Knowing how the human mind processes information and images—and putting that knowledge to use—can help you become a more engaging and effective marketer.
Researchers in a new(ish) field of study are trying to figure out how our hard-wired preferences affect the decisions we make. Neuromarketing research is “the systematic collection and interpretation of neurological and neurophysiological insights about individuals using different protocols, allowing researchers to explore nonverbal and unconscious physiological responses to various stimuli for the purposes of market research,” according to the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association.
Put simply, neuromarketing is the study of how our brains respond to marketing and how it affects our behavior—consciously or unconsciously—explains Andy Crestodina, co-founder and strategic director of Chicago web design and development agency Orbit Media Studios, who speaks and writes about the topic.
“There are ‘cognitive biases’ built into all of us,” he says. “We can’t help it. Marketing either works with or against the cognitive biases.”
It’s critical to understand these predispositions, to know how our minds process information and images. “The competition for attention is fierce, so knowing what lights up our brains gives marketers an edge that can help them win,” says Grey Garner, vice president of marketing at Emma, an email marketing provider based in Nashville, Tenn.
So let’s take a look at some secrets of the human mind you can tap into from a marketing perspective.
Secret 1: We all have a primitive brain. The amygdala controls our reactions and emotions, and it works much faster than our conscious, rational mind, Garner says. In fact, we experience gut reactions in three seconds or less. Emotions make a more lasting imprint than rational thought.
Marketing takeaway: Aim for a gut reaction, and pay special attention to how your materials look when scanned quickly (as opposed to deliberately considered—because no one has the time or inclination to do that anymore).