The Brain Bone’s Attached to the Wallet Bone


Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series.

Looking at your brain, neuromarketers can predict how you’ll respond to advertising. While it may sound like mind reading, this relatively new, somewhat controversial field of research uses MRI scans and other technology to measure brain activity when consumers are exposed to products, brands and advertising.

This tool can help marketers fine-tune marketing campaigns, strengthen brands and design better products.

To benefit from this research it’s important to first understand that the “old brain” houses your most basic survival impulses and resists change. Your “middle brain” connects emotionally with the world. It’s your “new brain” or the neocortex where you process information logically. Unfortunately, the old-brain, middle-brain tag-team is more powerful than the neocortex. So, typically we base buying decisions on survival or emotion. Then the new brain scrambles to logically justify these decisions.

While neuromarketing may sound futuristic and outside the typical business’s budget, some of its research findings can help even small business owners better connect with prospects and customers and edge out the competition.

The old brain makes decisions on the basis of gain vs. tradeoff. In other words, your prospects want to know if your product or service can add joy to their lives. So make the buying process enjoyable.

They are also gauging how switching to your firm might cause them pain. The higher the financial investment, the more your prospect is concerned about pain. Consider breaking your purchase into bite-size investments to reduce fear.

Your old brain is visual and responds quickly to images. Be thoughtful about your product’s design and packaging, as well as images used in marketing. Tell your story first visually and then add supporting copy with vivid sensory descriptions.

Leverage all five senses. Consider a paper stock with an unusual feel for your business card or mailer, or a signature scent for your retail store. Incorporate more audio and video into your marketing.

The middle brain remembers beginnings and endings. So, on a sales call make sure your opening and closing impressions create happy feelings that connect emotionally with your prospect.

The subconscious part of the brain wants to have what others have. Remember how ugly you thought Uggs were until everyone had a pair? Instead of you telling your customers why you’re great, have current customers tell your story for you, explaining the rewards and joy of using your product or working with your team. The old and middle brains will respond.

Neuromarketing researchers have determined that consumers cling to activities that make them feel in control – the rituals. Think about having your name called at Starbucks and dropping your cup into that oh-so-familiar coffee collar. It’s comforting and familiar, isn’t it?

What kind of ritual can you create for your business? Is it a signature treat for guests or a handwritten thank you card after every customer interaction? If your sales are flat, avoid the blame game and try playing the brain game. You may be surprised by the results.

Lori Turner is managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, You can follow RedRover on Facebook and Twitter.