Neuromarketing, what is it? Why is it useful?

Today, thanks to web analytics and tracking tools, marketers can track almost everything, from the number of views or shares on social networks, to the evolution of your return on investment in real time. However, there are still important elements that technological analysis struggles to exploit: these are human emotions and behaviors.

But that is changing, with the rapid progress of cognitive neuroscience, a field of research that studies the functioning and mechanisms related to cognition, that is to say all your emotions, your reasoning, your perception, etc

Neuroscience can also very well focus on the consumer, and that is when we speak of neuromarketing.

Neuromarketing is the study of the human brain to predict and potentially influence consumer behavior and decision-making; for example, to push him towards the act of purchase.

Put simply, neuromarketing is the application of neuroscience to marketing.

The responses and reactions of a subject exposed to products, packaging, advertising and other areas of marketing are measured using a variety of technologies, including imaging, scanners and activity measurement. cerebral.

Interestingly, neuromarketing research is now considered to be more revealing than traditional surveys, polls, and market research because brain responses to research stimuli may not be hidden or distorted by the topic. In a way, it’s human nature speaking, without filter and without pretense.

In this article, we will answer all the questions you have about neuromarketing and discuss the following points:

  • Definition of neuromarketing
  • The fundamental principles revealed by neuromarketing
  • Neuromarketing technologies used by marketers
  • Some examples from neuromarketing to improve your marketing strategy 

What is Neuromarketing?

Traditional marketing research techniques have shown their limitations when it comes to gaining a complete understanding of a customer’s preferences.

But marketers can now use the technological tools offered by neuromarketing to make better strategic decisions and grow their business.

This is why smart techniques such as neuromarketing are used to better understand how our brain and nervous system react to specific stimuli, such as color, packaging, product design, -e-mail header or even other more original characteristics of a product, such as the smell.

It is estimated that neuromarketing was born in 2004 in the United States.

That year, researcher Samuel McClure carried out a comparative study between two famous and similar drinks: Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

As part of the study in question, participants are first asked to taste the two drinks in containers that conceal the marks.

Then they start again, but the brand of each of the two drinks is indicated.

The result of the study showed that, surprisingly, the participants showed no preference when they did not know which brand they were drinking.

But when brands were listed, the vast majority of participants preferred Coca-Cola.

McClure concluded that the perception of a brand could enormously influence consumer behavior, and even cause identifiable neurological effects in subjects.

Many companies are already using neuromarketing in their marketing strategies to influence consumers.

We see for example the use of neuromarketing in segmentation, because your audience can also be segmented according to brain differences rather than according to the usual factors, such as demographics, geographical location, or psychographics.

American author Roger Dooley’s book, Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing, is one of the best published works in the field of neuromarketing.

This researcher has studied the effects of psychology, behavioral research and neuroscience on persuasion in the field of business, leadership and communication.

In his book, he describes a variety of marketing strategies based on behavioral science and the study of the brain.

Unfortunately, both in terms of time and money, neuromarketing research is extremely expensive to conduct.

Carrying out experiments in a short period of time is expensive, especially since the results come in limited quantities, since it is difficult to carry out experiments on a large number of subjects at the same time.

Moreover, as the experiments must be carried out in the laboratory, it is difficult to reproduce real situations, because the subjects are necessarily limited in their movements and actions.

And we observe that the results obtained show certain limitations when they are applied in real-life scenarios, outside the research framework.

That being said, and as we’ll see later in this article, understanding and applying the fundamentals of neuromarketing can make a huge difference to your marketing efforts.

The biggest companies in the world are already using neuromarketing to conduct market research, organize focus groups, design marketing campaigns, and do many other things, as we will see in the next part.

The fundamental principles revealed by neuromarketing

Before the advent of neuromarketing, marketers primarily relied on traditional market research methods, which include focus groups, interviews, and field trials, to learn about their customers’ preferences.

While traditional market research is always useful, even indispensable, it says far less about your audience than what neuromarketing can reveal by deciphering human brain activity.

Using neuromarketing, marketers are able to understand how a person’s brain reacts to a specific situation using various resources and tactics.

Here are four essential neuromarketing principles you can use to retain current customers and attract new ones:


There’s no denying that when a product or service seems rare or hard to obtain, consumers are more likely to buy it. The reason ? The fear of missing or losing something, which in marketing terms is called “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out).

Your marketing team can use this concept of scarcity to increase demand for your products. In the United States, particularly in the streetwear sector, a tactic called “drop” is used, which consists of marketing a very limited quantity of a product, such as the famous Yeezy from Adidas, each edition of which is sold in space of a few minutes.

The habit

The logic behind developing a habit is simple: it’s all about repetition. If you want to become known on any channel, make people search for your brand presence, until it becomes habitual, consciously or unconsciously.

It is for this reason that gamification and subscription services have become popular recently.

Consumers, after having played these games once or twice, become addicted and develop a habit of closeness with the brands that use this technique.

Understanding emotions

All human beings wish to interact with people who understand them and accept their emotions, without even having to express them, which is not self-evident. What if technology could do what humans struggle to do?

The main objective of neuromarketing is to understand the emotions of consumers and users, whether in physical retail spaces or on the internet, and it uses various techniques to achieve this.  

Successfully analyzing your audience’s emotions is a great way to adjust your marketing campaigns or advertisements to get the reaction you want.

social proof

Man is by essence a social being, and the majority of our behaviors are in fact influenced by social norms.

When many people buy a product or service just because others have, it’s called “social proof.”

The goal is simple, to encourage and influence more people to imitate the act of buying, and thereby increase demand for that product or service.

For example, in marketing, customer testimonials are a great way to boost sales because seeing how other people have benefited from a product or service can be a powerful motivator for repeat the same behavior and make a purchase in turn.

Neuromarketing technologies used by marketers

Agencies and companies specializing in neuromarketing use technologies directly derived from neuroscience research such as fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), EEG (electroencephalography), eye tracking (gaze and pupillometry), biometrics and facial coding.


fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a technology that performs a sort of reading of human cerebral activity, and provides a clear idea of ​​a client’s interests and preferences. It detects blood flow in the brain associated with increased neural activity. As this technology reveals detailed emotional reactions, engagement levels and memory information, marketing teams use it to set prices or improve their brand image.


EEG (electroencephalography) records electrical signals on the scalp from neurons inside the brain. Marketers use it to improve advertisements and brand image, as it reveals the level of engagement and provides insights into consumer memory.

Eye-tracking technology

Eye-tracking technology helps to know exactly where users are looking when viewing images and videos on a screen, and it is used to get an idea of ​​a subject’s interests by following his gaze, as his name suggests. Marketers use this technology to improve the design of websites, the design of their advertisements and the packaging of their products, because eye-tracking has the ability to detect what attracts human attention, or what on the contrary pushes people away. This technology is also able to analyze the speed of your brain when it comes to recognizing something.  


Pupillometry is a technology that measures pupil dilation. It is used to improve the design of websites and digital advertisements, as well as packaging, as it can reveal the level of engagement of a subject.


Biometrics can measure electrodermal activity, heart rate, and respiration. All of these factors reveal the level of engagement and reaction of the consumer. Biometrics is, for example, used to improve advertising content.

Facial coding

Finally, facial coding identifies facial expressions and it is used to know the meaning of an emotional reaction, whether it is happiness, fear, surprise, sadness, etc. This technology is also widely used to improve advertising content.

Some examples from neuromarketing to improve your marketing strategy

There are a few basic concepts, which have been demonstrated by work in neuromarketing, and which can be used by any e-commerce or business to increase their conversion rate.

color psychology


According to color psychology, using the right colors is essential to grab a customer’s attention. For example, the most common mistake companies make is using pink or purple colors for a brand that sells men’s clothing.

Therefore, when designing your product pages or any communication medium aimed at customers, it is essential to choose the right color.

audio branding

Your branding efforts should not be limited to visual elements. Audio branding is an effective way to make customers remember your business. Ads that feature a distinctive voice or a few well-chosen words can help audiences remember the brand name quickly. All major brands have an “audio logo”, and the shorter it is, the easier it is to remember.

This type of hack works well in tandem with other branding-related efforts in an effort to establish a cohesive brand image.

Focus on the senses

What is called sensory branding is mainly used to appeal to the 5 senses, i.e. sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. Let’s take scent marketing as an example of sensory marketing. Today we speak of “olfactory marketing”, which consists of creating a perfume with the power to amplify the brand identity and the marketing message intended for a company’s target audience.

Abercrombie & Fitch is a good example of success in this area. The American ready-to-wear brand offers a range of perfumes with intense woody fragrances that perfectly complement the clothing collections.

The pricing structure

A company’s turnover and profit are determined, among other things, by the selling price of the products or services marketed.

A neuromarketing study has proven that smart pricing strategies can have a big impact on product success.

You have certainly already asked yourself the following question: is it better to round up or not to round up your prices? Difficult to answer this question. But studies have shown that rounded prices are easier for the brain to process, while unrounded prices require more mental effort.

Pay attention to the font you choose

Another neuromarketing technique is selecting the right typeface for your brand. Fonts are used for various purposes. It is noticed that simple sans serif fonts have an immediate impact on the brain, while complex fonts force the brain to work harder to understand and remember what is displayed.

When you have a very clear message, use a simple font. So for instructions and a call to action, simple fonts are best.

Complex fonts, on the other hand, grab more attention visually than simple fonts and should only be used to highlight important information.

Effective packaging

From aesthetics to functionality, neuromarketing applied to packaging can greatly improve the consumer experience. Neuromarketing is thus used by the biggest companies to create excellent product packaging. Companies can spot design and design elements that aren’t catching their audience’s eye using eye tracking and EEG (electroencephalography) data.


Companies that today are able to understand the most fundamental roots of human emotion certainly have a significant advantage through the use of neuromarketing.

The versatility and power of this tool means that it can be used in both inbound and outbound marketing campaigns or netlinking .

So, if your budget allows it, give your marketing team the opportunity to exploit all the facets of neuromarketing, in order to better understand your customers’ preferences.

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