Report • 27.11.2012

Neuromarketing: When the hunter becomes the hunted

… because when it comes to purchase decisions, they seldom know why they do it

Everybody knows them, but few ask why they are there: bargains and sales. Shortly before Christmas, German retailer Saturn likes to give away the sales tax and in nearly every larger town, there are now so-called mid-season sales in addition to summer and winter clearance sales. The supposedly harmless sales that are meant to convey customers a feeling of happiness over a bargain purchase are powerful in terms of neuromarketing.

Something everybody is familiar with and guaranteed to have done in the past is to buy something, because it has been marked down. For women – somewhat overstated – that means the sixth pair of black shoes and for men it is another technical gimmick of some kind. Retail owes these unplanned additional purchases to the reward center in the human brain, which is purposefully stimulated with such sales. If the aforementioned center is being addressed, customers lose a part of their ability to make a rational buying decision. The effect of this entire process is that the willingness to buy increases because “it costs less!“

What happens in the brain during a buying decision

Neuromarketing or consumer neuroscience is a symbiosis of the neurobiology and marketing disciplines. It investigates what happens in the brain if one sees advertising or specific brands and what happens when people make purchase decisions. Especially in times of sensory overload and a society sated with products, one goal is to find out what customers really want and how products need to be advertised in order for them to be purchased. After all, eight out of ten products on the market are not successful. Therefore, it is worth it to take a closer look at consumer brains, because buying decisions are made (sub) consciously and can rarely be actually explained by the customer.

Neurologist and neuromarketing expert Professor Christian E. Elger of the Life & Brain GmbH sheds some light on this. Find out in our iXtenso interview how the brain and the wallet can be converged.

Neuromarketing in practice – proper advertising for the brain

Retail should never forget one thing: the subconscious is also always sitting in the shopping cart when a customer enters a store. And what is even more important: the subconscious makes purchase decisions. It is affected by four factors: attention, memory building, emotions and the already mentioned reward center. These four factors can in turn also be controlled to some extent. Emotions, those meaning feelings such as trust in a brand, a pleasant shopping atmosphere and small gifts and rewards have a subconscious positive effect on the prospective buyer.

Marketing consultant and author of ”What makes a brand successful – Neuropsychology in brand management“ Dr. Christian Scheier of the decode Marketingberatung GmbH explains in an interview how these theories work in practice.

Mirror neuron on the wall, what is being bought throughout the country?

Mirror, mirror on the wall… finally knowing what and particularly why something is being bought would simply be magical for the marketing sector. Yet despite the new possibility of gaining insights into subconscious human action via brain scan, a lot of brand awareness remains a question of fetal imprinting and can therefore hardly be changed. By the age of seven, values and standards in human beings have completely developed. Brands or products that are known up to this point retain the childlike – positive or negative – connotation. The soup that you used to get in the past when you had a bad cold becomes a symbol – or “imprint“ – for home, a feeling of security and love. Connecting emotions with products and therefore ideally with a specific brand is a very successful marketing strategy.

Another source of buying power appears to be the mirror neurons, which were detected in 1995, but are still controversial. In humans, these neurons are said to provoke among other things empathy and the imitative effect. That’s great for marketing. A little while back, a YouTube video showed a boy unwrapping his new video game console. Within a short amount of time, more than 70,000 people saw the video. Just watching something seems to trigger similar feelings of happiness in humans than if they were unwrapping a desired item from its pointless packaging by themselves. In this case, successful neuromarketing would be watching, enjoying and buying.

The ”add to shopping cart“ button and ethics

For all the blessing it would be to know how the brain would shop, many a person gets a stomachache at the thought of systematic mind manipulation. The bargain-hunter becomes the hunted from which retailers want every last penny out of his/her wallet without him/her noticing or even being able to change it. Neuromarketing remains an explosive and fiercely debated topic. However, the button that makes people buy powerlessly and with no will of their own does not exist in the brain quite like that. Yet there are and always have been factors that make people less discerning when they buy.

That said there are always two parties in shopping: the one that offers something and the one that actually accepts the offer. Yes, there are factors that cloud the logical reasoning and decision-making ability of people. And yes, emotions are once again among the top ten leading impulses also in this area of life, but the well-advertised products are not actually bad. On the one hand it is a question of marketing strategy and on the other a question of critical self-awareness which decides whether to buy or not. Those who make quick decisions when they shop, often act more generously – meaning acting favorably towards the product. So it always pays off – and every bargain-hunter knows this, too – to sleep on it for a night or two before making a major purchase. You can see more clearly the next morning and also make a more sensible and rational purchase decision.

Elisabeth Henning, iXtenso.com

Sources:

Neuromarketing-Blog by Roger Dooley

Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing; Roger Dooley; 2011

Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, Martin Lindstrom; 2009

Making Ads That Whisper to the Brain

The Secret of Neuromarketing: Go for the Pain

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: retail trends 2-2019: focus sales promotion
03.06.2019   #customer satisfaction #customer relationship management

retail trends 2-2019: focus "sales promotion"

How to win, serve, and keep customers

Read our latest edition retail trends 2-2019 online as an e-paper. ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Attracting customers to your retail store: location-based marketing...
03.06.2019   #customer satisfaction #digital marketing

Attracting customers to your retail store: location-based marketing

Right people, right place, right time: getting your customers' attention

“Check out this suede jacket that matches your pants and shoes." Once a customer is near the entrance of a fashion boutique, marketers deliver personalized promotions via hologram. After the customer has entered the store, the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Crisis management in retail: Making a mountain out of a molehill –...
18.07.2019   #online trading #brick and mortar retail

Crisis management in retail: Making a mountain out of a molehill – what now?

How retailers should prepare for crisis communication

A lengthy order, a faulty delivery, an unsatisfactory customer service - all this is quickly evaluated and spread on the Internet and can have negative consequences for the retailer. We talked to Alexander De Ruiter from OBI4wan about the tasks ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The POS TUNING Pizza Presenter
24.07.2019   #product presentation #refrigerated shelves

The POS TUNING Pizza Presenter

The presentation solution for round pizzas in the chilling area

At the point of sale, customers can only buy what they see. This is the motto of POS TUNING from Bad Salzuflen, the solution provider for optimized product presentation at the point of sale for almost all product categories.The POS T Pizza Presenter ...

Thumbnail-Photo: 5 essentials for customer experience leaders...
18.07.2019   #customer satisfaction #customer relationship management

5 essentials for customer experience leaders

Gather customer feedback and analyze it

Customer experience is fundamental to your business and needs to be in your company’s strategy.However, CX leaders are challenged with what it means to spearhead these efforts. To improve their influence, and subsequent results, CX leaders can ...

Thumbnail-Photo: British consumer behavior: ethical and Instagrammable...
06.08.2019   #marketing research #customer analysis

British consumer behavior: ethical and Instagrammable

Report tracking spending across major consumer markets

As Brexit rumbles on, British consumers continue to spend on brands and businesses that successfully tap into the Holy Trinity of current consumer behavior: the ‘experience economy’, the booming health and wellness movement, and the ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The customer is always right? Two customers might spell trouble!...
09.05.2019   #consulting #brick and mortar retail

The customer is always right? Two customers might spell trouble!

How salespeople can handle customers who bring company along

Customers rarely shop alone. Most of them shop with family or friends. The other person might not always be in a good mood, patient or friendly. Can the salesperson simply ignore the other person in these instances? How should he or she handle this ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Digital food retail: customers expect more personalization...
07.06.2019   #personalization #food delivery service

Digital food retail: customers expect more personalization

New research sponsored by precima shows retailers must act quickly to develop a detailed understanding of shopping missions.

The fast-changing dynamics of the food retailing environment continue to challenge companies to keep pace with fast-changing shopper demands. The latest of these shifting shopper requirements involves their behavior on digital platforms and is ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Stores with employee background checks favored...
17.06.2019   #security #customer satisfaction

Stores with employee background checks favored

Sterling’s 2019 ‘Retail Industry Screening’ survey

Sterling, expert in background and identity services, today released the results of its 2019 ‘Retail Industry Screening’ survey. An inaugural initiative, the survey examines Americans’ perspectives, experiences and concerns related ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Of local heroes and global players
04.07.2019   #online trading #digital marketing

Of local heroes and global players

An overview of online marketplaces

Amazon and eBay – many retailers heavily rely on these top names. Yet there are other online marketplaces that could offer useful features. After all, the easy solution isn’t necessarily the perfect fit for ...

Supplier

POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn
CCV Deutschland GmbH
CCV Deutschland GmbH
Gewerbering 1
84072 Au i.d.Hallertau
HappyOrNot
HappyOrNot
Innere Kanalstraße 15
50823 Köln