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Marketing 101: Neuromarketing

What our brains can tell us about marketing,

A wooden cutout of a human head where it says neuromarketing where the brain would be

Scratching the Surface of Consumer Neuroscience

What forms of advertising work best? Do colors and patterns affect the human brain’s ability to pay attention to something? How do we know?

Consumer neuroscience is a field that looks into what forms of marketing work best to capture the target consumer’s attention. Through their research, we can pick up new tools or perfect the ones we have in order to best attract that ideal client.

Join Jen Long (MCLC), Jerome LeDuff (MCPC), Lisa Finck (PCC) Anthony Lopez (MCPC), and Brooke Adair Walters (ACC) as they address neuromarketing and the importance of being authentic when searching for clients.

What is Neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing can be thought of as a field of study where people try to figure out how our brains respond to advertising and marketing. Consumer neuroscience has been and continues to be a topic of research and neuromarketing in many ways is interchangeable. So what might consumer neuroscience be broken down to? The Harvard Business Review (HBR) explains that this field “studies the brain to predict and potentially even manipulate consumer behavior and decision-making.”

HBR breaks the definition down to this:

Neuromarketing’ loosely refers to the measurement of physiological and neural signals to gain insight into customers’ motivations, preferences, and decisions, which can help inform creative advertising, product development, pricing, and other marketing areas.

In research, this can be done through laboratory means, such as measuring eye movements and observing EEGs. Researchers can see which forms of advertisements draw the most focus or brain activity. As for why anyone studies this to start with, it comes down to the basis of attention.

Can I Have Your Attention?

A recent article in Psychology Today dives into what marketers have to focus on most: attention.

This is broken down further into two categories: endogenous and exogenous attention. Endogenous attention relates to very conscious goals. You have something in mind, and you will make yourself focus and pay attention to what is related to that goal. In contrast, exogenous attention is far more subconscious. It occurs without forethought and choice.

The above article offers this imagery: “What if, in the store, you find yourself being drawn in to say free samples, flashy lights, or catchy packaging? Your attention now is being driven exogenously.”

And perhaps to no surprise after that scenario, it is exogenous attention that plays into marketing best. This may seem like common sense, but marketing is a well researched field. With roots in propaganda and consumerism, neuroscience is complimented by years of trial and error in advertisement.

Target Audiences, Target Responses

A dart board with green and red darts sticking out of it

Your target audience may respond better to different aspects of marketing and advertising, such as one font while paying little attention to another that is more difficult to read. Simple fonts could earn more focus from potential consumers. Smiles captivate us all.

As well, the ‘halo effect’ has us more prone to trusting and expending our time to the marketing offers of those we perceive as attractive. Flashing arrows on a website might draw one group towards clicking a button, while pushing another group in the same population away.

The relationship between color and attention is continuously studied, with color theory poised to fight against a minimized effect on attention found by many studies. Despite this conclusion, for the most part it has been reasonably noted that: full color holds someone’s attention better than black and white, and warmer colors (such as red) will earn more attention and cognitive arousal.

All of this and more is continuously studied in the field of consumer neuroscience to this day. When does that research start to directly play into marketing? HBR gives the example of segmentation as an area where neuroscience could be used for neuromarketing purposes. It could be useful for studying which groups in a population are the most responsive to a specific type of advertising or the brand being marketed.

For life coaching, who would that be? What population does your ideal client belong in? Who do you hope to pull the attention of? You may know the answer to those two questions, but do you know how different populations might respond to marketing? Do you know which ways that the population your ideal client is in might respond that other populations wouldn’t be so responsive towards?

Selling Your brand

Neuromarketing refers mostly to a field of research, but any one of us can keep up with what new findings these neuroscientists discover. We can implement what’s learned into our own advertising. But the most important part of marketing isn’t what cool gimmick neuromarketers say will work or what color we make our website. It is to make your message clear and to be authentic above all else.

A good rule of thumb in marketing is to not be overcomplicated. Neuromarketers believe some simple fonts to be superior to extravagant ones. If you are offering remote services, show in your ads that your microphone and camera are clear and easy to see and hear you through. But most of all, remember that you are selling your own brand identity.

Some life coaches out there are uneasy about marketing. It’s manipulation, after all- isn’t it? And they’re not wrong. But marketing isn’t evil. Whether marketing is trying to manipulate human attention or not, it does not have to be harassment and should most definitely not be inauthentic.

Marketing is a necessity to finding clients for your business, and it’s a critical piece of clients finding you and the benefits your services offer them. So be willing to sell yourself with the best tools possible. Keeping an eye on neuromarketing findings can help supply ideas for those tools!


Thank you,

Jen Long (MCLC), Jerome LeDuff (MCPC), Lisa Finck (PCC) Anthony Lopez (MCPC), and Brooke Adair Walters (ACC)!

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