Strategy
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# 24 What is Neuromarketing? Finding The Buy Button Inside The Brain with Patrick Renvoise
March 12, 2021
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Patrick Renvoise is the coauthor of “Neuromarketing: Understanding the buy button inside your customer’s brain”. What is neuromarketing? As Patrick explained in a TEDx talk “Neuromarketing is the science of human decision, and it’s about using neurometrics, biometrics, and psychometrics to understand our behavior.” The groundbreaking author elaborates and provides several neuromarketing examples and explains some broad frameworks. Here is a quick summary.

 

The Three-Part Brain With A Lizard In Charge

Renvoise says we can think of the brain as three separate selves. The neocortex is the rational self, the middle brain is the emotional self, and the amygdala is the reptilian brain, your instinctual self. We think of ourselves as rational, but neuroscientists know our instincts account for more of our decision-making than we realize. The reptilian brain is a million years older than the neocortex, but it is still quite spry. It’s fast, but it’s limited, focused entirely on the present, operating without our knowledge, and completely uncontrollable. 

 

Six Stimuli For The Reptilian Brain

Since the reptilian brain has a bigger impact on decision-making than people realize and is not subject to rational control, speaking to it can be a very effective way to influence people. According to Renvoise there are six stimuli that the amygdala will respond to. 

One – it perks up when it is the subject of attention. Smart advertisers know to talk about “you” and not themselves. Two – it responds to contrast. Before and after. A child’s bone and an elephant show visual contrast and illustrate the concept of building strong bones with calcium supplements. Third – it responds to tangible things. Words are not so effective so you need simple images, like the gleam on Mr Clean’s bald head. Fourth – it responds to beginning and end and tends to forget everything in the middle. Fifth, it responds to visual stimuli very strongly. The sixth stimulus for the amygdala is emotional. 

 

Neuromarketing Examples

Renvoise relates several examples of successful efforts to influence people and change behavior with neuromarketing. Perhaps you have heard about Amsterdam’s solution to the problem of errant micturition? AIrport managers printed a fly in the middle of the urinal and gentlemen’s lizard brains automatically took over, focusing with laser precision on the fly significantly reducing the bathroom attendant’s workload.  To reduce speeding in an area with a high accident rate, authorities painted bars across the road that are closer and closer together as the road approaches the dangerous turn. The visual stimuli trick the lizard brain into automatically slowing down without the conscious mind, which was perfectly capable of stubbornly disregarding warning signs, gets involved. To convince consumers to decrease energy use, they showed them the average consumption and the instinct to conform socially led people to conserve. When the electric utility rewarded conservation with a simple smiley face in addition to the lower bill, results were even better. 

 

Four Steps For Neuromarketing Success

Renvoise breaks down the process of neuromarketing into four steps. First, you have to diagnose their pain at the instinctual level – their subconscious pains and fears. Then, you need to activate that contrast stimulus and differentiate yourself. Renvoise says “You have to look like the only red apple among blue apples.” Then you have to demonstrate the gains; show how you are going to take away that deep pain. Finally, you have to deliver to the reptilian brain. Make sure your communication efforts work on those six core stimuli.