Americans are estimated to be exposed to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements in a given day. And the majority of these messages are getting dismissed by consumers. Businesses and brands have to navigate the marketing noise and find a way to cut through it to become top of mind with their audience. And even then, their jobs are far from over.
Contrary to former marketing understanding and research, the ultimate purchase decisions don’t lie in the conscious part of the brain. According to Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School professor,
“95 percent of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind.”
Understanding this truth can be freeing but also scary. With the subconscious parts of our minds making up the vast majority of buying decisions, how do we as companies and brands reach our target audiences there?
Let’s begin this mind-meets-marketing journey by first examining where traditional marketing has failed and how neuroscience has become the key to unlocking businesses' power, influence, and ultimate success, both in reaching and resonating with their following.
Where Has Traditional Marketing Failed?
Marketing is promoting “the buying or selling of a product or service.” It includes advertising, selling, and delivering products. It’s vital to reaching its intended audience. But marketers discovered a gap between brands, their messaging, and their consumer’s purchasing decisions.
Surprisingly, surveys have shown that consumers, when asked what they want, don’t, in fact, know. We, as customers, might tell brands and companies what decisions we make, but our actions contradict our own answers. Why is this? Because our conscious thoughts are not in the driver’s seat. Our subconscious mind is. This is where neuroscientists come into play.
Marketers and neuroscientists studying the nervous system and brain explain the why behind behaviors and decisions. And where these two professions intersect results in neuromarketing.
What Is Neuromarketing?
Neuroscience, which is the study of the nervous system, when applied to marketing, results in neuromarketing. It’s a relatively new science shaped around consumer’s buying decisions. It examines how we make those decisions and how our emotions and subconscious mind influence our choices and actions.
So what is the subconscious mind, and why does it take the lead in buying decisions? Let's look at our brains to learn more.
The New Brain (Rational Brain) processes written languages and complex thinking. It’s the largest part of the brain.
The Middle Brain (Emotional Brain) processes all of our emotions. Our love, compassion, optimism, pride, joy, happiness, as well as anger, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, guilt, and sadness, are centered around this part of the brain.
The Reptilian Brain (Instinctual Brain) is the subconscious, instinctual, and oldest part of the brain. The reptilian brain conserves energy for preservation and body function.
Our brains will try to fall back on the reptilian brain, or our subconscious mind, whenever possible because of the energy conservation process. We’re wired this way in order to survive. And suppose our conscious brains have to work too hard to process information, such as features, benefits, and pricing. In that case, messages will be dismissed to conserve energy.
The emotional brain is also essential because emotion itself is a fundamental process as it’s learned and developed much earlier than the complexity of language. Take babies, for instance. At as young as four months old, studies have shown that infants can discern between different emotions.
And when coupled with story, emotion can take us on a transformative journey that both reaches and resonates with our audience.
This is where businesses can tap into the power of the subconscious mind: strategically creating messaging that is simple, straightforward, easy to understand, and woven with emotion in order to speak to the very part of the brain that makes the buying decisions.
There's More to Come!
In our next blog post, we’re going to dive a little deeper and share with you why neuromarketing is vital to businesses and how successful brands are already tapping into this buying power. We'll also cover three ways to start using neuromarketing to benefit your business, starting today!
It’s time to change the way we as businesses and brands look at messaging.