Neuromarketing: A new science of consumer behaviour

Neuromarketing: A new science of consumer behaviour

The Emergence of Neuromarketing

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Shreya Sangwan and Dr.Seema Kwatra

The science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit is called marketing (Philip Kotler). Utilizing resources to provide consumers with the best experience and promote business growth is what modern marketing entails. The secret to running a successful business is to thoroughly understand the actual requirements, wants and demands of the consumer. However, modern marketing is a challenging endeavor in and of itself because it is challenging to fulfill the promises made to consumers regarding their precise requirements and demands. However, a few issues arise here, such as why customers lose interest in the product over time, why do they like some particular top brands, why do businesses fail to make a profit after expending enormous amounts of time and energy, and why are customers still not entirely satisfied. Consumers behave in a certain way on the spur of the moment. Even if they are conscious of their real emotions, they usually do not want the marketing researcher to know about them. Because they view the information as humiliating or private, consumers might not want to disclose it. The responses we get from qualitative research aren't always truthful. There is some bias on the part of the consumers. The majority of customers actually have no idea why they purchase. According to studies on the human brain, 95% of our decisions are motivated by subconscious desires, the most powerful of which is emotion, which we subsequently try to rationalise. Now imagine, on the basis of this biased data and information, the marketers ultimately spend a significant amount of money on designing products, promotions and campaigns. To combat this issue consumer brain patterns can be studied to determine their responses to particular advertisements and products and this information can then be used to develop new advertising campaigns and branding tactics. "Neuromarketing" is a method of examining consumer brain patterns and is regarded as "the new science of consumer behaviour." Gerry Zaltman defines neuromarketing as the study of the cerebral mechanisms to comprehend consumer behaviour in order to improve marketing strategies. Consumer neuroscience, commonly referred to as neuromarketing, is a field of study that aims to better predict and possibly affect consumer cognition and behaviour by studying the human mind.

In contrast to qualitative questionnaires, which just ask us to describe ourselves, neuromarketing studies how our brains react to stimuli. In basic terms, neuromarketing is what marketing psychology is to neuropsychology. Neuropsychology investigates how the brain influences people's cognitive and psychological processes while neuromarketing emphasizes the advantages of approaching consumer behaviour from a neurological perspective.

• Fast results of market research
• Accuracy in research
• Creation of high impact ad-campaigns
• Creation of Brand Preference
• Opportunity for New Product Development
• Increased return on investment
• Minimized complexity in Marketing

Neuromarketing Toolkit
Modern technology is used by neuromarketing to identify non-voluntary human responses, such as brain area activation. A toolkit with a variety of strategies is used for detection. Below is a discussion of popular strategies, each with advantages and disadvantages:

  •  Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  •  Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Eye-tracking(ET)

The fMRI method monitors minute changes in blood flow induced by brain activity. It can be used to identify the parts of the brain that are in charge of key functions and to
decide how to treat the brain most effectively. It monitors the brain's blood oxygenation. Blood oxygenation and changes in brain function are related. During an MRI test, a strong 
magnetic field is utilised to create a 3D image of the brain. fMRI scans can assess the blood oxygen levels in synapses to identify brain activity. More oxygen is consumed by active neurons than by inactive neurons. Any neurons that are activated will be visible during imaging. No other method can accurately capture the complex activity of the entire brain. 


  •  fMRI is the most efficient neuromarketing technique for forecasting customer behaviourincluding buying habits and sales.
  •  fMRI offers the clearest view of the effects of marketing communication.
  •  fMRI simulates personal responses by analysing people's rapid, automatic responses to marketing communications.


  •  Neuro Ad testing:

fMRI is used to measure the subconscious emotions and responses that advertising evoke. The measurements are assessed against benchmarks for effective advertising. By cutting out inefficient advertising time, this allows for the streamlining of the commercials and, if possible, a reduction in ad spending.

  •  Neuro concept testing:

By employing fMRI to identify the subconscious emotions and reactions the ad idea generates before it goes live, the ad may be modified to maximise return on investment.

  •  Neuro branding:

Neuro Brand Signature, a pattern of brand-specific neural connections in the consumer's brain, can be created using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This can be
used to assess whether the marketing messages directly affect the customers' mental associations.

Brain activity is measured by the neuro-research method called electroencephalography (EEG). In order to forecast customer behaviour, it is common practice in neuromarketing research to measure cognitive functions like calculations. Electrodes are attached to the scalp area for EEG measurements. It records the coordinated activities of neurons. It specifically picks up high voltage activity from brain regions near to the skull. EEG only measures large and synchronous brain activity, such as:

  • Attention
  •  Concentration
  • Match/mis-match
  •  Arousal


  •  Instead of conscious and logical verbal answers, EEG provides objective responses. This is significant because unconscious rather than conscious reactions govern the majority of consumer behaviour.
  •  It enables to assess how quickly and how strongly brain reacts to marketing communications.
  • Calculations performed by the brain can be accurately measured using EEG. It enables to anticipate your customer’s thoughts and determine the best price for good or service.


  •  Neuro pricing: ideal price for good or service can be determined using EEG in conjunction with scientifically collected data. It enables to calculate the maximum income and profit using the optimal price. This gives the assurance that the selected price will generate the most revenue.

​​​​​​​Eye tracking:
Eye tracking is a tool for analyzing visual focus. From the standpoint of neuromarketing, it aims to link customer’s cognitive and emotional responses with visual attention. It tracks what customers are paying attention to, for how long, and in what sequence. Infrared (IR) sensors are used in eye tracking to identify and monitor the location of the eye. The features that customers are focusing on and their experiences can be learnt by using fMRI in conjunction with eye tracking.

The future of neuromarketing is more promising than that of conventional market research methods since it offers a number of advantages (Magaldi, 2012). The 2000 times per second brain activity of the volunteers is one of the approaches used in neuromarketing. To learn new things, techniques like fMRI and EEG are used. Degrees of understanding of how commercials, websites, and other promotional items affect people subconsciously (Regan, 2008). Advances in the fields of neuroscience and neuroeconomics are re-defining and enhancing our understanding of how human beings make decisions in general and how consumers make decisions from a marketing perspective. Laboratory and field based applications are now leading to new insights on consumer behaviour that have a direct impact on how marketers should be developing and implementing their marketing plans. This programme seeks to build on the emerging knowledge in this field with its applications in the area of consumer behaviour, pricing, packaging and marketing communications. IIM Ahmedabad now has a behavioural science lab with neuro equipment.  Leading companies like Frito-Lay, Cheetos, Hyundai, HP, Mercedez Benz, etc have used and are still using neuromarketing techniques as business strategy to elevate their business and have gain positive results. Marketers must go on for adapting this emerging technique in this new era to shoot up their business as well as the satisfaction of the consumers as neuromarketing in itself holds a lot of potential.

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