The term Neuromarketing is becoming more and more fashionable and it is doing so with all reason, because its foundations are scientific and it is discovering unsuspected truths of human behaviour of enormous usefulness for the business world. However, this concept should be defined and, in that sense, we can consider it as a specialized type of market research that uses peripheral and central psychophysiological measurements (brain activity, cardiac rhythm, magnetoencephalography, electromyography, magnetic resonance, skin galvanic response, etc.) of the subjects studied to obtain conclusions.
It is also an advanced discipline, whose function is to investigate brain processes that explain the behavior and decision-making of people in the fields of traditional marketing action (market intelligence, product and service design, communications, pricing, branding, positioning, targeting, channels and sales). In this sense, Neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have investigated in recent decades the fundamental role that emotions and unconscious brain mechanisms play in decision-making. However, most conventional research continues to rely on what respondents say they do, say they think or say they feel. Neuromarketing is able to directly obtain neurophysiological responses from the interviewees, without any verbalization or written expression, making it practically the only methodology that can obtain reliable answers.
In any case, this is a field in continuous expansion and where numerous studies are emerging, but for the realization of this article, I have based myself on bibliographic sources of the most renowned researchers and authors such as Daniel Kahneman, Susan Greenfield, Steven Pinker, Gemma Calvert, Richard Silverstein or Martin Lindstrom, from which I have drawn numerous conclusions of application to the Sport Marketing Consulting sector that later I have drawn numerous conclusions.
One of the most striking conclusions is that it is estimated that humans make 85% of their decisions subconsciously. In fact, purchase decisions, which involve more risk and should therefore be subject to more reflection, 50% of the time are taken unconsciously at the point of sale in less than 2.5 seconds, as a study by Gruppe Nymphemberg has shown. This phenomenon is explained by the action of the somatic markers.
Somatic markers are mostly gestated in the first 6 years of life, when our brain is less conditioned and more receptive to everything that comes to it. It is during this period of our life when the environment, education and lived experiences forge our mental structure and much of the beliefs that will condition us at subconscious level the rest of our existence. Curiously, during this period, there will be two factors that will mark us: suffering (especially in the form of fear) and pleasure. Thus, experiences with a strong component of one of these two factors will be the most important and will lead to the immense majority of automatic or subconscious decisions we make in the future being guided by the criterion of escaping pain or approaching pleasure. In this way, the brain uses “brain shortcuts” that will be enriched during our vital trajectory based on the perceptions we are getting and their emotional association. A clear example is the aromas or flavors that conquered us in our childhood and that are so pleasant to us today. We could say that the path to emotion passes through our sensory experiences.
In our sector, the clearest example is that of physical activity enthusiasts. Studies show that the vast majority of people who maintain high levels of sports physical activity after youth acquired the habit in childhood because they associated it with pleasurable and beneficial experiences. In fact, these people represent approximately 30% of sports facility users and are intrinsically motivated individuals and therefore do not need to be motivated to train, but they do respond positively to gym promotions when well designed.
However, the remaining 70% are extrinsically motivated and require a completely different treatment for recruitment and retention in sports centres. In fact, these extrinsically motivated individuals are much more volatile when it comes to making decisions about exercise and are often external events, such as the arrival of summer or the couple’s abandonment, which trigger the desire to improve their physical appearance and, therefore, the need to do sport.
In this sense, it has been proven that the anxiety generated by these processes induces higher secretions of Dopamine. Much more consumerist behaviors have also been identified when this hormone is being used. Hence, the importance of having sales techniques that know how to identify when the potential customer is “Hot” and take advantage of their impulsiveness to close the sale immediately, without waiting for it to cool (something that can be as fast as the time it takes to check any unexpected charges in your bank account).
Having this knowledge also allows us to develop techniques that induce these altered states of Dopamine, such as sales interviews that affect the so-called “Pain Point” and greatly facilitate the closing of sales. This form of manipulation could be subject to ethical considerations, but the reader will agree with me that if the purpose is clearly positive and oriented towards improving the health of the prospect, it can be as legitimate as that which a parent exercises in educating his children or a doctor to improve the habits of his patients. In this case, once again, the problem is not the tool, but for what and how it is used.
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Also, You can read the second part here