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Neuromarketing & Decoding Consumer Behavior in the Digital Age

Updated on April 14, 2024
Posted on October 4, 2023 by Michael White

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It often feels like every few months a new buzzword or tactic comes out that is meant to revolutionize the marketing industry. Keeping up with evolving methods can seem difficult — until you realize it’s all based on core marketing tactics. For example, neuromarketing sounds like an overwhelming concept. But once you break down the main principles behind it, and how to apply it to your marketing strategies, it suddenly becomes a common sense approach to leveraging available data to drive consumer acquisition and growth.


What Is Neuromarketing?

Ignore the jargon and focus on the definition. Neuromarketing is nothing more than relying on biofeedback gleaned from customers to better understand their motivations, how they interact with your content or product, and ultimately what triggers their decisions to make a purchase or request more information. While it’s often centered around in-store purchases, the concept of using behavioral study to tailor a product to consumers can also be used for virtual mediums.


Traditional Neuromarketing

Traditional neuromarketing from a clinical perspective would require using scanning tools such as an fMRI or EEG machine to track things like brain function, heart rate, and even eye movements. But for obvious logistical reasons, the average brand or store owner is unlikely to go this route. Hiring a team of neurologists, or sourcing participants willing to be hooked up to those machines, is highly impractical.

Neuromarketing Reimagined Through Biometrics

However, as we mentioned earlier, neuromarketing is not new. And in truth, although big brands aren’t carting fMRI or EEG machines into their stores, they are relying on a variant to glean information, finetune their marketing strategies and yield better results. For example, many retailers leverage biometrics to identify how consumers move through their stores.

This form of biometrics is not the same as fingerprint or face scanning to verify identity. Instead, it’s solely used to gauge consumer engagement. Factors such as facial expression, eye tracking, length of time spent staring at an item, and even skin conductivity can all be registered.

Key takeaways they learn can include:

  • What items draw the most interest or cause a consumer to stop and investigate further. Conversely, it can also determine when a consumer is displeased by an item.
  • If poor merchandising is causing some products to go unnoticed.
  • If poor flow creates dead zones where consumers are less likely to congregate or shop.
  • If particular colors within a product SKU are more popular — thereby supporting real time replenishment orders or predictions of colors to prioritize in future seasons.

Like traditional neuromarketing, although biometrics is an obvious fit for in-store improvements, it also works for online functionality. In a virtual world, this kind of biometrics can determine which pages draw the most interest, if products are losing views because of their specific page location, and even if poor navigational flow causes heightened page abandonment. You might be familiar with this form of biometrics which is known as heat maps.

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Key Neuromarketing Findings to Use for Your Marketing Campaigns

While the average small business is unlikely to invest in a traditional neuromarketing study to understand their target audience, there’s enough general findings from previous studies that you can use to guide your marketing campaigns. More importantly, you can leverage that information to tap into how those behaviors influence actions — and ultimately drive customer acquisition and ideally revenue.

FOMO is Real

Millennials may have coined the term “FOMO” but the concept is very old. Short for “fear of missing out”, it dovetails with a scarcity mentality. Few people want to feel left out of a trendy or popular item. And often we’re triggered to impulsively buy an item simply because of features like a countdown clock , a limited time sale, or limited edition product.

Peer Approval

When was the last time you bought an item on Amazon that had zero ratings? More than likely the answer is “not likely.” No one wants to be a guinea pig and buy an item that hasn’t been vetted — even if only by other real customer reviews. Does it mean that the zero-rating item is inherently bad? No, but it also means that you don’t know enough about it to feel confident enough to purchase an item. Combat this with reviews from real users — even if they’re aggregated from social media.

Credible Approval

Similar to peer approval, nothing can skyrocket a brand faster than an endorsement from a credible source. Of course, this source must be relevant to the product or service category. Think of Serena Williams endorsing a sports brand, or a high-end fashion designer launching a collaboration with a median-priced clothing retailer (Target and H&M frequently do this). For a small business owner, this could mean getting an endorsement from a nano or micro influencer in their relevant niche.

Keep It Simple

We all know the “keep it simple” mantra, and it’s one that shouldn’t be ignored. The concept goes hand-in-hand with Hick’s Law — the idea that when presented with too many options, people are more likely to make no decision or take longer choosing an option because of information overload. When at all possible, keep things simple. Assume that your consumers are new to your industry or product. Don’t overwhelm people with marketing speak, deep dives on landing pages, or too many product or service options too soon.

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Making Neuromarketing Work for Your Business

Neuromarketing doesn’t have to involve fMRIs or EEGs just so you can take advantage of consumer behavior. The less expensive option such as biometrics can be just as effective — even if you only leverage a tool like heat maps. Meanwhile, understanding consumer behavior findings from neuromarketing studies can be incredibly useful in helping you tap into the right methods (online or offline) that can encourage consumers to take an action which results in increased revenue.

However, if neuromarketing isn’t second nature for your team, letting seasoned professionals like those at The Creative Momentum assist you is one of the smartest moves you can make. Contact us today to see how we can help you leverage consumer behavior to create a revenue machine.



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