What is neuromarketing ?
Neuromarketing is an interdisciplinary field, which combines traditional marketing strategies, and neuroscience. It aims to develop an understanding of consumer behavior by examining neural responses in the brain.
The term neuromarketing is not associated with a specific person however, it was assumed that, marketing researcher Ale Smith has coined the term in 2002.
For decades, marketing companies seek to know consumer’s perceptions, and they mostly rely on customer surveys and pilot studies. Marketers usually ask a bunch of questions to the customers, about their willingness to purchase the product; or they try to measure their emotional attachments with the brand itself.
However, do customers know what they want? Are they able to recognize and differentiate every feeling towards the product? These questions are beyond the traditional marketer’s expertise, however, neuroscience has more systematic ways to search for answers to them.
“Each year, over 400 billion dollars is invested in advertising campaigns. Yet, conventional methods for testing and predicting the effectiveness of those investments have generally failed because they depend on consumers’ willingness and competency to describe how they feel when they are exposed to an advertisement.”
Neuromarketing may use many different neuroimaging tools to measure physiological responses, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), computerized tomography CT, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
To one step further, a combination of eye-gazing and fMRI provides simultaneous results by measuring brain activation and focus on the specific part of the product. Santos et al. (2015) suggested that neuromarketing tools are important to understand what attracts the consumer most, by analyzing what is delightful or annoying for the consumer.
Neuroimaging not only allows us to “read the consumer mind”, but it also shows which stimuli trigger excitement, trust, pleasure, and other emotions that may lead consumers to choose a specific product.
Today, significant brands like Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Google, and Yahoo are actively using neuromarketing techniques, in addition to traditional marketing techniques.
Even political campaigns use the neuromarketing techniques, and Trump’s 2016 election was a significant example of the success of the political neuromarketing techniques.
Surprisingly enough, Trump was not the first United States president who used political neuromarketing by micro-targeting the population with the help of companies that have a significant amount of data like Facebook, and Google.
Neuromarketing is a promising field that may decrease unnecessary budgets of marketing tactics by examining them with objective methods. Because it provides neuroscientific data based on neural and physical response rather than subjective data based on surveys and questionnaires. It analyzes the consumer perception from a perspective that beyond a conscious level of the individuals.
On the other hand neuromarketing studies are encouraging to provide deeper understanding and solutions to the consumer’s negative attitudes.
Neuromarketing offers strategies and tactics for social campaigns by providing a better understanding of behavior, and it may be quite beneficial for protecting the individuals.
A deeper understanding of consumer behavior is not only beneficial for commercial uses, but also beneficial for improving consumer’s free will.