Over the past few decades, the attempts of companies to reach consumers have grown ever bolder, and we are now living in a time when marketing and advertisements are a near-inescapable component of our day-to-day existence. Taking into consideration the large amount of advertising exposure that the average person experiences in their lifetime, a new field of business science has emerged, one that studies the effects of these entities upon the consumer’s brain. Neuromarketing studies the sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective responses of people who are exposed to marketing ploys so as to answer questions that have been hounding market analysts for many years. How do people make their purchasing decisions? Why would one choose one product over another? How can it possibly NOT be butter? From perusing these queries (last one excluded), it should be pretty apparent as to why neuromarketing is a field of study that continues to garner more and more attention.
One of the biggest components of this research revolves around the processing that the unconscious area of our brains performs. According to MRI scans, decisions that people make have a tendency to occur in neurological areas which are not subject to our direct consciousness. This may be good news for some, as it can serve as the scientifically backed rationale behind choosing to buy the super-size chocolate milkshake at McDonalds! Well, maybe the science hasn’t advanced that far yet, but so far there have been a number of uncovered trends that allow researchers to predict consumer choices even before the consumer themselves. By tracking various responses and behaviors, ranging from facial expressions and eye movements to advanced procedures such as brain scans and biometrics, scientists continue to push the envelope of neuromarketing.
The outcomes of these studies have a wide range of utilities that expand well beyond the scientific community as well. Neuromarketing is used today in order to study companies’ usage of popular advertising tropes such as branding and product design. By analyzing the individual response to a new packaging design, businesses are able to more accurately predict which looks and styles are more appealing to the general public. When the MRI machine starts to flat line, it may be time to reconsider that hot pink comic sans label. Interactions between consumers and the environments in which they are exposed to marketing stimuli can also be examined, something that has unveiled some interesting results surrounding in-store decision-making. The effects of entertainment are also examined, displaying how people’s unconscious minds are influenced when introduced to imaginary worlds and scenarios. By collaborating at the intersections of science and business, neuromarketing is a flexible and intriguing field of study that continues to surprise and excite researchers, executives, and the general public alike.