Neuromarketing — A Marketer’s Gold Mine


Marketing experiences more and more use of technology with each passing day. Keeping up with developments in technology is the only way to succeed for any business. Modes of marketing need to stay in line with modern trends and keep customers interested. Marketing in today’s day and age requires technological inputs to attract customers and increase market share. Brands are increasingly adapting to technology and leveraging neuromarketing to enhance customer interaction and create a lasting impression on their minds.

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is the study of the ongoing activity inside the brain when introduced to branding or advertisements. It enables the improvement of marketing processes to better suit potential customers by triggering certain areas of the brain. The effect of neuromarketing on the subconscious brain is recorded through fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), EEG (encephalography), eye tracking, and other similar techniques that track marketing-relevant parameters such as emotional engagement, attention, and memory coding, among others.

The growing field of neuromarketing utilizes theories from neuroscience to examine these techniques in real-world marketing approaches. Neuromarketing is often referred to as a two-pronged approach that seems to, firstly, tap into the brain’s pleasure centres and, secondly, find frustrations, pain points, and challenges.

Business Enhancing Aspects of Neuromarketing

  • Decoy Marketing

    An ideal neuromarketing tool that adds to company revenue and crushes competition in the market is Decoy Marketing. Here, the company simply introduces a product that is inferior to its actual product but similarly priced. This influences customers’ decision-making ability to purchase the product that appears to be a ‘better’ deal as compared to the inferior alternative. The key element here is relativity. Humans are studied to make comparisons before buying and do not actually judge the absolute value of the product. This is done by marketers to make a particular product seem better than the other one it offers or offers better value than the other.

    A suitable example of this is with shaving foams/ creams/ gels. There are tons of brands that manufacture and sell these. The key to being successful is in the efficient marketing of the product. For instance, one bottle of shaving foam contains more product than the other, both of the same brand and around the same value. Customers compare the two and purchase the bottle that contains a greater amount of product in it.

Decoy Marketing
     Image as seen on Website

Another example of this is when, the official website of United Airlines, appeared to have made a mistake in their in-flight internet access packages pricing.

Upon closer study, it is found that this is, in fact, a case of decoy marketing, where the two-hour option is the decoy. This decoy encourages customers to opt for the full flight package rather than for the one-hour package, therefore increasing revenue.

Pro Tip: Consider introducing an inferior/ lower-value product into the mix and watch sales of the intended product skyrocket, whilst also effectively killing competition.

  • Persuasion Science

    Neuroscience has discovered that there are two major systems of the nervous system, namely the Primal brain and the Rational brain. The Primal brain is responsible for the processing of persuasive messages that are received. The Rational brain, on the other hand, makes use of higher cognitive resources that mediate a portion of the responses of the Primal brain, which is due to the dominance of the Primal brain.
    To increase the chances of getting a response to advertisements from the Primal brain, marketers need to create messages that suit the Primal brain. There are 6 biases that are studied to act as a trigger for Primal brain responses. These biases are as follows:

    • Personal

    The Primal brain considers ‘ME’ as the be all end all and does not respond to messages that do not immediately address its well-being. This requires marketers to make their messages personal to increase response rates.

    • Contrastable

    The Primal brain takes contrasts into consideration when subject to advertisements. It thinks in a before and after, with or without, safety and risk manner and comes to decisions faster when subjected to such contrasts.

    • Visual

    The auditory nerve is around 75 times slower than the optic nerve. This finding should work as a guide for marketers to utilize the visual channel more than any other for marketing.

    • Emotional

    Decision-making of any kind is influenced by the emotions attached to the outcome, as emotion appeals more to the human brain than reason. Sending across messages that strike an emotional chord within the customers are more likely to increase response rates or even make for a longer-lasting impression of a brand.

    • Tangible

    The Primal brain requires tangible input. Input that it is familiar with or that which is concrete and immutable. This is attributed to the lazy nature of the brain, wherein it prefers simple ideas that do not need much thinking and consideration to come to a concluding decision.

    • Memorable

    Marketers must adhere to strict timeframes and realize that customers are not patient enough to watch/ read an entire advertisement and must place the most important information at the very beginning and then repeat the same at the end. The content in-between must be to the point and crisp enough to convince the customer’s Primal brain and also leave a lasting impression.

    • Pro Tip: Try incorporating all six biases, if possible, into advertisements to create an impeccable marketing approach.


The logic behind this is that marketers can design websites so as to place important information directly in the customers’ line of viewing. The F-Pattern ensures that users go through the important bits of information contained by your marketing channel. Some imperative pointers that aid website creation in this format are as follows.

    • The use of short sentences
    • Add your most information into two prongs and add a third prong to fit additional information, if required
    • Utilize SEO best practices and bullet points to implement keywords and attract users

Pro Tip: Include smartphones as this pattern is effective for mobile screens as well, and most users nowadays access sites from their smartphones.

  • Word of Mouth

    As marketers, a primary aim should be to get customers talking about a brand and its products. Word of mouth remains the most effective method of advertising (92% more effective) and is attained through customer engagement. Brands, today, want customers to be not only talking about their products to a few people but also being active on social media platforms that reach out to a larger audience. This extended audience serves as a potential customer base for the brand, as it is generally easier to believe in reviews and suggestions from people they actually know.

    Word of mouth is considered a neuromarketing technique as it is a scientific study that was carried out by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, the founder of psychoanalysis, which is also known as the ‘talking cure.’ Freud, with psychoanalysis, hoped to discover the underlying reasons for the symptoms of his patients who would lie down on a couch and talk freely about their thoughts. Marketers need to provide customers with apt cues and incentives for them to open up, in order to unearth positive responses and, more importantly, areas for improvement.

    Pro Tip: Marketers must make sure to add a section on the brand’s website that is a forum for customers to communicate with each other and also have a strong presence on other social media channels.

  • Emojis

    A more recent, yet invaluable finding in neuromarketing is the use of emojis in marketing and customer engagement practices. According to the result of Shao-Kang Lo’s study, “When Internet users are faced with pure text, without emoticons, most people cannot perceive the correct emotional, attitude, and attention-based intents. However, when emoticons are added in the same context, the receiver’s perception of the messages starts to significantly change. Also, when opposite-meaning emoticons are used, the receiver shows an extreme difference in perceptions. Emoticons allow receivers to correctly understand the level and direction of emotions, attitude, and attention expression. These results prove that emoticons perform nonverbal communication functions.”

    “Emojis allow us to express effortlessly which word or feeling we wish to emphasize in a sentence. Another reason behind the success of emojis is that they carry with them the spirit of the digital age communication: they are fast and fun but they also offer alternatives to users. Emojis assign a different meaning to the message; they speed communication and make talking enjoyable. Therefore we hide within the colorful characters of emojis what we mostly cannot utter.”

    Brands that want to succeed in today’s digital age must adapt to the current marketing conditions and have to make the most of this opportunity to communicate with customers via emojis. In most cases of advertising, the space is limited, and this is exactly where emojis can come to the rescue of marketers. Emojis are capable of portraying a particular emotion in one character, which normally would require a whole line or more to convey. This goes above and beyond the generic need for customers to understand different languages as they can easily comprehend what the brand wants to convey through a particular emoji.

    Pro Tip: Utilize emojis to keep the audience involved and interested in the current happenings of the brand.

Brands Must Leverage Neuromarketing Techniques

In any sport, be it football, basketball, or cricket, the aim is to play on your opponent’s mind. This is similar to the case of marketing, wherein marketers must aim to implement techniques researched and proven by science that probe the human brain for what guides and influences customers. Neuromarketing is a simple resource that must be utilized by brands to take advantage of this ‘gullible’ nature of the human brain. The better a brand knows about the functioning of its customers’ brains, the more its marketers can influence them into buying what is intended to be sold.[/emaillocker]