When you’re looking to start a new marketing campaign, one of the most important things to consider is the efficiency of your strategy. How can you achieve premium results while spending as little as possible?
The obvious answer is to adapt your approach to suit your target audience, which until recently would only involve carrying out market research and analysing sales data. Now, however, it’s possible to not just understand the trends customers follow, but also how their brain works and how they think. These new insights are made possible by the use of neuromarketing.
What is Neuromarketing?
Simply put, neuromarketing takes a variety of scientific research on how the brain works and processes the findings so that they can inform optimal marketing decision making for which techniques work and which ones don’t. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as measuring brain activity in response to certain stimuli, or installing eye-tracking software to check where users look the most when navigating a website. Recording results in terms of biometrics is incredibly valuable to marketers, because it produces concrete evidence to support its findings rather than relying on personal opinion.
While it all sounds a little complicated at first, neuromarketing is easier to implement than you might think. There are a few commonplace techniques that blend into a marketing campaign so seamlessly, you might not even realise that they’re a result of neuromarketing research. So without further ado, here are four neuromarketing tips you can use to strengthen your brand.
1. A loss feels larger than a gain of the same value
There’s a theory in behavioural economics that forms the basis of a customer’s decision making called loss aversion. The idea of this phenomenon is that the human brain is programmed to feel more negative feelings from losing something compared to the positive feelings it would experience from making an equivalent gain. So, losing a £10 note from your pocket would evoke a much stronger emotional reaction than finding the same £10 note on the street would give.
Although loss aversion seems like it would be a marketers worst enemy as it encourages consumers to save money rather than spend it, there are a couple of clever ways in which the positions can be reversed. One way of doing this is to advertise a product by introducing the pain points of the customer before talking about the gain points. Now the customer is focused on how they need to avoid the problems you’ve introduced to them, creating a much stronger pull towards your brand. Another example is using artificial scarcity, like when a business introduces a product that will only be available for a limited amount of time, or will have a limited amount of units produced. Because the product might not be available by the time the customer has come to an informed decision on whether they want to buy it or not, some people will end up making a purchase for fear of missing out, thus incurring more sales than if the product was sold using normal methods.
Keep in mind that going overboard and trying to cash in too hard on loss aversion can end up backfiring if you aren’t careful. Introducing too many pain points or giving too short a window for the customer to make a decision can cause too much stress and upset your target audience, so make sure to set a limit on how far you’re willing to go. You still want your customers to like you at the end of the day.
2. Employ neuromarketing in a way that’s subtle
The nature of how neuromarketing research means that consumers are naturally suspicious of it, and perhaps rightly so. No one wants to feel like they’ve been ‘gamed’ into making a purchase, they would rather feel like they’ve found a good deal for themselves. It’s therefore recommended to use neuromarketing in a way that avoids looking like a sales technique, either by making small changes that fly under the radar or presenting information to customers in a different way.
An example of the former would be changing the price of a product from £100.00 to £99.99. Logically, everyone knows that the two prices are incredibly similar, but the thing the brain notices first is that the price has gone down an entire digit. Yet for luxury brands, the opposite practice is encouraged instead. This is because the brain is still smart enough to process the ‘.99’ pricing as a trick, and it expects premium products to avoid relying on such a technique.
As for finding a new way to teach the customer about what you’re selling, testimonials are a great example of this. Listing the many advantages of your product is all well and good, but people will still remain sceptical as long as they’re aware the company is going to want to sing praises for their own stock. That’s why when someone seemingly unrelated comes along and talks up your product, it becomes a lot more effective - just look at the rapid growth of the influencer industry as an example. Even if the business is the one who approached the reviewer in the first place, your audience will respond a lot more favourably to an outside perspective.
3. Familiar and easy to understand concepts provide comfort
For many people still in the early stages of building their business, it’s common to be given advice on keeping your branding more on the simple side of things. While it can be tempting to immediately dive into the more complicated side of your brand to show customers the full range of your business’s strong points, brand recognition through the use of repeated colours, patterns and messaging is actually a much better way to make sure you linger in your audience’s mind.
The brain feels more relaxed when it can remember what your logo looks like or which key values your business is fond of. Not only is complex branding less likely to be memorable, it’s also much more noticeable when you start repeating key messages or images, which is essential if you want your audience to think of you in their time of need.
This is especially important when it comes to visuals, as the brain will process pictures many, many times faster than a wall of text, and you can communicate a lot of information without making things cluttered. Simple colours used in your branding can evoke an emotional response - for example, frequent use of blue can create a calm and professional aura for your business. Visual simplicity is particularly important in digital marketing, because being able to properly navigate through a company website for the information your customers need is infinitely more important than having a wave of fun animations flying across the screen. A straightforward way of communicating can be great for maintaining a more professional appearance.
4. Do your research
While neuromarketing has the potential to greatly improve a marketing campaign, employing it correctly requires a lot of work. Depending on the industry you’re working in and the characteristics of your business, you’ll need to make use of different visuals, appeal to different emotions, and employ different neuromarketing techniques to get a good return on investment. Sometimes there won’t be any existing data online to take inspiration from, and you’ll have to plan a research project yourself from start to finish to better understand your audience.
That’s not to say that doing your own research can’t be worthwhile, but it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re not experienced in neuromarketing. To look at an example, the electronics company Philips ran an A/B test concerning the layout of their packaging for an iron. Version A showed the iron being held from a left handed position, while version B held the iron using the right hand. Reading brain activity using an MRI scanner, the results showed that customers preferred version B, presumably because around 90% of them would be right handed and therefore see the right handed grip as more natural, especially for something potentially dangerous like an iron.
Even though most people are aware that the majority of the world is right handed, it’s probably not something that’s at the forefront of your mind when designing packaging. It’s worth mentioning that asking study participants to specifically review packaging might not have revealed the same results, as telling someone what to focus on changes their way of thinking to be different from the average customer that will simply glance at the packaging before making an unconscious decision on whether to buy or not. Without considering these small details, Philips would not have been able to make good use of their neuromarketing study.
A note on ethics
As neuromarketing has evolved into an increasingly popular business tool, it has also gathered some negative attention in the process. Some people are concerned about whether neuromarketing is an entirely ethical practice that could manipulate customers into making a purchase they otherwise wouldn’t make. Although it’s important to keep an eye on what techniques might be used in the future, no one has managed to produce a mind controlling advert that bypasses the customer’s free will. If such a thing was possible, someone surely would have created one by accident already.
A far bigger concern for neuromarketing is the possibility of using ethically sound techniques for immoral purposes, like using stolen data to inform marketing decisions, or utilising neuromarketing to target young and vulnerable populations. These dangers aren’t directly caused by neuromarketing though, so as long as businesses adhere to the current rules and regulations, neuromarketing remains safe to use.
With these tips in mind, it’s time for you to use neuromarketing to take your branding to the next level. If you’re unsure on how you should be using neuromarketing to further your business, you can get a better idea of what direction your branding changes should take by reading our blog on which brand archetype best defines your business. If you’d benefit more from some one-on-one guidance, we at Loved Brands have plenty of experience in the field of neuromarketing, so why not work with us? Click here and book a call with us today.