Neuromarketing: Getting to the market’s mind

The neuroeconomics calls into question the assumptions of traditional economics on the human capacity to reason logically and plan their behavior.

Until recently, it was very difficult to examine the brain mechanisms put in place the memories, feelings, emotions, learning and perceptions that determine consumer behavior.

Today, research from the neurosciences are reporting a breakthrough to help us understand and improve decision-making processes, as well as the conduct of individuals in relation to consumption of goods and services.

What is sought is to understand how brain sensory systems encode information from the outside world, ie how does the nervous system to translate the vast amount of stimuli to which an individual is exposed to language

brain: activation and deactivation of neurons, communication between neurons, information transmission and neuroplasticity phenomena.

This is undoubtedly a quantum leap that began to take shape during the nineties and brought about the development of image analysis techniques (which are evolving, too, at an amazing rate.) These developments are allowing not only to confirm empirically a set of assumptions of traditional marketing, but also access a vast field of knowledge of potential for application in organizational management.

From marketing to neuromarketing

Since its inception, the marketing activity was based on knowledge from other disciplines such as psychology, sociology, economics, sciences and anthropology. By incorporating advances in neuroscience and neuropsychology, there was a shift of such magnitude that led to the creation of a new discipline, known by the name of neuromarketing.

This development resulted in the development of a set of methodologies which shed light on implementation issues before whom we have been in darkness for years, and it is estimated that in the XXI century will be produced enormous advances in knowledge about brain function, which bring prepared, in turn, the development of novel methodologies to investigate and explain the key processes of decision making in relation to consumption of goods and services and at the same time, create and implement strategic plans for successfully leading organizations toward their goals .

Undoubtedly, neuromarketing brings a set of resources of enormous value to research the market, segment and developing successful strategies in products (design, brand, packaging), positioning, pricing, communications and channels.

Neuromarketing in practice

The methodologies used are varied and come neuromarketing, mostly in the field of neuroscience.

Neuroimaging can find out what’s happening in the brain of a client in the various stimuli it receives, which provides a field of study much more powerful than traditional marketing provided because of their limitations to explore the meta-mechanisms, which are determining more than 90% of customer decisions. For example:

When using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), each scan can see how and where it activates the brain to each stimulus while it works. Imagine the reader the scope of this methodology because, according to brain areas are activated, we investigate (among many other things):

What are the attributes of a product or service to generate acceptance, rejection or indifference. This can be done with brand awareness and blind taste test, as did Lea Montagne in the United States and Pepsi1 Coca Cola.

The level of acceptance (pretest) and remembrance (post test) of a commercial, in any format: television, radio, print, outdoor, etc.., And the degree of impact of each of its parts, both in neurosensory aspects such as those relating to the mechanisms of attention, emotion and memory.

The strength of emotional attachments to a particular brand.

The stimuli to be implemented in a point of sale to encourage purchases.

This list can be as extensive as required by marketing management. Currently, the majority of neuroimaging studies are performed in specialized institutes (the most advanced countries are the United States and Germany) and the results are extremely useful for companies that want to use them.

Undoubtedly, the increasing development of devices that scan and, above all, located brain activations has opened a really exciting field of study, with results that left behind many cases of the past.

The contribution of neuroeconomics to marketing activity

The model suggested by the traditional economy forms a perfectly rational individual behavior, based on a subjective measure called utility. From this perspective, the demand for any product depends solely on price.

However, it has been proven by several studies from the field of neuroscience that most organizations are competing to establish an emotional link between their product and customer, and this link provided the effect of price decreases.

Kahneman1 Daniel, who won the Nobel Prize for integrating advances in psychological research to economic science, analyzed the complexity of people’s reasoning when making economic decisions and demonstrated their studies focused particularly on the stock market , that decision affects more buyers, more conditions, an overview of losses that a similar proportion of earnings prospects.

He said that when we choose, we do not always objectively. This lack of objectivity tends to follow regular patterns that admit a mathematical description. According to Kahneman, people underestimate the results that are only likely in comparison with the results that are obtained with certainty.

Kahneman’s main contribution to economic science is the development, together with Amos Tversky, a theory that individuals make decisions in uncertain environments that deviate from the basic principles of probability. A decision such as shortcuts called heuristics.

One manifestation of heuristic shortcuts is loss aversion. Thus, an individual prefers not to lose rather than win $ 100 $ 100, which implies an asymmetry in decision making.

In other words, it is easier to pay 1,500 euros for something that is hoped will cost 1,400, to pay 100 for something that is free thought, although the amount of loss in both cases is the same.

These investigations showed that humans are not perfectly rational in making decisions. Our brain is continually looking for meaningful patterns even where none exist.

The importance of this research lies in its usefulness to model rational behaviors, which deviate from the conception of homo economicus that supports the classical economic theory.

Neuromarketing sense: when they all compete to get to the senses

One of the big issues, neuromarketing is about perception, characterized as an extraordinarily complex phenomenon because it depends on external events as the experiences of the perceiver.

This concept is of fundamental importance in the management of businesses, not only to develop their own capacities, but also for better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie all decision-making processes of the customers.

When external stimuli received by sensory systems, the brain does not just record this information, but also the processed and interpreted.

Thus, each individual constructs reality from these stimuli. This fact explains why the same phenomenon can be perceived differently by each person.

In other words, we can all operate from our senses that we are represented in our minds.

This is because we apply “filters” to those stimuli that depend on many factors, some external, such as intensity, size or contrast of the stimulus, and other inmates, as our interests, needs and souvenirs.

In a context of neuromarketing, this means the following:

The perceptions of the clients are not a direct reflection of what exists around them, ie, objective reality, but its interpretation by the brain about it.


The real challenge is to use the tools that provide the neurosciences to discover what these perceptions and, from there, define the best strategies to reach them, seducing them and loyalty.

This requires an interdisciplinary approach to study and explain the key processes of decision making and at the same time, create and implement strategic plans for successfully leading organizations towards their goals.

In this way, the neuromarketing is the promise of the future … and present.

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