3 Ways You Can Benefit from Neuromarketing

by Stephanie Taylor Christensen on February 28, 2012
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“Neuromarketing” has become a hot buzzword in marketing circles, but as intimidating as the practice may sound, it’s actually quite simple: It essentially lets businesses translate a handful of scientific discoveries — such as how certain stimuli (scent, sight, sound, texture, messages, etc.) prompt the brain to take desired actions — into favorable and lasting marketing tactics.

Although direct research into neuromarketing has been mostly undertaken by companies with multimillion-dollar R&D budgets, small businesses can replicate the science behind effective neuromarketing campaigns with little investment at all.

Here are three ways you can use neuromarketing to benefit your business.

  1. “Smell” them who you are. If you were blindfolded and led into an Aveda-affiliated salon, a Starbucks, or even an airplane, you could probably identify your location based purely on scent. This is the idea behind “scent marketing,” a neuromarketing tactic that major corporations are integrating into storefronts and other facilities to deepen customers’ association with (and memory of) a brand and place. Bloomingdale’s releases a baby-powder aroma into the air of its infant department, coconut scents in its swimwear section, and a freshly baked cookie smell in its holiday store. Celebration Health, a Florida hospital, integrated sounds and smells of the ocean into its MRI department to ease patients’ fears and to reduce cancellations, according to the scent provider, ScentAir. Small businesses can use the same strategy and “invent” their own brand’s scent through the clever use of aromatic candles and plug-in air fresheners. Think about what aroma will enhance customers’ experience and their association with your brand. For example, scents of lavender in a waiting room can promote relaxation, leather and wood smells communicate a solid and traditional brand, and vanilla scents promote a nurturing vibe.
  2. The eyes have it. Although an estimated 42 percent of marketing materials feature a company logo in the lower right-hand corner, eye-tracking studies suggest that this is the worst place to put your brand identity, says facial coding expert Dan Hill. His research indicates that the best logo position is the lower middle part of the page. The logic: Because the consumer has already engaged emotionally with the opening pitch of the ad, this placement leads them to associate of your brand as one that can fulfill a void or a need.
  3. Put time on your side. Columbia University researcher Jonathan Levav led a study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which revealed that mental fatigue plays a role in decision-making. The study found that judges at parole hearings tended to slip into the easier decision of denying parole when they were tired or hungry. Small-business owners can apply this insight to sales calls, based on their relationship with a particular vendor. If you’re an existing provider, prime sales time for “maintenance-related” business may be when that decision-maker is tired or hungry, such as at the end of the day or right before lunch. However, if you’re building new relationships or discussing new prices, products, and processes that require real thought from the customer or prospect, meet at a time when you know that person is mentally “fresh,” such as early in the morning or shortly after returning from a break.

Stephanie Christensen is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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