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Dissecting the Buying Brain

By A.K. Pradeep, Author of The Buying Brain:
Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind

Each year a trillion dollars is spent on communicating to and persuading the human brain, yet few understand how the brain really works -- what's attractive to it, how it decides what it likes and doesn't like, and how it chooses to buy or not buy the infinite variety of products and services presented to it every day.

Neuromarketing research is revealing a myriad of fascinating insights that help improve the effectiveness of every aspect of clients' brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, advertising, and entertainment content.

Synchronized Senses

Among the five senses, vision is the most pronounced and the brain will discount information that is not in concert with the visual stimuli it receives. The sense of smell is quite powerful too, as it is the most direct route to emotions and memory storage. Being linked with a pleasant, iconic smell can significantly improve a product's success in the marketplace.

Brains are also quite empathic and it is a neural "monkey see; monkey do" mechanism that can help companies around the world create and market products and services that consumers will find naturally compelling.

Mirror neuron theory says that when someone watches an action being performed, he or she performs that action in his or her own brain. Activating this mirror neuron system is one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers.

Consider how watching a close partner handle a stressful conversation can cause your blood pressure to rise; how seeing a bicyclist zoom down a hill will elevate your heart rate and give you a feeling of alertness and possibly even a mirrored endorphin jolt.

Defining Differences

While human brains are remarkably similar, there are some fundamental differences such as age and gender that affect how we respond to stimuli.

The Boomer Brain: There are 44 million baby boomers in the U.S. who control 77% of all financial assets. After age 50, the brain becomes less able to screen out distractions, presenting a huge implication and a great opportunity for marketers. A key difference between the older and the younger brain involves the amygdala, the brain area devoted to primal emotions, which in young people responds to positive and negative stimuli, but in older people, more strongly to positive stimuli. Another key trait among older adults is the tendency to overlook the negative. It's called "preferential processing," and several studies have highlighted it. They indicate that, when presented with a negative message, older brains can "delete" the NOT and remember it as a DO over time. A real world example of how this neuroscience discovery is useful for marketers is when crafting a message for the Boomer Brain, say "Remember the milk", not "Don't forget the milk".

The Female Brain: Despite the fact that women's spending capacity has increased to a whopping $13 trillion annually worldwide -- more than the GDPs of China and India combined -- it has only been in the last decade that the female brain has been studied in any depth and detail. Marketers are waking up to the fact that the female brain has four times as many neurons connecting the right and left hemispheres, greatly enhancing its ability to process information through both rational and emotional filters -- a fact that must not be ignored when crafting a message.

The Mommy Brain: Pregnancy and motherhood present women with the most significant changes their brains will experience in their adult lives. Importantly, those changes will last their entire lifetimes. The highly evolved Mommy Brain is largely responsible for our status at the top of the food chain, and mothers control 80-85% of all household spending. The millions of Moms across the country are an army -- mobile, nimble, vigilant, in touch like never before through social media, and powerful -- if your product or messages hit home with them, you have won over powerful allies who will support you through instant communication networks beyond anything you could create for yourself. But the reverse is also true.

Precise Measurement

The group of world-class neuroscientists, neurophysiologists and marketing experts at NeuroFocus measure and analyze actual brainwave activity across the full brain using a combination of electroencephalographic (EEG) testing and sophisticated eye tracking equipment that records exactly where a person is looking while experiencing a stimulus. This combination allows precise measurement of exactly how a person's brain is responding to a certain stimulus in terms of three primary NeuroMetrics: Attention, Emotional Engagement, and Memory Retention, and correlate that with exactly where the person's eyes are focused at that same millisecond. The results are unprecedented in depth, accuracy, and detail, and unequalled by any other form of research.

Companies around the world, including the largest and most successful global giants, are increasingly turning to EEG-based full brain neurological measurements because they offer far more accuracy, reliability, and actionable results than conventional market research methods alone such as surveys and focus groups. In the near future manufacturers, marketers, retailers and content creators that take the time to know the real consumer at the subconscious level will survive and prosper. Those that treat consumers like a number in a survey or a nameless wonder in a focus group will perish.

NeuroFocus CEO Dr. A. K. Pradeep, is the author of the forthcoming book,
The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind.

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