How neuroscience IMPACTS MARKETING.

How Neuroscience Impacts Marketing In A Huge Way

The old advertising days are over. Move over Mad Men, the new wave of marketers is using less money to achieve bigger results. With new techniques and platforms based on neuroscience marketing, your brand can have an incredible impact on marketing to potential customers online. 

Advertising is no longer just about who can afford the largest sign in New York’s Times Square or who can sponsor an expensive event. Traditional marketing efforts focused on print advertising, outdoor signage, and events. 

Digital marketing allows you to market to people where they spend hours each day: online. Tactics like social media marketing and paid search advertising have completely changed the game for businesses. Not only is this type of marketing generally less expensive than traditional ads, but it can also extend your reach. While billboards only reach people driving on that particular road, a well-placed Facebook campaign can reach thousands of people across different geographic locations. 

I suggest taking digital marketing one step further to make it even more effective. When the principles of neuroscience are combined with marketing, we get a discipline called neuromarketing that can take your marketing strategy to the next level!

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing attempts to understand how the customer’s brain really works and how marketing affects the customer. By putting yourself in your customer’s head, you may rethink your efforts based not on what you think is right, but what will actually resonate with the customer. 


Roger Dooley can be described as the father of neuromarketing. He’s been writing about the strategy since 2005 (which is 100 years in internet time) and he literally wrote the book on it, Brainfluence. In the book, he describes how consumers already subconsciously define what they want, how much they will pay for it, and possibly even what promotional activities appeal to them daily. Once you understand what the consumer is asking for, your business can have a greater impact marketing to your audience.

Consumer neuroscience, while closely related to neuromarketing, extends beyond by providing insights into how to convert new buyers into repeat customers. Both fields rely on understanding the brain’s response to marketing stimuli, yet consumer neuroscience offers a broader, more comprehensive view, focusing on long-term customer relationships and loyalty.

Once you understand what the consumer is asking for, your business can have a greater impact marketing to your audience. By integrating the principles of neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience, companies can tailor their marketing efforts to be more aligned with the intrinsic desires and needs of their customers, ensuring not just a transaction, but a lasting relationship.

How Does it Work? 

There are four methods of tracking brain activity for consumer research, each with their own merits and disadvantages: electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eye tracking and facial coding system. 

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

Researchers focusing on fMRI use a powerful magnet to track the brain’s blood flow as test subjects respond to visual and audio cues. This test lets researchers access a part of the brain known as the “pleasure center” and allows marketers to learn how subjects are actually responding to their ads. 

This sounds great! The more data, the better, right? However, fMRI is expensive and inconvenient for test subjects. The equipment used in fMRI is expensive to operate and subjects must lie totally still in a large machine while the experiment is happening. 

Electroencephalography (EEG)

EEG allows researchers to follow instinctual emotions like lust, sadness, excitement, and anger through fluctuations of brain activity measured by a cap of electrodes. The participant wears this cap on their head, which is less restrictive than sitting in the large fMRI machine. It is also a lot cheaper to run this type of experiment. 

The downside of EEG is that it does not gain access to the “pleasure center”, which is deep inside the brain. That means the information you receive from the fMRI might be better, but the EEG is cheaper and easier to operate. 

Facial Coding Systems

Developed by Paul Ekman, this method analyzes facial expressions to decode emotional reactions. Marketers use automated tools that can detect nuances in expressions through webcams, providing insights into emotions like joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise.

The advantage of this method is that it is one of the most cost-effective ways to decode facial expressions. However, identifying the 5,000 unique expressions or emotions a human face can have is a challenge for both humans & machines, the camera angle influences the results quite a bit, so precision is not as high as with other methods.

Eye Tracking

Eye tracking technology captures where and how long a person looks at certain parts of an advertisement or product display. Key metrics include the speed and patterns of eye movement, blinking rates, and pupil dilation. This data helps marketers understand what captures attention and triggers emotional or cognitive engagement.

The advantage of this method is that it’s very accurate, as people usually forget their eye movements are being tracked and behave naturally, and it can be done in a wide variety of settings. However, it can also be an expensive research method and must be pared with other data to correctly interpret the findings.

How Big Brands Succeed with Neuroscience in Marketing

That’s what neuromarketing is. But which brands have succesfully used neuromarketing as part of their strategy? Multinational corporations like Frito-Lay, Gerber, and Campbell’s have all used neuromarketing to restyle their product and packaging design. Automotive giant Hyundai also utilizes this strategy to better connect with potential customers. Likewise, financial services platform PayPal and internet pioneer Yahoo have tapped into neuromarketing techniques to optimize their user engagement and increase consumer loyalty. 

In the case of restyling, consumers were shown a product’s packaging piece by piece, and their reaction to the material was recorded as positive, negative, or neutral. The brands then used this information, along with in-depth interviews with participants, to analyze specific points. The final result? Changes to the packaging such as imagery, text size, and colour that better resonated with consumers. 

For example, Frito-Lay’s research found that shiny bags with pictures of chips triggered a negative response in some participants, while matte bags with pictures of potatoes did not. The packaging was changed to better appeal to customers, based on the information gleaned from neuromarketing. 

Hyundai utilized EEG when asking participants to review a car prototype. Thirty participants wore EEG caps for an hour while examining the prototype, which gave Hyundai helpful information regarding design. 

PayPal also used neuromarketing to discover that commercials highlighting the convenience and speed of PayPal services initiated a much more positive response than commercialised focused on security and safety. This information led to a whole new ad campaign based on speed and convenience. 

Some of the biggest brands use this neuroscience research to impact marketing campaigns that are broadcast worldwide! How can your business utilize neuromarketing? 

Ways to Use Neuroscience Findings to Improve Your Marketing Campaigns 

I’m going to share some key takeaways from Brainfluence + other researchers in the field, which will allow your business to use the power of neuromarketing without paying for a research study! 

1. Use Simple Fonts to Encourage Action

One simple piece of advice from the book is to keep it simple. If the font on your website, email marketing, or lead pages is too busy, people may shy away. When trying to convince a user to take action, simple and easy-to-read fonts are key. 

If your copy is hard to read or too long, consumers are more likely to skip out. That’s why forms on your lead pages should be easy to read, simple to fill out, and straightforward for the consumer. The more difficult an action is to complete, the more friction it creates with the consumer, and the less likely you are to capture that lead. ?

2. Make Consumers Remember With Complex Fonts

Does this mean you can never use complex fonts? Of course not! It just means instructions and lead forms should always be in simple, easy-to-read text. 

However, complex fonts can help boost memory recall and grab visual attention. Think about websites you like — are creative fonts used in the homepage copy to invite you in and capture your attention? Probably! Complex fonts make websites more interesting and appealing. Utilizing them for emphasis in your copy can be a great way to draw consumers in. 

While complex fonts are fun for headers and emphasis, remember the importance of simple text for instructions. Key information like your email address and phone number should be in simple text. You don’t want anyone struggling to read how to contact you! 

3. Use Gaze to Direct Attention

Brainfluence also discusses the work of James Breeze, an Australian usability specialist who has researched how people react to ads featuring babies. In his experiments, he found that people will look towards whatever the person (or even animal) in the ad is looking at. 

So if you’re going to use imagery with people, be sure to have them looking at what you want the consumer to focus on. This is one way that using neuroscience will have a subconscious impact marketing to your target audience.  Neuroscientific research suggests that the human brain processes images faster than text, which means using an engaging visual can grab attention more effectively than words alone.

4. Gain Trust With Customers by Showing Trust

Impact marketing is all about building a relationship between you and the consumer. They need to trust you in order to refer your business and buy from you again. Part of gaining customer trust is making them feel trusted in return. 

Brainfluence suggests some different ways that brands can show they trust customers: 

  • Offer a trial with few restrictions (such as a free trial or an informational freebie)
  • Establish a frictionless point of entry (don’t have long forms or a lengthy screening process)
  • Provide confidential info without making customers sign NDA (this depends on the business, but do you have something valuable you can offer customers?)
  • Include testimonials or user statistics to offer social validation. Highlighting how many customers have enjoyed your product or service can reassure potential buyers, leveraging the psychological tendency for people to follow the actions of others.

5. Don’t forget to smile! 

This sounds obvious, but I am just going to say it: people like smiling people. Some folks may want to choose a serious businessman on their website to show that their brand is serious and professional, but neuromarketing shows us that this isn’t the best option. 

Personalizing your website with pictures of people is a great idea because it engages consumers and humanizes your company. So pick a photo with a smiling person! Neuromarketing research shows us that a “mind-boosting” image (such as a smiling person or another happy photo) can positively affect a consumer’s willingness to spend.  

6.Utilize Sensory + Emotional Language

Infuse your ad copy with emotional appeal. Emotions play a crucial role in decision-making processes. Whether it’s excitement, curiosity, or urgency, an emotionally resonant copy can make the difference between an ad that’s clicked on and one that’s overlooked.

In your ad copy + landing pages, describe your products or services using language that evokes the senses. Talk about the taste of your artisan chocolates, the feel of your luxury bed linens, or the soothing sounds of your ambient music album. This approach helps consumers ‘feel’ the experience even before they make a purchase.

7. Create a sense of urgency

Encourage Immediate Action. Communicate urgency in your message. Make it clear in your ads that your offer is time-sensitive or limited in availability. This tactic can trigger a sense of scarcity and prompt quicker decision-making in consumers.

To recap

Consumers are bombarded with ads. How can you make your advertising stick out among thousands of competing campaigns? 

When you use neuroscience to look deeply at human emotion and how it affects purchasing behaviour, you can cut through the clutter to give people what they want to see. This is incredibly powerful in digital marketing as it can inform design and content to subconsciously affect consumers’ decisions. 

Understanding the fundamentals of neuroscience and neuromarketing allows you to get better results faster in your marketing strategies. Apply these science-backed strategies to your ad campaigns and organic marketing, and watch your performance soar! 

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