The term ‘neuromarketing’ implies that marketers benefit the most from learning applied neuromarketing. But, neuropsychological insights reach a much wider audience than only marketers. Of course, as a marketer, you want to increase conversion rates and persuade customers to buy. But, professionals in other fields can enjoy principles of neuromarketing as well. From CEOs and managers to public speakers or growth hackers. Anybody who wants to achieve behavioural changes becomes more successful using neuromarketing techniques. And that’s everybody.
Remember the subconscious mind?
In an earlier blog post, you read about the two systems that Daniel Kahneman has proposed, System 1 and System 2. The subconscious System 1 forms most of our behaviour. But, models and theories on persuasion techniques intend to influence the customer’s rational mind. You may have experienced that it is not easy to change someone’s opinion or attitude or to prove your point. Kanheman’s dual-coding theory explains that making suggestions for the rational mind hardly changes someone’s behaviour. Instead, you must focus on subconscious processes and the factors that regulate these. Not only applies this to consumer behaviour, but also to societal, political, educational, and economic matters.
Before we act, our brain has already made many decisions. Different theories about the most effective and efficient persuasion tactics are developed. By doing we discovered which buttons to push to persuade someone. Conventional marketers know little about why those buttons work the way they do. Neuropsychology offers an understanding of the human’s brain and behaviour. And neuromarketing hands you the tools to improve your skills. Even though you already master the art of persuasion, applied neuromarketing teaches you why these techniques work.
Cognitive Biases behind persuasion
Cognitive biases are systematic ways of reasoning and decision-making. You can also refer to them as a sort of mental shortcuts. By ignoring irrelevant input from your surroundings, cognitive biases enable the brain to work efficiently. But, these cognitive biases can cause illogicalities in the decision-making process. Whether you are a CEO or marketer, it is beneficial to be aware of our brain’s cognitive biases. We have countless numbers of cognitive biases (currently over 200, and counting). Let’s take a look at a selection of biases that can improve your persuasion tactics the most.
The first cognitive bias which is worth a more profound explanation is loss aversion. Loss aversion is the tendency to avoid potential losses at all costs. We experience the pain of losing twice as strong as the pleasure of earning equal gains. That results in some illogical reasoning when making decisions. As a marketer, you can increase your sales by using our reluctance to losing. Well-known tactics are scarcity and urgency. These tactics emphasise the potential losses and thereby increase the desire to own a product. Managers and investors need to be aware of this cognitive bias as well. The reluctance to sell at a loss causes people to hold on to property, even though its value decreases. Because we avoid the risk of losing, loss aversion also results in poorer investments. Framing messages differently change how we perceive the option; appealing or repulsive. The emphasis on either the loss or the savings determines our behaviour.
In the human mind, concepts are not represented as absolute or permanent. We feel the urge to compare all new information immediately to what is presented to us earlier. This first piece of information, the anchor, serves as a reference point. This anchor determines how we perceive the following information. If the anchor is set high, people overestimate the value of the information presented later. If the anchor is set low, you will find opposite results. This tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information is useful to you. For example, to reduce the pain of paying. By presenting the more expensive product earlier than similar cheaper ones, you make the following products seem a good offer. The buying behaviour of your customers will increases by doing so.
Priming might remind you of the well-known example of subliminal exposure of Coca-Cola in movies. But priming appears in many different forms and can be applied ethically. Exposure to something in your surroundings subconsciously activates related concepts. These concepts are more easily accessible. That influences the decision-making process both directly and indirectly. Listening to your friend’s experiences in Italy and looking at their photo’s of the Colosseum may result in your choice to have pizza for dinner. Or a reminder that boys are more skilled in mathematics and sports affects the performance at tests or in the field. We dedicated a deep-dive to priming. It is well-known how conceptual priming of your brand or products increases sales. But managers or policymakers can utilise positive priming to improve their employees’ motivation, productivity, and workplace engagement.
When we have a choice between several options, we tend to prefer the status quo. People rather stick to what they already know and have, even though they are aware that it is not the best option. Considering alternatives and dealing with change requires cognitive energy and comes with uncertainty. And we always choose to avoid this. It is even so that what is listed as default option doesn’t influence our decisions. The default bias is a popular way for managers or policymakers to nudge their target audience towards a particular decision. You can help people to make choices that benefit themselves and society by carefully choosing the default option.
If you have ever relied on your gut-feeling when faced with complex choices, you have experienced the affect heuristic. The affect heuristic holds that how we feel determines how we think and act. We tend to choose the option which evokes an association with positive and loving emotions. If you want to guide your target audience to say ‘yes’, it helps to set a positive mood beforehand (insert priming and framing). A positive state relates to a more positive perception of potential risks and benefits as well. Overriding our emotions is a difficult thing to do, but applied neuromarketing helps you to understand the tricks to change the feelings a message evokes.
The endowment effect refers to the tendency to ascribe a higher price to products we own. Thereby, our willingness to pay for a good is lower than the price we are willing to sell the same good for. Marketers can put this bias in use by creating a sense of ownership, for example by offering giveaways and free trials, or by adding elements of personalisation. It is a powerful tool for keeping your customers loyal to your brand or services. Investor or CEOs need to be aware of this effect as well. Stockholders, for example, tend to overvalue the shares they bought once they own them.
Applied neuromarketing will help you gain a deeper understanding of (almost) all cognitive biases. Ignorance or unawareness of the cognitive biases may hurt your strategies and have adverse effects on growth. However, managers, CEO’s, marketers, or anyone else who take cognitive biases into account can turn the tables and enjoy the advantages of learning applied neuromarketing.
Have we persuaded you that acquiring neuromarketing skills benefits everyone, including you? We hope we did. However, all knowledge loses its value when you cannot apply all these insights successfully. Learning how to utilise these techniques in daily life will help you become a better marketer and persuader. It will ensure you to get what you want, whether you carry out an organisational change in your working environment, design the most effective growth strategies for your company, or persuade your manager to give you that promotion.
Are you intrigued? Find out more about learning applied neuromarketing in our 1-Day Crash Course.