Neuromarketing – A Peek Inside the Mind of a Consumer

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Integrated Marketing Communication

What if marketers had the ability to look inside our brains and see exactly how we respond to advertisements and other promotional materials? Now, what if I told you that this process does exist and has been rapidly growing in the last decade?

Welcome to the fancy term of neuromarketing; the method for studying consumer behavior through the brain’s perspective.

I’m not sure how many of you just gasped as loudly as I did when I first learned of this term. First off, I was blown away by the abundance of fascinating technology out there and then a little taken aback by the whole thing. You mean consumerism hasn’t gone far enough, with its investment of more than 500 billion dollars a file0001052648856 (1)year in advertising alone? No, marketers need to spend even more money to probe inside the brains of consumers and see just what makes them tick.

Through psychological testing such as the functional magnetic resonance imaging or better known as the fMRI scan, researchers are able to measure changes in brain activity to discover precisely how consumers respond to marketing stimuli. Other tests include the electroencephalography (EEG) and the Stead state topography (SST), which narrows the results down to specified regions of the brain and its response demonstrates to researchers why consumers make certain buying decisions and what part of their brain is responsible for these choices.

According to the study conducted in the article, Neuromarketing: The New Science of Consumer Behavior, various parts of the brain light up if the consumer was aware of the product they were consuming.  Read more about this study and how prominent brands like Coca Cola have the ability to control our decision-making.

“A strong brand such as Coca Cola has the power to “own” a piece of our frontal cortex.”

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why neuromarketing may be beneficial to both the marketer and consumer:

  • Consumers will get exactly what they want and the product or service will be tailored specifically to their taste.
  • Marketers will be more efficient in the way they spend their advertising dollars, no more wasteful spending on an advertisement that busts.
  • It’s a truth serum. While focus groups and surveys requires cognitive participation by the consumer and may be influenced by their subconscious, neuromarketing gets us right to the point and rids us of the guessing game.

Do these above benefits outweigh the moral and ethical issues that arise from neuromarketing? Many people feel that this is an invasion of privacy, and it poses the question of just how far is too far?

In Dr. Foster’s Integrated Marketing Communications class we discussed neuromarketing in depth and took a poll on how many people would be willing to let marketing researchers study their brain for a $100 offer. About half the class raised their hands. What about a $500 offer? Almost all the hands went up.

I’d be interested to know what your thoughts are on this up-and-coming research method of neuromarketing.  Is it a justified step in enhancing our knowledge of consumer behavior, or does it cross the line and expose too much of ourselves to the world?

Please leave a comment below and let me know just how neuromarketing makes you feel inside.

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