Marketing + Neurology = Neuromarketing, or 8 Ways To Get Inside People’s Heads


Ever wish you could get inside a person’s head, see what’s going on in all that gray matter? As a marketer, it’s pretty essential: you’ve got to understand how your audience thinks, speaks, and searches.

Enter Neuromarketing.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to hear Roger Dooley, the author of Brainfluence, speak at a MIMA event on the subject of neuromarketing and web persuasion. I walked away with some handy knowledge about how our brains work, and a few persuasion tricks up my sleeve. Basically, I now know how to get inside people’s heads. I know what they want before they want it.

OK, maybe I don’t know quite that much, but I did learn that we make most of our decisions, not logically, but emotionally or subconsciously (Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, anyone?). After all, 95% of the brain’s activity is subconscious. Turns out, we tend to use rational thinking to then justify the decisions we’ve already made! So our logical marketing arguments … may not be so effective.

If you can influence customers on a subconscious, emotional level (like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign), their brains become your marketing allies. You can persuade people without their, perhaps, realizing exactly why.

Roger Dooley calls techniques that appeal to the way a prospect’s brain works “neuro-nudges.” Check out these simple ways to increase conversions rates and customer happiness:

  • Liking: Establish affinity. If you show common interests and shared attributes with your customers, it will create a “liking effect.”
  • Set Expectations: High but realistic expectations will improve customer experience.
  • Fairness: To increase sales and negotiation success, socialize first. A friendly conversation or a shared meal can make a big difference.
  • Doppelganger Effect: One of the best ways to establish brand preference is to help a customer envision themselves using the product. The possibilities are endless for interactive media. For example, consider what Roger Dooley calls social personalization: an opt-in social profile picture placed in a dynamic ad.
  • Scarcity: Use scarcity and urgency to make your offer more attractive 
  • Rudeness: Research shows that apologies work. Do it quickly and simply, and you’ll be able to move forward with less ill-will.
  • Gender: Men focus on the short term and engage in riskier behavior when exposed to images of attractive women. These images are “mating triggers” and can be very persuasive.
  • Cognitive Fluency: We equate the difficulty of a task with the difficulty of the instructions. Simple fonts and explanations convey a simple action, while complex fonts and explanations signal a complex or higher value product.

Some of these neuro-nudges seem like common sense, but they’re great to remember because even as the marketing industry changes and evolves, our brains remain a constant.

Have you used any of these neuro-nudges? Would you use them? Are you creeped out by the idea of marketers getting into your subconscious mind, or are you excited by the intersection of marketing and neuroscience? Leave a comment below!



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