By: Marion Caspar

You’re being targeted at all times. They want to get you. They want to stimulate you. They want to manipulate you; they want to force you to do something you may not even want to do. However, they’re smart. They speak to you on an emotional level. Who are they?
They is actually marketing.

It’s very hard to avoid the marketing-culture, in any part of the world. Marketing exists for centuries and it’s evolving with society. According to Frank Schofer, marketing-professor at the University Paris Descartes, “the marketing is a field in constant transformation because of the consumers; humans have changed a lot”.

The world as we know it has become a lot more complicated. Marketing is not as simple as is used to be. Companies rely on innovation in order to face this new consumer. He/she is more intelligent, unpredictable, doesn’t want to wait and wants new experiences. Marketeers realise that they have to catch their attention in a different way and faster; at this point, using the brain for a business goal seems interesting.
Schofer claims:” 95% of our buying process is unconsciously taken; when about 8 products on 10 fail during the launch phase, the neuromarketing appears as an interesting way to study consumers for the professionals.”

In fact, Schofer is not wrong: according to the economists Kahneman and Tversky (who received in 2002 the Nobel Prize of Economy), emotions have a real influence in the purchase process. The different emotional mechanisms highlight the irrational and unaware side of the purchase process.

So what is this neuromarketing term that’s being thrown around? It can be defined as the science of human decision, using neurometrics, biometrics and psychometrics instruments to understand our human behaviour. The aim for the professionals who study the brain for marketing purposes is to know if and where we can find the “button buy”. In traditional marketing studies and tests, professional ask people what they want; we realise that there is one major problem: people don’t know what they want. That’s why the traditional marketing is not as simple as it used to be.
Instead of asking people and trust them, the neuromarketing will study the different chemical reactions in the brain and body of a consumer while marketer ask traditional questions.

The neuromarketing uses various techniques derived from sciences and medicine to understand how the brain works facing stimulus. Among those different techniques, the new marketing uses the facial coding, eyes tracking, voice analysis, the skin conductance, the electro encephalogram, and the MRI. All of these techniques allow marketeers and professionals to know which part of the brain is stimulated. Therefore, when a customer is facing an advertisement, the commercial will work instantly on its brain. Ladies & gentlemen; the button buy.

As you may have expected, the ‘unconscious’ aspect of the neuromarketing raises ethical questions. Some countries like France are against this technique, and judge it inappropriate and dangerous for consumers and society. As neuromarketing wants to know the anchors of decisions and the buying process, the consumer won’t be aware of the trap, people will be facing self-imposed ignorance. Neuromarketing reveals the things people don’t know about themselves for a commercial and monetary purpose. Because the brain is studied and manipulated to make consumer buy products services, neuromarketing is forbidden is several countries to protect the free-will.

The worlds of sciences, medicine and business can intertwine and sometimes it gives good results. As a marketeer, Franck Shofer says:” I think every new technique is interesting and has to be tested to see its efficiency.” However, when Shofer was asked about his views as a regular citizen, he replied; “I try to not ask myself too many questions, that’s means I fall into the trap too, like a lot of people.”

Neuromarketing is yet to reach its peaks and already it raises debates and questions for decade. Will we be able to differentiate manipulation and real desires in the near future? We’ll have to wait and see.

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