Thursday, 2 April 2009


When you enter a large format retail store and you had already made up your mind on what you wanted to buy — casual shirt and a jeans, all Pepe. But when you walk out, your shopping bag did not have any of them from your preferred brand. Instead you had picked up a rather lesser-known brand Rig, without any salesperson pushing it down her throat. Why? May be you found the range of Rig attractive in the key parameters of colours, finish and design. 

But how do companies ensure that consumers prefer them over the rest during that vital moment of truth, when the consumer is at the store within picking distance of their brand, or for that matter, their competitor’s. There are enough and more cases to highlight the fact that consumers walk the other way at the very last minute, leaving their preferred brand out in the cold.

Did your brain pick up signals from a hyperactive competitor at the point of sale? Did the mind play tricks, or did it take a short cut in the purchase decision process? Neuromarketing is  the new, advanced, marketing technique used to find out the answer of all these questions.

Neuromarketing  is the field of marketing in which researchers studies consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging(FMRI) to measure changes in activity in parts of the brain,electroencephalography (EEG) to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and/or sensors to measure changes in one's physiological state (heart rate, respiratory rate,galvanic skin response) to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it.

When consumers avoid the brand in question, a Neuromarketer could conduct an fMRI analysis to understand which areas of the brain actually influence such aversive behaviour. Or it can identify certain genetic codes that separate the risk takers from the conservatives and help companies design campaigns that trigger the risk takers to take action and prefer their brand over the competition.

In one early neuromarketing study, Read Montague, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study what he called "the Pepsi Paradox." The study was inspired by a series of TV commercials from the 70's and 80's where people were asked to take "the Pepsi Challenge." In the commercials' blind taste test, Pepsi was usually the winner. In Dr. Montague's study, subjects were fairly evenly divided between Pepsi and Coke; however, when the subjects knew what they were drinking, 75% said they preferred Coke. Montague saw activity in the prefrontal cortex, indicating higher thought processes, and concluded that Pepsi should have half the market share, but in reality consumers are buying Coke for reasons related less to their taste preferences and more to their experience with the Coke brand.

The science of Neuromarketing is also being used to track which is the best possible marketing channel strategy, how consumers react to different pack sizes and price points at various points, which distribution strategy works better in triggering the positive response, which distribution mechanism sends confusing codes to the brain and so on. The same consumer may buy your product at one retail point, but choose your competitor at another retail destination. This can happen despite the space allocated to your brand remaining the same. That’s because different retail chains can have a different influence on the perception and evaluation of the product, different retail chains can trigger different stimuli among consumers.

Other factors that influence the decision making process include the brain retrieving the episodic memory, past experience with the brand, sensory memory (memory that is stimulated through the senses) and so on. Analysis by neuromarketers help in establishing which parts of the brain show the maximum activity while selecting or rejecting a brand. These findings help marketers find out what are the influencing factors behind consumer susceptibility and helps in positioning the product in such a manner that it results in developing a judgement bias in favour of the product and also develop even the right product and price strategy for the entire portfolio of offerings. 

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Navankur said...

hey ....
i liked it ..
keep it up

Nik said...

Thankss .. :)

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