Neuroscience – Marketers Question Answered?


The consumer has always been, is, and will always be at the core of food marketing and advertising. Understanding that consumer is, therefore, the backbone of any marketing strategy – be it the marketing of peanuts or Peugeots. With the consumer purchase journey being more complex than ever – and consumers being increasingly switched on and hard to please, it has never been more important to tap better into consumer buying behaviours. This is where Neuromarketing comes in – essentially a new field of marketing which uses medical and psychological technologies to study responses to stimuli. But, is this just another fad? Perhaps another fancy marketing ploy in itself? Or are we truly on to understanding the consumer?

Over the years, it has come to be scientifically understood that 95% of brain activity is programmed within our subconscious mind – which covers everything from our emotions, judgements, decisions and actions. Therefore, when given the correct tools, we are eager to understand why it is that consumers first respond emotionally to an empathising advert such as Colman’s’ ‘Break Up’ Shepherds Pie advert – and then react secondly with a conscious decision regarding the product.

For well-known, established brands, consumers are often on ‘autopilot’ when purchasing products – brand awareness has never so influential. Storytelling campaigns such as those by Colman’s, and Coke’s #shareacoke are engaging – but this is yet another platform where established brands stand out. Start-ups and lesser-known brands often struggle with their own identity in the face of the consumer.

This is where Neuromarketing really comes into play. Researchers have been using various neuroimaging techniques which measure our brain activity, eye movements and facial expressions, therefore analysing our emotional processing in real-time in response to various marketing stimuli. The availability of this information has enabled corporations to analyse consumer preferences more deeply and shape their own marketing strategies. The idea is that brands, therefore, create a better experience for their customer, and hold greater influence over their purchasing decisions.

But, is Neuromarketing really a valuable tool when it comes to gathering consumer insight, or is it just another ‘fad’ that looks impressive on paper but has little effect in practice? Experts have faced a barrage of criticism – most pertinently regarding the lack of – and credibility of – information. They argue that one individual’s insights do not necessarily correlate with the reactions of others, as Neuromarketing fails to truly understand the ‘triggers’ that lead to individuals purchasing decisions. This one-dimensionality leaves many questions unanswered, leaving professionals drowning in a sea of unfounded, varying consumer ‘preferences’.

Despite this, Neuromarketing has still repeatedly been identified as an important tool in marketing – and the field is growing in popularity faster than ever before. Despite research being in its infancy, we are developing more and more knowledge of the subject – and are getting closer and closer to enabling brands to form ‘emotional’ bonds with consumers. Studies conducted over periods of time will tell us how consumer minds change – and answer many difficult questions.

If you have tried any neuroimaging techniques for your company, have your findings benefited your brand? Let us know on 01803 203387 or find our wider contact details.

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