Neuromarketing, what is it?

by Romy Boer

The term “neuromarketing” is growing in popularity. Advertising agencies everywhere market one of their unique selling points to be “the usage of neuromarketing” – but what does this fancy term actually entail? When I hear the term neuro, the first thing that I think of is difficult brain analyses, quickly followed by my second thought being “my bachelor’s degree does not cover difficult brain analyses, help!”. Do you feel the same? Then keep on reading, to discover the true meaning of using neuromarketing in advertisements.  

Before neuromarketing, a lot of marketing campaigns were developed based on gut feeling or “because this approach worked in the past”. Today, using neuromarketing in your advertisement mostly entails taking advantage of the unconscious decision making of the consumer. Humans make 95% of their decisions unconscious – shocking, I know – but yet very true. This, because our neocortex (the part of the brain that enables us to make conscious decisions) does not have the energy to run 24/7, therefore it is taken over by our mammal brain when the neocortex gives up.

Our mammal brain is not able to process persuasion techniques as our neocortex is able to. Therefore, our mammal brain is more easily persuaded by unconscious marketing techniques. But what are these unconscious techniques? Examples are the use of colour, the number of options given to select from, visual cues, the list goes on. These are all marketing tools that we do not consciously take into account when making a decision. For instance, you do not consciously think “I will buy the bread with the blue label, because blue makes me feel better than green does”.  

To give a corporate example of a very easy to implement neuromarketing technique, we can look at Deliveroo. Our neocortex is taken over by our mammal brain at the end of our workday, when we are tired and hungry. Deliveroo, who delivers food directly to you, plays into this by sending a discount coupon to your email slightly before 5pm (the average end of a working day), when most people are tired (and hungry) from work. Seeing a discount coupon for a dinner option at this time will be harder to process, then when you receive the same discount coupon right after lunch, as you will be energized and full. See how simple but effectively that worked? All Deliveroo had to do was take time into account, to raise the effectiveness of their advertisement.

Of course, this is just one example. There are hundreds of these small and simple neuro techniques out there that can be applied to marketing campaigns, and have proven to be very effective!

I hope this 101 in neuromarketing has enlightened you a bit on what this unique marketing technique actually entails! Maybe you are even confident enough to apply this to your future projects.