Neuromarketing: Understanding The Consumer’s Brain


Neuromarketing is the formal study which forms the viaduct between the area of marketing, science and psychology. It studies neural signals without directly asking people about preferences, motivation, emotions, decisions when they are exposed to advertisements or brands. The fundamental quarry of market research is directed towards how customer think, feel and behave. Neuromarketing directly serves with resolving this question in the most precise, objective and scientific way. The majority of marketers as well as companies use neuroscience in different ways to understand consumer’s preferences on emotional level from media and advertising, to FMCG product and retail, to even the automobile, finance and VR industry.


  • Neuromarketing suggests new approaches as to how marketers should be conducting research, developing marketing strategies and executing them in the market.
  • To understand the recent developments in the field of consumer neuroscience.

Methods used in neuromarketing

Researchers use various types of neuroscience methods such as (fMRI) functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the brain activities in response to message that needs to be carried via advertisements. fMRI uses magnetic fields to track the blood flow across the brain and EEG reads brain cell using sensors which is placed on the subject’s scalp.

Apart from this they also use physiological methods and techniques to check neural activities such as eye tracking which measures the attention of an individual, arousal (via pupil dilation), facial expression coding, assessing the heart rate, respiratory rate, physiological tracking and many other proxies.

This allows us to conduct research in real life scenarios which prove to be more accurate of understanding consumer behaviour, whether it is the colour of the packaging, the sound generated by the box when it is shaken, or the idea that they will have something their co-consumers do not.

Research conducted using neuroscience

Neuromarketing which is being studied since past two decades, an example of this is Coca- Cola and Pepsi where the subjects were served both at the same time and observed under fMRI. When the volunteers were unaware of the fact that which beverage they are consuming, seeing Coca- cola as the brand their limbic structures (brain areas associated with memories, emotions, and unconscious processing) were activated, fMRI measured in the favor of coke based on emotional connection or nostalgia. People like the taste of Pepsi but they are more inclined towards coke. This shows the interesting aspect of the study that coke was preferred and is influenced by the brand image rather than its taste. For maintaining the brand loyalty memory and emotions plays a vital role.

Similarly a study, proposed that rounded prices (e.g. Rs. 200.00) lead to a subjective experience of “feeling right” when their purchase decision is driven by feelings. Non-rounded prices (e.g. Rs.199.00) felt better when the purchase decision was driven by a logical evaluation.

Cons of neuromarketing

No doubt the eye tracking and facial coding can help the marketers to come up with the most creative content for their advertisements, still they need to go long way as it is not only expensive but requires well equipment’s and professional skills which is usually beyond the reach of most of the companies. Lack of privacy as the individual is not insured from leakage of data and some people think that it is getting inside in the brain of the customer but in reality neuromarketing use to do what a psychologist does.

Neuromarketing is supposed to stay and evolve just like humans and even brands do. Ethical issues will continue to be the matter of apprehension but standards have been marked to make sure that neuroresearch is conducted with due respect and transparency. Neuromarketing helps to convince people towards creating awareness as words don’t work, pictures do, reason being it’s a reptilian brain thing. There are numerous tried and proven techniques for neuromarketing, but not all of them are going to satisfy your needs as a marketer therefore it is essential to listen first and then take action accordingly.

Shriya Tripathi

Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce and Management, Kalinga University

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