Neuromarketing's footprint across the world is much deeper than it is in India. Frito Lay, Microsoft, Google and Amazon have already tasted its benefits. Can startups make most of it?Nischala Agnihotri
Neuromarketing caught the marketer’s attention after the battle of 'Pepsi vs Coke'. Before I dig deeper into how neuromarketing emerged , its adoption around the world and opportunity for India, let me take you through the evolutionary process of marketing. Here is the precursor.
Darwin’s theory of evolution applies to the world of marketing too. Until 1990s, the affluent brands spread their wings and spent on sponsorships, electronic media and advertising while marketing for startups was executed mostly by foot. It was only during the dotcom era, after 2000, marketing got digitized.
During this time, key performance indicators (KPIs) were designed around ‘spend vs clicks’. Once clicks turned out to be a quicksand for ad spend, marketers turned towards search engine optimization (SEO) and other organic ways. Introduction of Google Panda and Penguin refined the game of marketing even further. It simplified and invited only ‘survival of the fittest’, increasing the quality of search experience.
After search, social signals caught the attention of marketers - to grab the attention of their consumers. Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin facilitated this trend through social media marketing. With media planning getting imperative for a small business too, content marketing took its place on the canvas. To amplify content, influencers were recruited and influencer marketing became another feather in the marketer’s cap.
Now, marketers have redefined the KPIs in the context of digital marketing which has led to the emergence of ad tech companies, content optimization solutions and programmatic advertising. However, what marketers are yet to decode is the ‘consumer’s mind’. Since the consumers' minds are largely dependent on their behavior, it was left to research scientists to figure out the 'why' aspect.
They have come back with an answer - where marketing, economics, neuroscience and consumer behavior converge. This converging point is what we call neuromarketing. Marketers aim to accomplish the grey areas of ROI of branding and cost optimization of packaging by using the findings of neuromarketing.
In UK, Neurosense was one of the first few companies to offer neuromarketing as a service to marketers. Over time, well researched tools are being offered by neuromarketing companies like Sales Brain, Mindmetriks, Think Impact and so on.
In 2005, Roger Dooley spread the word about neuromarketing around the world. In 2012, Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NMBSA) a body with currently, 1700 members across 90 countries started creating a footprint of neuromarketing as a formal vertical through its annual events.
Frito Lay, CBS, Google and Amazon are few of the companies that have started to experiment and reap the benefits of neuromarketing. They ventured out to use this solution to understand their consumer behaviour in the buying process, response of advertisements and user behaviour on their website. Few tools and methods that you can try for your company would be Neuromap and Neurovision.
Some areas that are being evaluated quantitatively by marketers through neuromarketing are - product packaging, eye gaze of web visitors, colour preferences, degree of customer satisfaction, product aversion, gaming preferences and pricing options . These subjective aspects were otherwise left to assumptions and hence could not validate the spend.
Neuromarketing is at its nascent stage all around the world, and very little to read and talk about in India. However, neuromarketing is taking its shape via consulting firms like Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience Research Centre (India), Terragni Consulting and Xanadu. A Delhi-based startup Neuronme has built a solution in this space. It uses machine learning for text analysis through which it helps developers understand the sentiment, context and entity around a particular statement.
Neuromarketing as a service, can be afforded only by business behemoths in India. There is still an opportunity for digital marketers to explore and offer solutions that can decipher the mystery behind consumer behaviour for startups. Few simple areas to start are -
Rewards and Loyalty Programs
Communication and Messaging