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What is Neuromarketing


Understanding customers's behaviour is crucial for every business. And yet, the methodology used to understand what motivates and unites consumers in the first place reveals itself to be ineffective. Here, neuromarketing comes into play.

Neuromarketing helps understand what consumers want, what motivates them, what drives their decisional process and which emotions they feel. In particular, understanding the decisional process helps understand consumers who were driven in the first place towards a specific market and consequently what changes in their perspectives. 

The brain is by far the most complex organ of the body. Thoughts, behaviours and moods are concentrated there, but what do we exactly know about the nature of thoughts? Thoughts can be unconscious or generated rationally. However, according to science, 90% of our daily decisions are not rationally generated. Our emotions make decisions for us, and all our conscious mind does is justify the reasons.

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Roger Dooley, scholar and author of numerous international books centred on neuromarketing, provides an exhaustive definition, explaining that neuromarketing is

'the application of neuroscience and cognitive science to marketing. This can include market research that seeks to uncover customer needs, motivations and preferences that traditional methods such as surveys and focus groups cannot reveal. Neuromarketing may include the evaluation of advertising marketing, packaging, content etc. to understand more accurately how consumers react on a non-conscious level. It can include applying knowledge gained from neuroscience and cognitive science research to make marketing more effective without testing specific ads or other materials'.

Traditional marketing research (marketing tradizionale in the image below) depends on tools like focus groups, surveys, or interviews, all of which tell us explicitly people's answers, revealing, however, an extremely limited nature as one never really comes to understand the deep reasons behind certain affirmations regarding choices made. In short, our rational choices are just the tip of the iceberg.

Scientific studies have shown that over 90% of our decision-making processes are unconscious. If traditional marketing understands the tip of the iceberg, neuromarketing understands the whole ensemble.

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A concrete example illustrating consumer complexities:

Since the '70s Pepsi has launched the so-called Pepsi challenge: people are asked to drink Pepsi and Coca Cola in two ways: an anonimous one where the brand is not shown and another one where the brand is visible. Everytime people were asked to drink these drinks without knowing which one they were exactly drinking, they prefered Pepsi. When they were shown the brand, they chose Coca Cola.

This results shows two points:

  1. the Coca Cola brand is so strong that people want to be associated with it.
  2. what people say and think doen't always match.

Nowadays, many of the tools used by consumers in neuroscience are of a behavioural nature, like facial coding, eye tracking, and implicit texts. In this context, it is also common to measure biometric data like heart rate and galvanic skin response. None of these activities directly measure brain or neural activity. Some scientists also include cognitive science: neuroscience, psychology, behavioural science, etc.


New marketers want to understand and predict clients's behaviour. Clients often cannot or don't want to accurately describe their preferences or explain how they make decisions, and marketers need to understand unconscious thought. Neuromarketing helps reach this understanding, for example, by determining whether a product activates areas associated with pleasure, rewards, familiarity, and other aspects of the consumer experience. 

The obtained data is therefore applicable to numerous contexts: content marketing, ux/ui design, social media marketing, advertising, PPC, SEO, and video. 

What do you think of neuromarketing? Do you believe it to be a vital tool, or do you stand up for those considering it to be too invasive? Let us know by leaving us a comment or by contacting us!