What is neuromarketing?

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Deel de kennis:

What is neuromarketing?

Have you ever wondered why certain marketing campaigns and advertisements make a lasting impression? It’s no coincidence that successful advertisements include elements such as vivid imagery, catchy music, and strategic timing. Neuromarketing employs neuroscience research to identify which strategies activate the pleasure centers of our brain and compel viewers to take action.

In an era when consumer attention spans are shorter than ever, businesses constantly seek innovative ways to captivate and engage their target audience. Enter neuromarketing, a field that merges neuroscience with marketing to delve into the depths of consumer behavior and decision-making processes.

By understanding how the brain responds to various marketing stimuli, companies can craft campaigns that resonate on a deeper, more emotional level, ultimately driving action and fostering brand loyalty.

History of Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing emerged in the late ’90s, grabbing everyone’s attention as the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and marketing. The early pioneers, a mix of curious academics and forward-thinking marketers, were driven by one compelling question: what really goes on inside consumers’ minds?

As the years rolled on, the intrigue hit a fever pitch. In 2004, an international conference lit up Houston, Texas, putting neuromarketing on the map and capturing the corporate world’s imagination.

Then, in 2010, a watershed moment: researchers unveiled a study using fMRI scans to explore how our brains respond to marketing stimuli. The game had changed; neuromarketing had moved from an exciting theory to a scientific pursuit with groundbreaking insights.

But success is rarely without its bumps. As the field soared in popularity, it was in the crosshairs of ethical debates. Critics emerged, questioning the morality of peering into human brains to tweak buying behaviors. Was it invasive? Manipulative? The backlash was potent enough to send ripples through the community, forcing researchers and professionals to do some soul-searching.

By the time 2015 rolled around, established firms like Nielsen and Millward Brown had thrown their hats into the neuromarketing ring, but not without adopting stringent ethical guidelines aimed at responsible research.

Fast-forward to today, neuromarketing is a continually evolving juggernaut. With a presence in 93 countries and thousands of professionals, the Neuromarketing Business and Science Association has set international standards for this high-stakes game of understanding consumer behavior.

Ethical concerns still spark lively debates, but the field is more committed than ever to growing responsibly. Digital landscapes like social media are the new frontier, even as researchers grapple with challenges like costly equipment and public hesitancy.

Through it all, one thing is clear: neuromarketing has not only carved out its unique space in the consumer research world but continues redefining how we understand human decision-making. 


The Science Behind Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing relies on cutting-edge technology such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) to observe the brain’s activity in response to marketing stimuli. These tools offer unparalleled insights into consumers’ subconscious preferences and aversions, allowing marketers to refine their strategies with precision.

One of the core principles of neuromarketing is the concept of “decision simplicity.” In a cluttered marketplace, consumers are often overwhelmed by choices.

Neuromarketing studies have shown that simplifying these choices can significantly enhance customer engagement and conversion rates. This approach is grounded in our neurological desire for ease and efficiency in decision-making—a preference deeply embedded within our cognitive architecture.

Emotions play a pivotal role in shaping our attitudes towards brands and products. Neuromarketing taps into this by identifying which emotional triggers are most effective in eliciting desired responses from consumers.

For instance, certain colors can evoke specific feelings; blue might instill a sense of trust and security, while red could incite excitement or urgency. By applying these insights, brands can design their visual identity to align with their desired brand image and customer experience.

Moreover, storytelling is another powerful tool analyzed through neuromarketing lenses. A compelling narrative engages and creates an emotional bond between the brand and its audience. Through neuroimaging techniques, marketers can gauge the emotional impact of their stories and fine-tune them for maximum resonance.


Benefits of Neuromarketing

1. Deeper Understanding: Neuromarketing goes beyond traditional market research methods by offering a deeper understanding of consumer preferences and decision-making processes. By analyzing facial expressions, heart rate variability, and other physiological indicators, businesses can gain insights into consumers’ subconscious responses to marketing stimuli. This knowledge helps marketers uncover hidden motivations and preferences that may not be easily articulated through traditional surveys or interviews.

2. Enhanced Creativity: The insights provided by neuromarketing can fuel creative advertising and marketing campaigns. By understanding how the brain responds to different stimuli, marketers can design creative concepts that captivate audiences on an emotional level. Whether using compelling visuals, evocative storytelling techniques, or sensory experiences, neuromarketing empowers brands to create memorable and impactful campaigns that stand out.

3. Improved Customer Satisfaction: Neuromarketing enables businesses to optimize their products or services based on customers’ neurological preferences. By studying brain responses to different features or packaging designs, companies can tailor their offerings to align with what resonates most with consumers at a subconscious level. This focus on customer satisfaction leads to enhanced brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

4. Effective Marketing Tactics: With neuroscientific insights, marketers can craft effective marketing tactics that resonate with target audiences. For example, leveraging color psychology allows brands to choose colors that evoke specific emotions or perceptions in consumers’ minds. Understanding the emotional impact of messaging allows for more persuasive storytelling and communication strategies tailored to trigger desired customer responses.

5. Data-Driven Decision Making: Neuromarketing provides data-driven insights into consumer behavior beyond self-reported opinions or intentions gathered through traditional methods alone. Businesses can make informed decisions about product positioning, pricing strategies, advertising channels, and more by analyzing neural activity patterns associated with specific marketing stimuli.

6. Competitive Advantage: Incorporating neuromarketing into your marketing strategy gives you a competitive edge. By understanding how consumers’ brains respond to different stimuli, you can create more targeted and effective campaigns that cut through the noise and capture attention. This advantage allows businesses to stay ahead of competitors by creating unique and compelling experiences for their target audience.


Neuromarketing Strategies

1. Emotionally-Driven Storytelling: Craft compelling narratives that tap into customers’ emotions by incorporating relatable characters, engaging plotlines, and authentic storytelling techniques in your marketing content. You can create a profound and lasting impact on the audience’s neural responses by triggering emotional connections. Use storytelling to elicit specific emotional reactions that align with your brand values and messaging.

2. Color Psychology: Utilize the power of colors to evoke specific emotional responses in your target audience. Warm colors like red and orange can create a sense of urgency or excitement, making them ideal for limited-time offers or promotions. Cool colors like blue and green promote calmness, trust, and wellness—perfect for health or relaxation industry brands. Aligning your brand’s color palette with the desired emotional impact helps enhance advertising effectiveness and reinforces brand identity.

3. Facial Expression Analysis: Facial expression analysis is a valuable technique within neuromarketing to gauge consumers’ emotional reactions to your marketing materials. Facial coding software, such as eye-tracking tools, allows you to identify micro-expressions associated with positive or negative emotions such as joy, surprise, disgust, or frustration. Additionally, pupil dilation is another important indicator of arousal levels and cognitive processing intensity during emotional experiences. By understanding how different visuals or messages trigger specific facial expressions and pupil dilation patterns, you can refine your messaging and design elements accordingly for maximum impact.

4. Respiration Rate Analysis: Pay attention to customers’ respiration rates as an additional indicator of their physiological response to marketing stimuli. Changes in respiration rate can reflect shifts in emotional states or levels of engagement. By monitoring respiration rates alongside other physiological measures, businesses can gain deeper insights into the impact of their marketing efforts and better understand how customers respond to specific messages or experiences.

5. Heart Rate Monitoring: Track customers’ heart rate variability during interactions with your brand to measure their level of engagement or excitement. Increased heart rate often indicates heightened interest or arousal towards certain stimuli such as advertisements or product experiences. By monitoring heart rate changes using wearable devices or specialized tools during focus groups or user testing sessions, businesses can gather valuable data on which marketing efforts are most engaging for consumers.

6. Personalized Marketing Experiences: Leveraging neuromarketing insights allows brands to deliver personalized experiences explicitly tailored to individual customer preferences at a neurological level. Businesses can create customized marketing messages, product recommendations, or user interfaces that align with customers’ neural preferences using data on consumer preferences and responses. This level of personalization enhances customer satisfaction and drives engagement.

7. Multisensory Marketing: Engage multiple senses to create a more immersive and memorable brand experience. Incorporate sensory elements such as sound, scent, or tactile stimuli into your marketing efforts to evoke emotional responses and enhance brand recall. For example, using specific background music in commercials or incorporating pleasant scents in retail environments can positively influence consumers’ emotions and perceptions of the brand.

Incorporating these neuromarketing strategies into your marketing efforts can help you gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, create emotionally resonant campaigns, and ultimately drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Neuromarketing examples


Have you ever wondered why some products seem to call your name from the store shelves? We can spill the tea on how some companies are getting seriously brainy with their marketing.

Take Frito-Lay, for instance. They were curious about why more women weren’t munching on their snacks, even though research showed women snack twice as much as men.

So, they teamed up with this ad firm, Juniper Park, and started scanning brains in fMRI scans. It turns out women process complex ads way better and feel guilt differently.

So Frito-Lay ditched the “guilt-free” angle, jazzed up their packaging with cooler, matte colors, and boom! Women started cruising down the snack aisles 1.8% more often. Plus, they raked in 195 million positive impressions in just half a year!

Then there is Alpro, the Belgian brand of plant-based milk. They also went the neuroscience route, hooking up with Alpha One experts to optimize their packaging. Using eye-tracking tech, they discovered that a fresh color palette and latte art on their cup boosted their brand recognition by 3.6%.

Source: Linkedin

Amazing, right? Brands like Frito-Lay and Alpro are ditching guesswork for neuroscience to reel us in. So if you find yourself hooked on a product, it’s no accident—your brain’s been wooed. Welcome to the future of marketing!

Our takeaway:
During the product development stages, it is smart to test the packaging using various neuromarketing techniques. For example, by tracking eye movements, you can discover which images and copy resonate the best with your customers’ brains, accelerating your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. 

Color Psychology

Ever wonder why your heart races when you see a red “Sale” sign? Warm colors like red and orange create a sense of urgency and excitement, which is why they’re the go-to choices for promotions and limited-time offers.

But it’s not all about revving up emotions. Cool colors like blue and green dial it back, offering a sense of calm. That’s why wellness brands love them; they’re the colors of clear skies and peaceful forests. But the real marketing magic is in color combos.

Take Coca-Cola: its signature red screams excitement and trust. Apple’s sleek white and silver? That’s their way of saying they’re the epitome of modern elegance. McDonald’s red and yellow palette is designed to make you feel hungrier, while Starbucks uses earthy tones to offer you a mini-vacation in a cup.

Source: Brandworks

Our Takeaway:

Using a specific color induces an affective response/ emotional expression in the brain. If you combine the right colors with your brand, you can boost advertising effectiveness.

Subconscious Influence

The power of functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) in assessing ad effectiveness is crystal clear, thanks to a game-changing neuromarketing study by the National Cancer Institute. It found a disconnect between what people say they like and what their brain activity reveals. It turns out our subconscious is the secret influencer behind our buying choices.

Speaking of secret influencers, have you ever wondered why ads featuring babies are so captivating? It’s all in the eyes. Thanks to a primal protective instinct, our brains are hardwired to follow a baby’s gaze. Advertisers exploit this by directing a baby’s eyes toward the product, ensuring our focus follows suit.

Source: Lovevery, the eye direction of the baby is focused on the sign me up button.

And let’s not overlook the subtle yet persuasive power of plants in advertising, particularly in the spirits industry. An herb or grain backdrop gives a bottle that “fresh from nature” allure, making us more likely to think it’s a top-quality product.

Source: Ritual Zero Proof

Last but not least, have you ever noticed the time on clocks in ads? They’re often set to 10:10, mirroring a smile. This nifty trick influences our innate preference for happiness, making us more likely to buy.

These aren’t just clever techniques; they’re sophisticated strategies that tap into our subconscious, steering our choices before we know what’s happening.

Source: Behance

Our Takeaway:

The field of neuromarketing can provide valuable insights to influence your customers unconsciously. By studying neural activity, we can uncover those predispositions stored in our reptilian brain, like protecting our younglings from danger.

Decision Fatigue

In a 1995 study by Columbia University, a grocery store jam-tasting booth became a surprising window into human behavior. On day one, 24 jam flavors were out for sampling. On day two, just six. Why? While the more extensive selection of products drew more curious tasters, the smaller selection led to more actual sales.

Why? Decision fatigue. With too many options, shoppers were likelier to walk away empty-handed, which contradicts the idea that more choices are always better.

Our Takeaway:

Big stores influence consumer decisions by overloading the brain with choices to make unhealthy food seem appealing. In other words, they supercharge your neural circuitry, so you give in to your cravings.


Scientists employed EEG technology to understand how women feel about dermatological treatments involving hyaluronic acid. What they found was intriguing: the women’s satisfaction wasn’t just about the effectiveness of the treatment itself.

Instead, the brain activity indicated that the women evaluated the aesthetic outcome. In other words, success in their eyes was closely linked to how beautiful they felt afterward, presenting a unique challenge for marketers who need to emphasize the functional aspects and the beauty benefits.

Ever wonder why SaaS companies often offer three subscription tiers? It’s all about anchoring. A high-priced premium option and a basic, budget-friendly one make the middle tier look like a golden ticket—a sweet spot between affordability and features. So the next time you’re faced with three choices, know you’re being nudged toward the middle, and it’s not by accident.

Our Takeaway:
Traditional marketing research methods often fail to capture what customers really desire. By using neuromarketing’s insights, companies can better frame their products and services to increase sales.


In this EEG study on car preferences, researchers outfitted participants with brain-monitoring equipment and exposed them to car images. The objective? To explore long-range temporal correlations in brain activity and determine whether our fondness for certain types of cars—like electric ones—might be neurally predestined.

The results were striking: not only did electric car enthusiasts show a preference, but their brain activity indicated enhanced memory and attention. For businesses in the electric car sector, this suggests reevaluating the target audience—ADHD groups, for instance, may not resonate as expected.

Source: Medium

Have you ever wondered why your friend is a die-hard Apple fan while you swear by Samsung? Dr. Jürgen Gallinat, a German neuroscientist, delved into this by studying brain reactions to both brands using fMRI scans. The data revealed that Samsung activated the brain’s rational decision-making centers, while Apple engaged in emotional and social areas. Therefore, neuromarketing is a powerful tool for pinpointing the ideal customer base for your product or service.

Lastly, let’s consider PayPal’s quest to understand payment preferences. What compels people to opt for one payment method over another? Is it the rock-solid security or the blazing-fast transactions? Their investigation showed that speed trumps all, sparking brain activity like a lit-up Christmas tree. Consequently, PayPal shifted its advertising focus to highlight rapid transactions rather than security features.

Our Takeaway:

Neural responses uncovered by FMRI machines often tell us more than the physiological responses of test groups. Using FMRI studies, we can pinpoint which features or segments we should focus on in our marketing campaigns.

Controlling Emotional States

Starbucks has mastered the art of appealing to your emotions and intellect during a single visit. Ever notice that their branded merchandise features rounded prices? This is a strategic move to make your shopping experience feel seamless and emotionally satisfying.

Conversely, the non-rounded pricing on your favorite beverages activates your logical thinking. You’re no longer just grabbing a cup of coffee; you’re making a considered choice. And since you’re already in a logical mindset, opting for that extra shot or a special flavor doesn’t just feel good—it seems downright reasonable.

Through the clever application of neuromarketing, Starbucks manages to guide your emotional and analytical decisions while you’re waiting for your morning pick-me-up.

Source: Starbucks

Moving on to memorable headlines—think of how a clever turn of phrase or a witty pun instantly captures your attention. This is no small feat; it activates your hippocampus, the brain’s memory center. Such catchy headlines don’t just increase immediate engagement; they’re also more likely to be shared, amplifying the reach of your marketing message.

And who can overlook the magnetic power of humor, best exemplified by the iconic Old Spice commercials? Lines like “Look at your man, now back to me” do more than make us laugh; they create an emotional bond with the brand. When effectively deployed, humor becomes more than memorable—it becomes a shareable, viral sensation.

Our Takeaway:

Using non-rounded prices is an effective method of changing your visitors’ emotional responses. This application of neuroscience ensures that to your customer’s brain, adding additional options, such as extra bacon for a burger, seems a rational choice instead of indulging your belly.

Let’s look at three industries to further illustrate how neuromarketing is used.


Neuromarketing in different industries

Music Streaming Industry

The music industry is getting a modern-day makeover thanks to ingenious collaborations between Steereo, Spotify, and Immersion. Imagine the future: instead of relying on traditional surveys’ unpredictable nature; these innovators are employing real-time neuroscience to gauge your emotional connection to music. Using advanced methods like monitoring heartbeats, they’ve achieved an impressive 92% accuracy rate in predicting chart-topping songs.

Yet, the innovation doesn’t end there. Spotify has recently teamed up with Neuro-Insight to dive deeper into our cognitive responses to music and advertising. Through steady-state topography (SST), they’ve been able to measure brain across 600 test subjects, unveiling that digital audio on their platform incites significantly more emotional activation and engagement than other types of media.

In an eye-opening revelation, the study found that 93% of the emotional engagement listeners had with music or podcasts also carried over to the ads that followed.

Our Takeaway:

Studies into human brain activity not only benefit companies but also bring science into marketing. Neuromarketing agencies give us data-driven evidence to explore new channels like Spotify ads.

Source: Modsquat



Understanding that packaging can make or break a sale, Philips Electronics teamed up with neuromarketing experts at Neurensics to give their ultra-light iron the perfect “look.” They dove deep into the human brain using cutting-edge fMRI scans to see how different packaging options affected consumer emotions. Guess what? People loved the right-handed packaging!

This goes back to how our brains like to “test-drive” things mentally before we buy. By tapping into this neuroscience insight, Philips saw a remarkable boost in sales, proving that neuromarketing is a game-changer in the world of consumer products

Our Takeaway:

Going beyond the traditional marketing methods of doing research helps you discover what truly drives consumer behavior when they see your product. Who would have thought that we unconsciously try out products before we buy them?

Source: Neuretics


Snack and Beverage Sector

Frito-Lay turned to cutting-edge neuromarketing science to crack the consumer pricing code in Turkey. Partnering with Neurensics and employing high-tech EEG scans, they unearthed a surprising twist: people were more upbeat about higher prices than conventional surveys suggested! This eye-opening discovery has set the stage for innovative pricing strategies and offers a new angle on market positioning.

Not to be left behind, Coca-Cola has tapped into neuromarketing to amplify its iconic brand. By orchestrating a symphony of sights and sounds that appeal to our senses, Coca-Cola has skyrocketed its global brand recognition to 94%. It’s a masterclass in how neuroscience can supercharge a brand’s appeal through sensory cues.

Our Takeaway:

Neuromarketing can provide businesses with valuable insights into how to adjust their advertising messages to fit each target marketing and set them up for long term success.


Ethical Consideration

Ethical considerations are an essential aspect of neuromarketing. As this field delves into the inner workings of the human brain, it raises important questions about privacy, consent, and manipulation.

One ethical concern is the invasion of privacy. Any study related to neuromarketing techniques often involves scanning participants’ brains to understand their responses to marketing stimuli. Obtaining informed consent from individuals before conducting any brain scans or collecting personal data is crucial. Respecting privacy rights ensures that individuals have control over how their information is used and shared.

Another ethical consideration revolves around manipulation. Neuromarketing aims to understand how the brain responds to different stimuli to influence consumer behavior. While it can be used responsibly to create engaging and relevant marketing campaigns, there is a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. Marketers must ensure they are not exploiting vulnerabilities or coercing consumers into making decisions that are against their best interests.

Transparency is key in addressing these ethical concerns. Brands should be open about using neuromarketing techniques and communicate how the collected data will be used. Providing consumers with clear information empowers them to make informed choices about whether they want to participate in studies or engage with marketing campaigns.

Additionally, it’s important for businesses and researchers in this field to adhere to established ethical guidelines set by organizations like the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMSBA). These guidelines promote responsible research practices, respect for participant rights, and transparency in reporting findings.

By upholding strong ethical standards, neuromarketers can build trust with consumers and ensure that neuroscientific insights are used ethically for positive impact rather than manipulative purposes.

In summary, ethical considerations play a vital role in guiding neuromarketing practices. Respecting privacy rights, obtaining informed consent, avoiding manipulation tactics, promoting transparency, and adhering to established guidelines help maintain integrity within this field while harnessing its potential for understanding consumer behavior on a deeper level.



Far from being just a buzzword, neuromarketing is shaking up the playbook across industries. It’s changing everything from identifying the next chart-topping song to fine-tuning the look and feel of product packaging. The science of the mind is now a cornerstone in deciphering what truly captivates consumers, shedding light on their deepest emotional drivers.

Ready to unlock the power of neuromarketing and revolutionize your marketing strategies? Join us on this journey to connect with consumers on a deeper level and shape the future of marketing. Let’s get started!


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