Neuromarketing – Could It Actually Be Helping Your Customers?
Neuromarketing, which has been described as “the intersection of neuroscience and behavior research with marketing, advertising and product design,” has caused a good deal of controversy since its first application in the early 1990s. But could the accusations of “brainwashing” and “mind control” be obscuring the fact that neuromarketing techniques might actually help customers to make better choices first time around, thus saving them money and increasing their levels of satisfaction?
Neuromarketing focuses on appealing to what is known as the “old brain” or “reptilian brain.” While the “new brain” processes rational data and the “middle brain” processes emotions and gut feelings, it is the old brain (the part that controls our fight-or-flight response) that is believed to be the actual trigger for decision making. In fact, studies have shown that the pleasure zone within the old brain reacts 500 milliseconds before the rational zone, so that decisions are made literally before we have had time to think, based on emotion, sensory stimulation and evoked memories. In addition, some research has demonstrated that instinctive choices made by the old brain are far less often regretted by buyers than those that are given greater consideration.
Although some businesses have resolutely stayed away from the concept of neuromarketing and all its bad press, one has to ask whether it might not, in fact, be doing customers a favor by appealing to their more primitive and honest emotional responses.