What is neuromarketing?
An easy enough question but surprisingly, there are varying answers depending on what you read.
I myself don’t purport to know “the best” definition of the neuromarketing term.
However, if you’re interested, like me, in delving deeper into a niche form of specialized marketing, one that attempts to infuse aspects of traditional marketing and advertising with consumer psychology, then taking the time to better understand what neuromarketing is from a variety of knowledgeable sources seems to be worth the exploration.
Over the course of my Media Psychology, MA studies, we were required to read a ton of material about the subject of neuromarketing.
While many of my readings were of academic papers and peer-based journal articles, some of the neuromarketing-specific books I read over the course of my MA degree include:
- Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer (2010)
- Digital Neuromarketing: The Psychology Of Persuasion In The Digital Age (2015)
- Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain (2007)
- Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (2011)
- The Persuasion Code: How Neuromarketing Can Help You Persuade Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime (2018)
Additional books I read on my own, outside of my grad school coursework include, but are not limited to:
- Neuro Design: Neuromarketing Insights to Boost Engagement and Profitability (2017)
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (2014)
- Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (2010)
- Marketing to Mindstates: The Practical Guide to Applying Behavior Design to Research and Marketing (2018)
After extensive reading of the above-shared books, online blogs, journal articles and papers, and more, I’ve cherrypicked the following, broad explanations and quick facts about neuromarketing to help highlight noteworthy information worth a mention:
- Dutch professor Ale Smidts, who teaches marketing research (as it applies to the neural processes underlying consumer decision making and social influence) and is chair of the Department of Marketing Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), is attributed for having coined the term “neuromarketing” in 2002 (NeuroRelay, 2012)
- The Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA) explains neuromarketing as a neuroscientific discipline that relies on brain research to reveal subconscious consumer decision-making processes (NMSBA, n.d.)
- In a March 2019 article on Forbes, CEO of Vivid Labs Dan Russell explains that the field of neuromarketing uses a combination of brain research, traditional marketing, and medical technology to learn how everyday advertisements and marketing messages impact consumer decisions (Forbes, 2019)
- In their book The Persuasion Code, authors Christophe Morin, PhD (full disclosure: Dr. Morin is one of my Media Psychology instructors) and Patrick Renvoise posit that neuromarketing findings are often surprising and call into question the classical marketing traditions (surveys, interviews, forums, questionnaires, web analytics, etc.) that have been applied for decades. As such, those who forge forward in their pursuit and adoption of neuromarketing practices will find themselves both questioning what they have known as well as challenging what they currently do (The Persuasion Code, 2018)
- In Marketing to Mindstates, the author points out this modern day reality: “Our brains are now tasked making 35,000 decisions per day. As a result, the vast majority of our decisions must be made at the non-conscious level. Our non-conscious minds are processing everything that is happening in our environment … all the while being bombarded with constant persuasive messaging and marketing from every platform we access and read. We’re exposed to thousands of of marketing messages each day, with each one trying to influence the thousands of decisions we make (Marketing to Mindstates, 2018).”
If you’re a marketer of quality at any level, the above-shared highlights should be, at minimum, probing your curiosity if not igniting your marketing fires.
The marketing of today is moving more and more towards human-centrism rather than consumer-centric.
And humans, as we all know, are abstract and highly complex beings.
The bottom line is that there’s no algorithm in the world (at least right now and or that I know of lol) that can determine or predict how the human brain will respond to marketing stimuli. Responses to stimuli are controlled and managed by the human brain, not technology.
While technology can assist us in gaining better understanding how consumers are influenced by marketing stimuli, it is the coming together of technology and media with psychology that can offer far more relevant context and insightful meaning.
In addition to the information shared above, there are many other brain-themed books I’ve been reading as well; and not just about neuromarketing but neuro-related topics like neurodesign, neurobranding, and the like.
There’s just so much more to say and share about these fascinating topics.
I’ll be sharing more as I’m able over future posts but for now, I’m hoping you have a general understanding of what neuromarketing is and why it can play a vital, valuable role in today’s volatile and uncertain, human-dominated marketing climate.
Thanks for reading,
Photo credit: Digital illustration for this blog post created by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson.