Neuromarketing Demystified: How Brain Science is Changing Marketing Strategies


Neuroscience has always been an integral part of market research and development. It is the principles of this neuroscience that have led to the creation of the neuromarketing technique.

Of course, present day methods are way more advanced and complex than before. But, in reality, neuromarketing can be traced back in brands of the 60s and 70s.

Take the Pepsi challenge of 19751 for example. 

Brands engage in neuromarketing to understand which emotions are triggered when we come across a certain kind of product, service, design, color, advertisement, campaign, etc.

In a way, what we feel about a particular brand emotionally, intellectually, or psychologically is paved by companies, to some extent.

This blog talks all about that, and some more.

However, the modern enterprises have their own neuromarketing department. Their main function is to conduct consumer psychology tests before the product launch or design. 

What is neuromarketing? 

Neuromarketing is the process of monitoring psychological and physiological reactions of consumers with the purpose of understanding their expectations, likes and dislikes in depth.

It is a branch of neuropsychology that has developed extensively in the past few decades. Technology and availability of personnel in the field has led to its development and acceptance among brands.

An example of neuromarketing

Now we can agree that Apple’s iPhone was the most disruptive product in the tech industry, right? They were the ones who coined the idea of the smartphone.

But, there is something much deeper to the success of this ultra-giant. 

Have you ever witnessed the craze of Apple addicts for the next Macworld launch?

The connection that these fans have with Apple is something that most brands can only dream of.

Apple cultivated this connection through pre-launch hype and the non-subtle ‘leaks’ which led to curiosity and excitement among its fans.

This is how they designed their neuromarketing game.

Advantages of neuromarketing 

Neuromarketing is a landmark of human capabilities.

The idea of combining biology with marketing has led to several advantages for businesses and their end users.

It is phenomenal the way businesses are able to understand their customers’ emotional responses, target audience’s expectations, and create better content. 

Let’s explore them. 

1. Intricate understanding of audience’s attention span

Neuromarketing helps in creating visual advertisements and videos with more efficiency. For this, marketers use fMRI machines, eye trackers, brain stimuli readers, and such likes.

They try to measure attention span, focus, understand emotions, and ‘mood’ of the consumers while engaging with a particular element.

For example: Nielsen, a data analytics company uses an eye tracker to understand the pupil's motion when the company's logo comes on screen. This test helps to understand logo placement, size, and screen time.

2. Better analysis of emotional response

Brands like Disney, Meta, Google, and Microsoft have a dedicated ‘neuro sell’ whose primary function is to work on consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing.

They engage in physiological brain scans to understand what part of our brain triggers while coming across their content. 

These scans interpret whether the user is angry, happy, relaxed, or expressing any other form of emotion. This helps them decide content distribution in an effective way.  

Now, let’s see how this approach is being used and why it is important in modern society. 

How is neuromarketing practiced?

To understand why neuromarketing is important, let’s have a look into the tools that marketers are using to understand the neuroscience behind their products.

It is essential to know why brands invest in such expensive tools while developing their campaigns. 

TL; DR, watch this video to know the applications of neuromarketing.

Here’s all of them explained in detail.

1. fMRI

fMRI stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This machine helps to keep track of blood flow in the brain during neural activity. It collects concrete numerical data about how intensely we are reacting to a campaign and our primary emotion while engaging with it. 

This data helps the marketers improve brand identity and set the pricing of a particular product or service. 

2. Eye trackers

As the name suggests, eye trackers are tools that help collect data about consumers’ gazes. They identify the objects and elements on the screen that grab our most attention. This is mainly useful for graphic development, website development, images, fonts, color, design, etc. 

For example: Leading mobile phone companies engage in color recognition eye-tracking tests for their model color variants. 

Since these companies operate in several countries and cultures, they have to conduct those tests accordingly. But it is all worth it.

3. Biometric detectors

These tools can detect the body’s physiological reactions like skin conductance, pulse rate, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and other factors.

Biometric detectors help understand the level of engagement that we have with the content and assert our positive and negative reactions. This enables designing better ad graphics and content.

Prominent marketing agencies often engage with various end users to create a human understanding regarding the campaigns they are creating for their clients. Although at a much lower scale. 

4. Facial coding

Facial coding detectors help neuromarketers understand our facial expressions while engaging with a particular piece of content. As a result, they are able to understand the audience’s emotions, which increases their sales and improves performance.

For example: Major lens and eyeglass brands use facial coding to understand two points of view while conducting the research. First, they try to create data as to what eyeglass pattern suits which face shape better. Next, they analyze the expressions of the third party in regards to the glasses users wear.

Think about why we perceive people with glasses to be smart? This extensive neuromarketing has developed the psyche that people will think of you as smart when you wear eyeglasses. 

Importance of neuromarketing

Let’s address the elephant in the room – how important or impactful is this approach?

One of the primary reasons neuromarketing is used is to reduce the uncertainty regarding new products and their launches.

These businesses invest heavily in R&D. Hundreds of millions are spent on merely developing a product prototype. This is why it becomes crucial for these brands to embrace this approach. 

By understanding the emotional and mental response of their target market beforehand, they develop products in a way that reduces the chances of failure, and helps you give better customer service. 

Another reason brands engage in neuromarketing is to make data-driven business decisions.

When these businesses develop their campaigns or products, they keep in mind the data collected during these tests. This increases precision in their marketing strategies.

This facet is also applicable when talking about building trust with the consumers. We are hardwired to not trust things that are new and have disruptive capability.

This is why businesses engage in neuromarketing beforehand to increase their credibility. This is a part of a vast umbrella of trust theory. 

Criticism against neuromarketing

Although neuromarketing has been a significant component for enhancing the standard of living and quality of life, it is criticized for being ‘manipulative’. The critics often blame neuromarketing as the contributing factor for playing with our minds, increased consumerism, resource wastage, and shopping addiction.

But, do you think that is the case? 

Neuromarketing is the concept that takes into regard the already present human emotions. It doesn’t try to manipulate the emotions but instead improvises on existing ones.

The neuromarketing tests involve understanding the underlying responses and emotions and then creating campaigns based on that. Not the other way around. 

Every great thing has been on the other end of the barrel. But, the truth of the matter is the amalgamation of science and technology is one of the best things that happened to the consumer market.

Businesses are the epitome of resource management. This in turn, improves our standard of living and quality of life.

Frequently asked questions

Considering that this is a fairly new topic, we are sure your curious mind must be drafting questions already.

Answering some of these here.

Is neuromarketing ethical?

While there is no right answer to this objective question, brands who practice neuromarketing claim to do it in ethical ways, without hurting audience’s sentiments or misusing data.

Who invented neuromarketing?

A Dutch marketing professor, Ale Smidts used the term “neuromarketing” in an article published by BrightHouse, a marketing firm based in Atlanta.

Whereas, a US marketing professor, Professor Gerard Zaltman had established hard research and experimentation in the field in 1990s, filing a patent for it four years before the term was coined.

What are the fundamentals of neuromarketing?

The concept of neuromarketing is based on fundamentals like brain activities, the human subconscious mind, consumers’ preferences, expectations, emotions, motivations along with their behavioral patterns.

Is neuromarketing the same as sensory marketing?

While neuromarketing is not the same as sensory marketing, they are related with each other.

Neuromarketing majorly deals with the brain activities to understand the audience better, sensory marketing uses our five senses to target them for a better brand recall.

In essence, sensory marketing is a subset of neuromarketing.

The future of neuromarketing 

Although neuromarketing itself seems to be something of the future, we are still doing it in a very efficient way.

In fact, the truth of the matter is we have only scratched the surface of this concept. The most recent development is its use in the Metaverse.

Companies like Microsoft and Meta regularly engage in neuromarketing to understand their target market. The graphics, designing, color choice, brand choices, etc in the Metaverse are all analyzed through the art of neuromarketing.

For example: The launch of Air Jordans on Metaverse was a data-driven choice involving the emotional responses of hundreds of people.

What we believe is that the future of neuromarketing beholds something way beyond our imagination.

All we have to do is wait and watch as the developments unfold.

Neuromarketing involves understanding the needs of the consumers and then providing them with the best solution that can be made available. 

To understand whether you should invest in neuromarketing or you need to do something different for your business, book a consultation call with us now.

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