Neuromarketing and Understanding Consumer Behaviour

There is a lot of buzz around the word “Neuromarketing” these days but what exactly is at the core of it and why are big companies talking about it? Cordoba has the full-scale capability of conducting major types of Neuromarketing studies in situations like Ad testing, prototype testing, etc. through various Neuroscience methods.

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing is a relatively new field in Market research that, when complemented with traditional research methodologies or even used alone, answers the questions traditional marketing research cannot. One can find many definitions of neuromarketing but in essence neuromarketing is anything that aspires to assess the unconscious aspects of human decision behaviors or their implicit reactions to marketing stimuli. “Neuromarketing is a marketing strategy connecting to the subconscious, emotional aspect of the customer and aims to create an unbreakable bond with the customer and the product” (Solomon, 2018).



Neuromarketing’s Significance in Developing Countries

Neuromarketing has worked wonders in developed countries no doubt, but why are companies in developing countries like Pakistan have also started to realize the importance of neuroscience in their marketing? One major reason is the biasedness of people’s responses. There can be a lot of factors influencing a person’s responses if we look at it from a developing country’s perspective e.g. cultural aspects, socio-economic factors like poverty, etc. It is believed that incentivizing people to participate in studies increases the response rate and improves the quality of responses, but we cannot be sure of that in marginalized communities like Pakistan where most people would end up participating just for the sake of incentives. Similarly, it is very hard in developing countries to maintain a gender balance in responses when conducting studies and even if females are gotten on board, their responses will largely be influenced due to cultural and traditional reasons. That is where neuromarketing comes into pay. The following are some neuroscientific techniques being used nowadays:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG): EEG is a technique that helps to analyze the brain’s electric activity against marketing stimuli with the help of various sensors attached to the scalp of a participant. EEG can be coupled with other research techniques like eye tracking, emotion measurement, and surveys, etc. to achieve better results.
  • Electrocardiography (ECG): Electrocardiography measures and records the electrical activity of the heart by placing sensors on the skin. It is mostly used to ascertain information on the emotional state of a participant when faced with a marketing stimulus. Like EEG, ECG can also be coupled with techniques like Facial coding and Eye-tracking for accurate results.
  • Galvanic Skin Response (GSR): GSR measures changes in skin perspiration (increase or no increase in activity of endocrine glands that cause sweat) after exposure to a physiologically exciting marketing stimulus. There are GSR rings that help measure these kinds of responses, this technique is widespread because of its lower cost as compared to other techniques but it would not give many insights if used alone.
  • Functional Magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI): fMRI is one of the most expensive techniques of neuromarketing that helps to study the anatomic structure of the brain by detecting blood flow; an increase in blood flow of certain areas of the brain means increased neural activity in that part. This technique is useful to assess the changes in small and deep structures of the brain but is very expensive and hence only big companies like Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola etc. have used it.
  • Eye-Tracking (ET): Eye-tracking as the name suggests records the movement of eye pupil when a participant is shown with an advertisement or marketing stimulus. Eye-tracking can be done by using simple cameras or infra-red eye trackers to achieve greater accuracy. This technique is coupled with facial coding most of the time for a wholesome perspective.
  • Facial coding (FC): Facial coding is another interesting outside reflex technique that helps to record the involuntary or voluntary facial micro-expressions, which are associated with specific cognitive and emotional states when participants are exposed to investigation stimuli like digital advertisements.
  • Implicit Response Tests (IRTs): Implicit response tests involve implicit association tests, semantic and visual priming where participants are asked to give quick responses to certain questions for example questions surrounding a brand or packaging of a product. And then the response time is recorded to assess the accuracy of responses.
  • Indoor Positioning Systems: The indoor positioning system is a technique that complements other neuromarketing tools in studies where the participant has the freedom to move, such as in a store or market.

Neuromarketing in Action 

  • Google: Google conducted experiments to test out various shades of blue and found out that a certain purplish shade of blue appealed more to consumers and they were more prone to clicking that than a slightly greener shade of blue. They changed the color and they made an extra $200m a year in ad revenue.
  • New Coke: We all know how new coke failed which led Coca-Cola to go back to its old original taste but why did it fail? We now know that an fMRI test conducted on a group of people showed how when people knew they were drinking Coca-Cola, the emotional and memory oriented parts of people’s brain were lit up and hence the discovery how most people who liked Coca-Cola associated themselves emotionally with the brand instead of with the taste.
  • Frito-Lay: Frito-Lay had this valuable insight through an experiment they conducted using EEG which showed how “consumers show a strong positive response when their fingers turn orange due to the residue cheese dust” of Cheetos and that “consumers enjoy the messiness of the product”. They designed their ad campaign “The orange Underground” considering that insight in mind and “the ad led to a 30% increase in sales of Frito-Lay, followed by winning the 2009 Grand Ogilvy Award.”
  • Amazon: Sometimes our brain works in ways we are not aware of ourselves. For example, detecting half a millisecond of change in speed of the website. When amazon conducted tests on users, they found out how 100ms of latency in loading of a page would cost them 1% in sales.

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