Finding out what consumers buy every day, both online and in the real world, has been fairly easy for marketers lately. However, what they’ve really been after, for many years now, is finding out why they buy. Thus, the field of neuromarketing was born and is now beginning to take flight. The field uses the tools of neuroscience to determine why we prefer some products over others and even how we feel about it afterward.
Let’s face it — consumers are often motivated by what makes them feel good, and that's particularly true when it comes to buying things. So it’s no surprise that marketers have begun taking a keen interest in how gaining a deeper understanding of the human brain can in turn help them gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior — before purchase, during purchase and even after purchase.
“Our brains operate at both unconscious and conscious levels. Many consumer responses that are important to brand choices and behavior occur before or without conscious attention,” began neuromarketing pioneer and author of several books on the subject, Steve Genco. “So marketers need to understand two things: One, attention is not the first thing that happens in people's brains when they encounter marketing or advertising, and two, attention is not necessary for people to be influenced, positively and negatively, by marketing.”
What Genco and many other experts in the neuromarketing field have discovered is that one of the most important unconscious processes the human brain performs is filtering out distractions in our environment that are not relevant to our current tasks and goals. People generally have a limited capacity for attention, so when they are surrounded by marketing messages, all clamoring for their attention, it's overwhelming and they tend to pay conscious attention to none of them. Genco further explained that what neuromarketing studies are finding out is that much of what the marketing world thought they knew has been wrong.
“Most marketers assume that if people don't pay attention to their marketing, it's a missed opportunity but has no costs. For example, online advertisers don't worry that over 99 percent of the people who see their ads don't click on them. They may even think that's ok because of the unconscious ‘mere exposure effect,’ which says that when people see something repeatedly, they tend to like it more,” Genco added. “But there is another unconscious effect that most marketers don't know about called ‘distractor devaluation.’ Quite a bit of research in the neuromarketing field has now confirmed that when we filter out distractions, like ads we're not interested in, we tend afterwards to dislike everything about them a little bit more, including the product or brand being advertised. So striving for attention and failing to achieve it does come at a cost, one that marketers may not be aware of.”
The subject of neuromarketing is just one of many interesting topics sure to create a buzz at LeadsCon New York 2015.
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