Does this situation sound familiar? You're shopping for something online and you've found it on several online merchants' sites. The cheapest two options are from companies you've never heard of. Amazon.com is selling your desired good for a few bucks more. Something tells you to bite the bullet, pay the premium and order from Amazon.com. Chances are, that "something" is a subconscious area of your brain making decisions without your conscious knowledge. It's also a cornerstone of Neuromarketing, and today's post features three thoughts to consider on neuromarketing and your blog or website.
Neuromarketing is an emerging science that measures the physical effects of marketing on different parts of the brain. Each section of the brain is used for something different - motor skills, rational thought, feelings - everything has its own purpose . Neuroscientists use high-tech equipment to understand the relationships between exposing consumers to marketing stimuli and the resulting changes in blood flow and chemicals to the different parts of the brain. Clearly understanding these effects are in the best interest of any company hoping to be effective with neuromarketing.
I've been a fan of neuromarketing for some time now - my most recent post on the topic was on web design and layout back in January. Recently, I purchased the book Buyology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, by Martin Lindstrom. Lindstrom, a neuroscientist and author, shares case study after neuromarketing tidbit after brain physiology fact in this quick read. After reading a good chunk, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how neuromarketing might be able to help your blog or website.
Neuromarketing Blog/Website Thought #1: Brands have profound impacts on our purchasing decisions. One of Lindstrom's case studies involves a follow-up to the famous Pepsi Challenge, a marketing campaign in which Pepsi conducted a double-blind scientific experiment/taste test against Coke. In the campaign's results, Pepsi was chosen slightly more than half the time over Coke. Lindstrom's case study first mirrored the conditions of the original test, which produced the same results. Then, participants took the challenge again, but this time they were informed which drink was which prior to testing. Participants in the second condition chose Coke about three quarters of the time over Pepsi.
The brain-monitoring equipment used in the study showed all sorts of brain activity differences between the two conditions, suggesting that our brains respond differently in purchasing decisions that involve brands, even when there is perceived/actual difference in quality (or price, from the Amazon example). It's clear how having a strong and consistent brand can help your blog or website immensely.
Neuromarketing Blog/Website Thought #2: Your brand is much bigger than your logo. In another study, Lindstrom described an experiment in which participants - all smokers - were shown two distinct conditions of imagery. The first condition involved images of people smoking, the Marlboro logo, other Marlboro branding, etc. Participants reacted as expected, with their tobacco-craving sections of their brain firing off signals loud and clear. In the second condition, the participants were only shown things that invoked the brand, but didn't explicitly mention smoking or Marlboro: a cowboy, a Marlboro-red Ferrari, a desert sunset. In this condition, participants' tobacco cravings flared up even more than when the Marlboro-specific imagery was shown.
Logos, advertising and branding all trigger special filters in our brain that say, "Hey, you may not want to believe this fully because someone was paid to write it in order to get you to buy it." The second condition from Lindstrom's case study didn't involve the brand, but rather the feelings, thoughts, and experiences most closely associated with the brand and was thus able to avoid the "advertising" filter while triggering the desired behavior from the participants.
How does this translate to your blog or website? One of the first tips for bloggers is to avoid being overly commercial within their blogs. Instead, they're encouraged to be helpful and demonstrate knowledge. It's a great way to begin to allow your potential customers to learn about your brand without immediately putting up the "advertising" filter.
Neuromarketing Blog/Website Thought #3: The power of mirror neurons. At the center of many nueromarketing reactions is the mirror neuron. Think of these guys as our brains' most primal form of empathy. Mirror neurons fire when we see others yawn, prompting us to yawn too. Mirror neurons make us want to dress like the cool kids at school. Mirror neurons make us emulate our idols.
They also make us buy stuff. Lindstrom points out that when you get an impulse to buy those new jeans or iPhone, it's our mirror neurons firing up. Buy this and your social status will match that of the cool people.
If you have a blog or website, use this neuromarketing fundamental to your advantage. Know what "cool" is to your target demographic and be sure to convey how using your product or service will help others get there too.
I'm nearly finished with Buyology, which is a super quick read and packed with much more information and case studies on neuromarketing. I'd encourage you to pick up a copy yourself. What are your reactions to neuromarketing? Does it seem like something you could use for your blog or website? Are there ethical implications with this type of marketing? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.