Visiting the NMSBA neuro marketing conference in Amsterdam recently gave my brain a lot to process. This science of why people buy provides us with numerous ways of literally reading people’s minds. Neuro scientists view surveys and questionnaires as a very limited way of conducting research as participants over think their answers and unconsciously rationalise them. The pure truth can only be discovered by looking at the source: our thoughts.

Even though neuro marketing sounds very abstract, it’s an oasis of valuable, practical information. For instance, it answers one of the most prevalent questions in advertising: what defines the memorability of a commercial and why?

According to Richard Silberstein, a conference speaker, an ad’s timing is everything. When people sense the end of an event, they ‘tune out’, because they need to process what just happened to them. So if you place your key message after you’ve signaled the close, you might just as well not say anything at all. People will simply not be listening anymore.

Another practical lesson was taught by Diana Derval. She showed how we can classify all people into four groups of men and four groups of women, based on differences in their prenatal hormones, and use this as a basis for product design. She gave the example of dinosaur robot toy, the colour of which was changed from green to blue in order to appeal to the Chinese audience it was destined for.  Before someone is born, testosterone, estrogen and other hormones influences their sensory traits. This determines many things, such as how many taste buds that person will have, which will influence their food preferences. Or how far or nearsighted one is, which affects their observation of colour. Basically our hormones influence our perception and our perception influences our behaviour. Understanding these groups makes it possible to predict needs. Therefore, fitting your product to peoples’ traits will bring you and your brand a lot further.

Lots of other neuro scientists agree with Derval when it comes to the idea that we are more alike than we would like to admit. Victor Lamme claims to only need to look at five people’s brains to predict the behaviour of an entire population. This creates endless possibilities for manipulation and persuasion for the people who have mastered this science.

No matter how practical all this knowledge is, the advances scientists have made in this area also seem somewhat scary. When Christophe Morin showed how brain movies’ can be made that depict what a person is seeing, the idea of my brain being used as a camera was unsettling.

For more insights on neuro marketing, contact Charlotte Kroon.  To find out more about the NMSBA conferences, click here: