and needs.

Neuromarketing generates long-term benefits—both for companies and their target audiences—when brands can connect with consumers on a deeper and more meaningful level.

95% of purchases are made on emotions. Thus, buyers' evaluation of a product is not based on the brain weighing the wisdom of a purchase on the basis of classical economics. Rather, it occurs at the reptilian level of the brain, where the fight-or-flight response occurs, and in areas of the limbic system that govern emotions, such as the amygdala, where anxiety resides, and in the anterior cingulate cortex. a brain where uncertainty and conflicting feelings reside. As confirmation of the areas of the brain where these reactions occur, emotion decoding experiments in the brain show that when these areas are damaged, people cannot make choices and end up acting on impulse and whim.

But you don't have to be brain-damaged to act impulsively or make consumer choices that aren't in your best interest. Neuroscience can quickly learn these responses and even manipulate them through data analytics and artificial intelligence to understand how the mind works, for marketing purposes, and even to achieve sociopolitical goals.

WHY COCA-COLA?

In 2004 researchers of one American medical school was the first to showhow marketing can have a wide impact on the minds of consumers and influence their choices. They conducted an experiment to understand why people prefer Coca-Cola over Pepsi. The researchers gave the participants two unlabeled glasses, one containing Coca-Cola and the other containing Pepsi. When asked what they preferred, people overwhelmingly chose Pepsi when they didn't know which was which. However, when they were given the same drinks in one of the glasses labeled "Coca-Cola", they preferred Coca-Cola. What's more, when the researchers did the opposite and named one drink "Pepsi," people chose the intended glass of Coca-Cola even more frequently, confirming that consumers were influenced by brand awareness and Coca-Cola's appeal was greater than that of Pepsi.

An fMRI study correlated this choice with brain activity. During the anonymous test, activity was highest in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area of ​​the brain involved in emotional and self-referential processing. In contrast, when people knew the brand, the hippocampus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were activated, showing that during the test, subjects recalled their previous experiences with the brand. In addition, a study in people with a compromised ventromedial prefrontal cortex found that damage to this area, compared with subjects with lesions in other areas of the brain and healthy subjects, outweighed brand influence on preference.

Similar results were obtained in another study on the role of uncertainty in the activation of the area of ​​the brain that responds to brand awareness. During the study, people's brains were scanned when they chose between almost identical tour packages. Aside from a few minor semantic differences in how the packages were presented in the brochures, the choice really came down to the question of two competing brands. In this case, brand awareness also mattered, activating both the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex.

ETHICAL?

Neuromarketing research is becoming a potentially powerful window into the neural basis of human motivation. The most interesting thing about neuromarketing is the idea that one day we will be able to measure what people think, not just what they say or do, and maybe we will be able to see the steps leading to a solution - its building up over time. .

Much has been written about neuromarketing tactics in Donald Trump's heavily digital campaign when the convergence of Big Data, artificial intelligence and social media eliminated the need to test people in a lab and allowed them to identify voters with extraordinary accuracy. This is based on a concept from cognitive psychology known as "congruence theory" which suggests that voters will choose politicians whose perceived traits match their own.

First, vast amounts of data on individual consumers have been collected using digital learning channels such as digital listening, face recognition, and image identification. The researchers then used machine learning algorithms to observe, test, and analyze political emotions and behaviors to understand their political significance. Then, a psychometric profile of the individual consumer was developed, which was subsequently transferred through social networks to the online identity of the candidate, his message, and all other political interactions between the campaign and voters.

It would be extremely naive to assume that such technologies were used only in the election campaign of Donald Trump. Understanding that neuromarketing is actively used to manipulate people raises serious concerns and requires an active start of a social and public discourse on the ethics of using neuromarketing technologies, especially in the political space.

Scroll up