What is Neuromarketing?

Have you heard of Neuromarketing? It is a pretty interesting subject to dive into, but more than that, it’s something that is much more relevant to you than you probably think.

If you work in marketing or run a business, this phrase probably catches your attention. It sounds like a tool to better market to your target audience. It is a marketing tool, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Defining Neuromarketing and NeuroScience

To understand Neuromarketing, we need to understand Neuroscience. Don’t worry, you don’t need comprehensive knowledge of the science, just a basic overview. Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and its relation to cognition and behavior. To put it more simply, it’s brain science.

So you might guess that Neuromarketing applies the above-mentioned brain science to increase marketing effectiveness. While there is definitely truth to this, we need to understand two terms to get the full picture.

  • Consumer Neuroscience – When you hear “consumer” you probably think business. Really though, Consumer Neuroscience is a form of academic research that studies consumer behavior and psychology through the lens of Neuroscience to better understand how our brains affect our actions.
  • Neuromarketing – This is where business comes in. Neuromarketing applies ideas and tools from Consumer Neuroscience in commercial applications.

How Corporations Are in Your Head

Businesses have used elements of neuroscience for decades to get you to buy their products. Everything from the logo of your favorite soft drink to the ads you see has been carefully crafted to speak to your subconscious. Of course, you are familiar with companies using focus groups and surveys to gauge likes and dislikes, but there’s also underlying science you might not think about.

For example, popular brands like Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Target all use the color red. Why? Because research has shown that up to 90 percent of a consumer’s decision to buy a product can come down to color psychology. Major corporations have spent massive amounts of money on research that includes brain scans, eye tracking, and more to understand what factors subconsciously draw us to the things we like.

For some really interesting examples of popular brands using neuroscience, check out these 15 Examples of Neuromarketing Being Used Right Now.

Amazing Marketing Tool Or Mental Manipulation?

In some ways, when we look at neuromarketing, it seems like a great step forward in connecting brands with the right people. Another way to look at it is a little more concerning. How do we feel about corporations, governments, or anyone else tapping into our subconscious to use emotional responses to drive action?

I’m not saying that it’s tinfoil hat time. However, it’s hard to not feel a little Orwellian when you realize that every business we interact with is working from a blueprint of the human brain to push us toward a decision that has little to nothing to do with cognitive thought.

Of course, the classic Coke can or the Nike swoosh don’t make us buy products, but it is interesting how these subtle cues impact our thoughts and feelings about a product before we are even aware of it. We also have to accept that Neuromarketing isn’t going anywhere. The question is, what do we think about it as consumers and/or business professionals?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Michael J. Snow is a writer who graciously takes time away from his mid-life crisis and existential dread to attempt to create a smile or two. If you got anything out of this post, drop a comment and let him know. Questions, concerns, etc, send them here.

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