Marketing inherently entails a certain amount of psychological warfare. Determining a target market’s thought patterns and utilizing their preferences to effectively boost sales is the underlying goal of every advertising campaign, while consumers are attempting to be more discerning and insusceptible to campaigns. With neuromarketing, marketers are offered the opportunity to understand consumers’ mental biases from the inside out, potentially elevating everyone to the level of marketing geniuses.
Neuromarketing: The Process
The implications of neuromarketing are broad and open to interpretation. What is more concrete are the techniques used to yield results. Neuromarketing can simply be described as an analysis of different areas in the brain that respond to marketing stimuli. These areas in the brain, usually monitored by fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) will be inundated with oxygenated blood, therefore providing a distinct and indisputable reaction to a marketing campaign.
Neuromarketing’s success hinges on the ability to predict consumers’ predilections in an entirely new way; instead of relying upon individual analysis of how consumers will react when faced with a buying decision, the buying cycle can be observed and consumers’ opinions throughout the process will be transparently defined instead of subjectively interpreted.
Neuromarketing: The Problems
The big “but” in the fabulous field of neuromarketing is composed of three components; money, ethical dilemmas, and unproven claims of neuromarketing. Neuromarketing is expensive; the combined costs of neuromarketing machinery and skilled professionals to conduct the initial research can cost millions of dollars. The prohibitive expenses currently involved restrict neuromarketing to large companies with expansive marketing budgets, but these same companies may still be hesitant to employ neuromarketing until the remaining ethical dilemma is resolved. Ethically, neuromarketing falls into an ambiguous category.
Although not technically crossing any legally defined ethical boundaries, opponents argue that neuromarketing provides too much access to consumer preference, and manipulates consumers’ free will. However, for now, neuromarketing is in the clear to continue and no legislation exists to limit its implementation.
Finally, the bulk of advertisers are hesitant to invest in unproven techniques. Although neuromarketing appears to be scientifically sound, real world conditions often differ dramatically from controlled research experiments. The employment of neuromarketing on a large scale, which has been hindered by the first two factors discussed above, is the only definitive manner in which to verify that neuromarketing is not only possible, but beneficial to marketing efforts.
Neuromarketing: The Assessment
Advertisers are always eager to find the next gimmick or mechanism to gain a competitive advantage in their field. Neuromarketing, however, is much more than a mere trick. If the complications described above are resolved, neuromarketing could provide advertisers with the insight they need to create campaigns tailored to appeal to consumers needs, and develop a stronger understanding of what consumers want.
About Brian Easter
Brian Easter is one of NeboWeb’s founders and is driven by two things: a love of interactive marketing and a duty to bring home the bacon-flavored tofu (AKA dog food) for his two dogs. While he does enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as driving his car as fast as possible on the interstate while his passengers cower in the backseat, his true passion is helping clients make the most of the web.