Neuromarketing is a term that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years. But somehow, the exact definition of neuromarketing seems unclear. For me, the best way to define neuromarketing is that it scientifically studies the brain to benefit marketing. For example, medical technologies like brain scanning and brain activity measurements are used to gauge a person’s response to different marketing elements like packaging, videos, ads, billboards, etc.

Sounds like utter science fiction right? But here is some food for thought – large companies like Ford motors and Coca-Cola have been investing heavily on neuromarketing since the 1990s. Today, a lot of other companies have already followed suit.  There are good reasons why you should start thinking about using the consumer brain when it comes to your marketing. Let’s discuss the most notable ones.

Five clever ways companies are use Neuromarketing

Great packaging

Have you ever gone through an entire aisle of potato chips in the supermarket and had to choose one among the multitudes of bright collared packaging? It turns out, the brand you pick might be the work of your brain’s preference.

Companies have figured out through Electroencephalogram (EEG) what elements consumer prefer on their packaging and subsequently, what they do not like. When Chips Ahoy decided to use neuromarketing in their packaging, they discovered that people had a negative emotional reaction to the “resealable” words on their packaging. This is because people found it a bit hard to read.

Surprisingly, the photo of the chocolate chip cookie on their packaging failed to garner great reactions amongst the test subjects. As a result, Chips Ahoy redesigned their packaging with a “resealable” tab that was more clear and a cookie visual that is more exciting (with flying chocolate chips).

Image by Neuro Science Marketing

Simply put, making sure that people will like your packaging is one great way to steal their hearts.

Limited Editions

Have you ever heard of the story about limited edition Nike sneakers causing mayhem among “sneakerheads” on opening day? Well, there is a reason for that and that has something to do about Neuromarketing.

The effect of consumers love for limited editions and limited-time offers are called marketing with scarcity. Marketers put limitations on a product like timed offers and dwindling supplies to pressure them into buying fast. Creating a sense of urgency for the customer has been a technique that has been used countless times and has proven to be so effective. Think midnight sales, limited edition items, and McDonald’s McRib.

Image by Summit Evergreen

Think about this, a report by Experian has noted that emails with words of urgency have a 14% higher open rates and a whopping 59% higher transaction rates. Marketing scarcity rushes the consumer mind and is a great tool to turn up the sales.

Multisensory stimulations

Companies are taking their marketing efforts to another level nowadays. This includes giving their customers an experience that goes beyond sight and sound. As marketers keep learning more and more about how the consumer mind works, we are going to see a lot of marketing elements that utilize the other senses – smell and touch.

A good example is the video game, South Park: The Fractured but Whole. In order to promote the game, the developers invited journalists and bloggers to try their latest gadget, the Nosulus rift. This gadget is supposed to be an accompanying peripheral for their game that emits an ungodly odour for various scenes. This blends perfectly well with South Park’s crass humour.

Suffice to say, the journalists love it and the story went viral. This just goes to show how various companies are turning their attention beyond visual marketing.

Striking Headlines

Headlines are one of the most important elements in advertising and its impact has not waned to this day. Oftentimes, headlines are what grabs the attention of people in an ad. So making sure that your headlines are attention grabbing and exciting is very important to surprise the human brain.

Here is a great tip: Try a technique called “Hippocampal Headlines.” This means that you can use familiar everyday phrases and tweak them a bit. This type of headline activates the brain making your headline more eye-catching and memorable.

For example, Silver Patron tequila used the slogan “Practice Makes Patron” as a twist on the familiar phrase, “practice makes perfect.”

Image by Neuro Science Marketing

Effective web layout

Neuromarketing in web layout aims to improve your visitor engagement and conversion rate. This is based on the cognitive preferences utilised within your website’s content and design. Little things such as the font, colour schemes, and layout have an effect on the visitors.

You’ve probably recently encountered websites that utilises modern horizontal design. This is often done by designers to keep up with the current trends. However, neuromarketers found out that the traditional vertical design engaged visitors more than the newer horizontal design.

The study revealed that people are more inclined to explore websites that are designed vertically. Neuromarketers explained that the vertical design sends a signal to the reader’s brain that there are more contents below, as opposed to the horizontal design. You can also read more about how you can optimise your website in our Design page.

Neuromarketing is here to stay

Neuromarketing is a relatively new player in the realm of business. However, the effects and results of neuromarketing have been impressive, to say the least. Marketers should be on the look-out for future neuromarketing trends such as eye-tracking and biometric engagement.

The consumer mind is still continuously evolving and companies have turned to science to keep up. There are still so many opportunities to explore and a lot of research to be conducted. With that, it definitely looks like that neuromarketing is here to stay and is definitely worth a look at.

*This article was first featured in The Singapore Marketer July-Sept 2017 issue.