Can You Influence Consumers by Using Neuromarketing Techniques? #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on September 5, 2014

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In my last #FridayFinds post, we took a look at neuromarketing and how big companies use it to influence buyers. For those of you who may have missed that article, in neuromarketing, companies use medical technologies such as fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and EEGs (electroencephalography) to study how our brains respond to marketing stimuli. In that article, I shared a bit of the history behind this field of marketing . (Remember the 2004 Pepsi Challenge?) We also took a look at how digital marketers are applying behavioral psychology into website design and how neuroscience can be used to increase conversion rates on our web pages. This week, let’s recap what we learned in my previous post, take a look at a SlideShare presentation by neuromarketer Jeph Maystruck and take a look at how conversion experts are using website forms to entice visitors to subscribe for email updates.

Neuromarketing Principles:

When I began my research for that article, the term neuromarketing was new to me. As I read through several articles on the subject, I recognized that many of the principles that they were referring to are evident on many websites, advertising materials, movies, video and television. For example:

  • Leveraging Scarcity: Have you ever hesitated buying something online and been influenced by seeing “only 3 available”?
  • Product Decoys: When presented with three product options, how often do you purchase the middle priced version? Neuroscience has proven that a more expensive “Cadillac” version makes a more affordable middle option more desirable.
  • Anchoring: How often have you purchased an accessory when you’re checking out online and you’re presented with suggestions under “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”? A $50 case for your smartphone may seem indulgent by itself but when it’s presented as a suggested purchase when you’re paying $200 for the phone, it appears more reasonable.
  • Free Stuff: How often have you shared an article or signed up for emails in exchange for a free download? Marketers give things away based on the proven fact that when we receive something that’s free, we’re more apt to reciprocate.
  • Unreasonable Options: Studies have shown that website visitors are more likely to choose an option if they’re first presented with an offer that they immediately reject. For example, non-profit organizations soliciting donations may first ask for a large donation, followed by smaller denominations.
  • Hurt & Rescue: Have you ever taken an online quiz and then after you completed it been offered a solution? For example, after taking a health quiz, you may be offered a disease prevention program. It’s emotion based selling.

If you read my previous post, you may have followed the link to Tim Ash’s article on designing persuasive websites using neuromarketing principles. If you haven’t read it, the screenshots that Tim included (on leveraging scarcity, product decoys and anchoring) will bring home what I highlighted in the bullet points above.

Lessons Learned from Neuromarketing Professionals:

In this SlideShare presentation, “33 Lessons in Neuromarketing”, on StrategyLab.ca  (uploaded October 2012), Jeph Maystruck  shares his insight on what we can learn from the following four books:

  • Brandwashed” by Martin Lindstrom
  • Brainfluence” by Roger Dooley
  • buy.ology” by Martin Lindstrom
  • How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer

Some of the key points made in this presentation include:

  • A study involving an energy drink (regular price compared to a discounted version)
  • Insight into problem solving (happy people versus unhappy people)
  • The influence consumers have on each other
  • Joe Camel and six-year olds
  • The most powerful advertising tactic used
  • Some tricks that supermarkets use
  • The influence of music on shoppers
  • An experiment involving toothpaste
  • A study of restaurant prices
  • How scents affect consumer behavior and perception
  • A promotional experiment involving coffee
  • An experiment involving lost wallets
  • The reciprocity effect
  • The use of numbers versus percentages
  • A tip on handling negative reviews
  • And a few more studies and examples that should pique your interest

Note: You can find a transcript of Jeph Maystruck’s SlideShare presentation, here.

Connecting With Influencers:

Speaking of Roger Dooley, (the author of “Brainfluence” that was cited in the presentation above), one of the benefits of writing this series is that I meet some very interesting people and many of them are influencers in their fields. My previous post, Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?, was picked up by many bloggers who write (and tweet) about #neuromarketing.

Up until I wrote that post, I wasn’t following any of those bloggers (other than the ones that I featured in my article). Once that post was shared, I noticed that Roger Dooley and many others shared my post. I immediately followed them and many of them have since followed me. (This is a really nice benefit to me. In addition to connecting with influential bloggers, it is also providing me with more great content to share.)

List Building Secrets:

Since Roger Dooley is a respected resource in his industry, I visited his blog looking for an article that cast insight into a topic that most (if not all) bloggers are interested in. So, let’s take a look at How Top Conversion Experts Seduce You Into Giving Up Your Email. In his article, Roger takes a close look at how three conversion experts incorporate email subscription forms into their websites. The websites that he features are:

  • Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg (there are 2 examples, a box below the header and an exit driven lightbox popup)
  • Crazy Egg (a simple sign-up at the top of the page, a sidebar form that leads to a sales page and a timed lightbox popup )
  • Conversion XL (a subscription form prominently displayed on the home page, a sidebar form, a sliding popup box at the bottom of the sidebar and a popup form that’s triggered by time or intent to exit)

These sites are great examples of email marketing strategies that convert. You should find the Crazy Egg subscription strategy especially interesting. It’s more complex than the others and (as Roger points out)

“having a list of opt-in daily subscribers is a big advantage for Crazy Egg. They can promote their own products, of course, but also have plenty of opportunities for advertising and affiliate offers.”

Note: If you read Roger’s article, you’ll notice that he has a free offer of his own. Simply sign up for his email updates and you can download his 40-page ebook  “List Building Secrets of the World’s Top Conversion Experts”. I already have my copy and I recommend it.

Over To You

What are your thoughts? Do you recognize some of the techniques that Internet markets use to subconsciously influence consumers to buy? Are you incorporating any of these ideas into your website(s)?

How do you get email subscribers? Are you offering a free download or service? Do you use lightbox pop-ups? (I for one need to create an enticing offer and revamp my signup form.) Feel free to share your ideas and recommendations in the comments.

You can follow this week’s featured authors here: Tim Ash(on Twitter), Jeph Maystruck (on Google+), Roger Dooley (on Twitter) and me (on Google+).

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sachin January 8, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Sherryl ,
thank you for the wonderful article on neural marketing. I heard about it for the first time from my girl friend. Tried to do some research but it is a bit hard to grasp topic for me. This article seems a simple one. Are you planning to write more about this topic ?
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Hi Sachin,

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful. I try to find interesting topics, research them and then write about them in “plain English”. 🙂

This post is actually a follow-up post to my article “Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?” (You may find that post helpful as well.)

I have to confess that I don’t have editorial calendars like a lot of bloggers do. I tend to either read something or have a discussion (with a client or another blogger) that triggers something in my brain and the next thing you know, that’s the topic I’m blogging about.

So, I don’t have any immediate plans to write another post on neuromarketing but I’ll keep it in mind. After I wrote this, I connected with a few bloggers in this niche. I’ll have to check and see what they’ve been talking about recently. Thanks for the suggestion!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?My Profile

Jon Page Acabo
Twitter:
November 15, 2014 at 3:27 am

Hello Sheryl,

I am impressed by the idea of how you construct the marketing ethics listed here in your article. As a media practitioner, marketing is part of my profession. The idea of Neuromarketing is one of the aspects that interests me most. You have explained it well, thank you for giving us light on understanding the issue.

Good luck on your endeavor.

Jon

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 16, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Hi Jon,

Thanks for letting me know that your enjoyed my article. I find this topic interesting – especially when you can see how big companies are using this data on their websites.

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Carol Amato September 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Hey, Sherryl,

I know that you can influence consumers but will not be using these tactics knowingly. I do realize there is a certain psychology to marketing, as people make decisions whether to sign up to a newsletter or buy a product based on logic or emotion, and we’re supposed to appeal to their emotions.

I prefer to appeal to both logic and emotion, as I think the combination is the better way, but this is just my opinion based on personal convictions.

Your principles listed out are particularly helpful in understanding the foundation of this. Awesome article, and I’ll be sharing with my friends.

Have a great afternoon.
– Carol
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Hi Carol,

I find this topic fascinating partly because I recognize tactics that big companies use all the time. I know for a fact that if I’m indecisive about purchasing something that the quantities available definitely helps me make up my mind. 🙂

Of course, I would never intentionally deceive someone by pretending to have limited quantities of something when I didn’t and I believe most reputable companies wouldn’t implement deceptive practices. (Perhaps I’m a little naive on that one.)

Thanks for letting me know that you liked my post and that you’ll be sharing it. I appreciate that.

Muhammad Abdullah September 19, 2014 at 1:59 am

Newro Marketing does work and lots of multinationals are also using it these days the only drawback is its very expensive to implement. Thanks for the post.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Hi Muhammed,

While conducting neuromarketing studies is well out of our reach, I really believe that we can implement some of the ideas that Tim Ash included in his article. I, for one, know that seeing a lack of inventory tends to make me make up my mind (whether or not to purchase) faster than ehen there’s no sense of urgency. 🙂
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Deborah Tutnauer
Twitter:
September 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

Fascinating post Sherryl!

I am familiar with all the concepts and methods, yet had not heard the term
“Neuromarketing” before. Though we all respond to different aspects of it, and even as a marketer myself, when presented that way for me it brings up the kind of icky manipulative feeling that marketing can have.

I have recently completed an amazing book called Winning the Story Wars, by Jonah Sachs. It too is a marketing book, yet approaches that world from a unique yet ancient perspective. The book does not get down to the action steps, as in the best way to entice an opt-in. Instead it looks at the history of marketing and breaks down its evolution leading to today – in a world of people not nearly as easily influenced nor gullible as in times past.

I am intrigued however by this area of exploration and plan to spend a bit of time with the writers and resources you shared. Thank you.

Warmly,
~Deborah
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Hi Deborah,

Thanks for the tip about the marketing book. I honestly spend so much time researching online that I don’t read books often. (I have a couple of books right now that I haven’t got to yet.) I’d like to know more about the author though and read their blog.

This topic intrigues me too. I don’t think that applying neurosciene research to our marketing tactics is what makes marketing icky though. To me, marketing is icky when someone makes false promises or blatant lies. While making it appear that there is less inventory available than there really is, someone could justify that by saying that’s all we intend to sell at this time. While, that is somewhat dishonest, if others are doing that and we’re competing with them, it seems that we would be hurting ourselves if we didn’t implement the same tactics. If we’re true to ourselves and honestly represent our products and services, I’d be comfortable doing it.

Thanks for weighing in on this. I appreciate your insight and I’m glad that you enjoyed my post.

~Sherryl
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Nisha Pandey
Twitter:
September 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I never heard about Neuromarketing term. It sounds interesting. I am doing well research on this term. Your article also helped me to learn something about neuromarketing.

I liked the slideshare shared about ” 33 Lessons in Neuromarketing from Jeph Maystruck “. It is amazing and very helpful. Will bookmark your article and share with my readers. Hope, they will like too.

Thanks for sharing.

Have a lovely day!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Hi Nisha,

Thanks for letting me know that you found my article helpful. A few readers here have mentioned studying this field of marketing but it seems to be new to most of us. I believe we all recognize some of these principles as consumers but I don’t think most of us have designed our websites with neuromarketing in mind. (Yet.) 🙂

I hope your readers will enjoy this post as well. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

~Sherryl
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?My Profile

Ravi Chahar
Twitter:
September 8, 2014 at 4:19 am

Hi Sherryl,

I have read your last post and tried to know more about the term neuromarketing.
It’s quite interesting to know that bloggers can influence their readers with many tricks which are included in neuromarketing.

As Susan said that providing free downloading may click to many customers mind while visiting your blog.

There are many other ways we can notice in the market everyday.

Great to know more about the term.

Thanks Sherryl.:)

Have a nice week ahead.

~Ravi
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

Hi Ravi,
I’m going to keep an eye out for more articles on ways bloggers can apply some of these neuromarketing principles into our websites. I think that will be the most helpful to bloggers like you and me.

Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation and I hope you have a nice week ahead too.

Jon Page Acabo
Twitter:
November 15, 2014 at 3:33 am

Hi Ravi,

What I understood on the passage you said, “providing free downloading may click to many customers mind while visiting your blog,” is part of building traffic for your website. And yes we know it’s part of marketing techniques in blogging. There are actually have lots of techniques that we do, but we never it is already a neuromarketing.

Susan Cooper
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

While i’d never heard the term neuromarketing either, i do recognize all these marketing techniques as having been used on me. Some I have used on my website such as the free download. This slideshare was fascinating. Lots on interesting studies. Its amazing how our minds work.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Hi Susan,
I’m glad you found Jeph Maystruck’s presentation interesting. I did too. I searched for something more recent but I couldn’t find anything that was quite that comprehensive in such an easy to follow format.

The marketing technique that I let influence me is scarcity – especially if there’s only one available. That will usually get me off the fence if I’m being indecisive. 🙂

Catarina
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 8:21 am

Neuromarketing techniques definitely works. For better or for worse:-)
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 11:32 am

Catarina,
When you say “for worse” are you speaking as a marketer or a consumer? 🙂

techiv September 7, 2014 at 5:17 am

Now this one’s new. I think neuromarketing should be taken into consideration too. My favorite is Hurt and Rescue, with this one you can correct your mistakes and take it as a challenge. You’ll learn from it.
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Steven J Wilson
Twitter:
September 6, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Hi Sherryl,

OK, neuromarketing is a completely new term for me. It intrigued me to click on this post to learn more.

I have to say I believe it can be useful. Just as certain colors create certain emotions etc.

The Slideshare was awesome. I had no idea about some of those findings. Kids knowing Joe the Camel just as much as Mickey, really!?!? Or the misting of the veggies makes them rote faster! Interesting!

Thanks for this Sherryl! Have a great rest of the weekend!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

Hi Steven,

I’m glad you were intrigued. That means my title worked! 🙂 I’m using the EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) analyzer tool and it’s really making me be more creative when I write my headlines..

That research on the Joe Camel image is a couple of years old now. So, I’d like to think that the results would be different if they conducted that experiment today. It just goes to show you that tobacco companies were definitely marketing to children back in those days.

I hope you have a great weekend too! Now that summer is unofficially over here in the US, we’ve been getting temps in the upper 80’s and it hit 90 yesterday. I can’t complain about that.
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Reginald
Twitter:
September 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Hey Sherryl,

When I first read this, I was like, “What the h*ll is Neuromarketing Principles?”

Haha!

I really love the part about connecting with influencers. In this world, you can’t make it alone. That’s a fact. So if you want to be successful, get ready to go out and say “hi” to influencer like yourself!

Thanks for writing and have a great Saturday!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hi Reginald,
This series has certainly introduced me to some well known bloggers who are experts in their fields.

As for neuromarketing, I recognize so many of the tactics that are based on unconscious decisions but understanding some of the science behind them makes it more compelling to pay attention to them when we’re tweaking (or designing) our websites.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Ammar Zeb
Twitter:
September 6, 2014 at 8:24 am

I am glad you are focusing on neuromarketing that much for us. Yes, neuromarketing is a completely new term in blogging and we can get great benefit from it. Infact, I also said in your previous post that I never knew about this term except on your blog and I am learning it fast now.

Thank You So Much Sherryl!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

Hi Ammar,

Thanks for letting me know that you’re interested in this topic and that you appreciate learning more about it. I hadn’t intended to do a follow-up post this soon but the topic fascinates me an I thought most of us could benefit from learning more about it.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

~Sherryl
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