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Nowadays, new techniques such as neuromarketing steps forward to evaluate consumer’s behavior based on different brands, advertising or buying environments. These neuromarketing techniques can help to evaluate the hidden reasons that are responsible for specific costumer behaviors and explain what is happening inside the brain or the “black box” as it is called. Neuromarketing techniques present physiological information, since participants cannot affect this kind of measurements. The aim of this paper is to point out the weaknesses of the traditional marketing techniques as a base to present the benefits of the neuromarketing strategies and the way that can contribute for more reliable information about consumer behavior. The neuroimaging techniques will be compared with the traditional techniques regards the influence of advertisement, attractiveness of the product, satisfaction of the consumer. Also limitations of the neuromarketing techniques will be presented.
Furthermore, traditional techniques are based on data collection such as research groups, self-reports, surveys in order to evaluate consumer behavior. They may provide the desirable data, however there are questions regards their reliability about it. Specifically, Walton supported that traditional techniques such as research groups should left behind due to the high costs of the procedure and the low accuracy. By that means, participants when interviewed, tend to hide -consciously or unconsciously- their desires and answer by telling lies or believing that is important to answer based on what other people want to hear in order to please them. Also, Schafer argued that the consumer is not aware of the actual emotional reason he buys a specific drink every time. In another example, a USA advertising company called ‘Arnold worldwide’ evaluated the emotional influence of the advertising imageries, by using FMRI images. Their costumer desired to know how the viewers would react to images such as “university students have a drink around a fire on a break” or “adults on a classy bar”. It was found that the images that were rated as the most favorite in the traditional testes, differed from those that cause strong activation in the brain.
Yet, neuromarketing techniques are able to investigate beyond the emotional state of the consumer and figure out the unconscious factors of a product choice. Additionally, the investigators are able to re-evaluate marketing theories via neuroimaging techniques and expand the knowledge regards neuromarketing. The cost for neuroimaging techniques use is extremely high, yet the results are reliable as they present clearly the brain function. Therefore, information for further assumptions about consumer behavior are available. Regards the cost of neuroimaging techniques, studies support that if hidden information of consumer behavior are revealed by them, there will be improvement of the product. Therefore, there will be a balance between the increase of sales with the cost of their use. On the other hand, it is said that except from the extremely high cost of neuroimaging techniques, the analyses takes long and that further confirmation is needed due the complicated information. The neuromarketing could play a complimentary role to the traditional techniques with its power to present the differences in decision making. Particularly, it could help the traditional marketing in three ways: firstly, neuroscience techniques could help to find individual differences of each consumer regards the interest. That could happen with the combination of the neuroimaging techniques and surveys. Secondly, discovering neural mechanisms can be beneficial, as they can help discover new strategies for the companies. Thirdly, neuroimaging can help identify and group costumers based on their cognitive way that react to a solution.
Effective interaction regards advertisement is of primary importance in marketing. Participants were observed with FMRI while evaluating commercials based on the appeal. It was found that appealing commercials were activating the reward and decision making areas of the brain. Also, studies presented good-looking facial characteristics important for an appealing commercial. Specifically, beautiful women could trigger the rewarding system of men consumers. Regards the longer recalls of a brand, another study was conducted. It presented that a commercial was memorized significantly more when it was related with a touching image in contrast with a logical with arguments commercial. Specifically, there were two groups. One was provided with medicine in order to decrease the responses, while the other was left without the medicine. As a result, the group that took the medicine remembered better the rational commercial. In contrast, the people that did not take the medicine were better at recalling the emotional commercial.
Furthermore, supporters of brain-scanning argue that participants could get connected to imaging devices whilst watching imageries or audiovisual clips in order to make valid assumption about effective advertisement. That could be achieved by presenting a marketing stimuli to the participants and evaluating which part of the brain is activated. Yet, the area that is supposed to be activated may fail to. The researchers will know that the specific advertisement is not going to bring the desirable results. For instance, a British company called Unilever examined its advertisement by using EGG. The company’s product was presented with the relevant marketing message, yet not the expected responses were obtained from the brain. The results from the EGG experiment were valuable for the guidance of the group. As a result to head for a more effective advertisement based on the consumer behavior. Lastly, Neuroimaging techniques could be used to achieve the advertising success. And figure out the most important factors to the product awareness and evaluation as a result to avoid shock and sexual images. Shock and sexual images are heavily promoted by traditional advertising techniques as companies consider it the best way to make a point. Therefore, neuroimaging techniques could help to reduce the companies’ trust to the sexual images and shock strategies.
The product regulations are of primary importance in promotion due to the fact that includes the marketing strategy of a product. Regards product regulations is important the product to be created based on the buyer’s needs. FMRI studies presented that the brain is triggered in different parts depending on several products, for instance, participants were exposed in different kind of cars such as sport cars, limousines and small cars. Specifically, the parts of brain that were related with the reward, were activated when products with high prestige appeared such as sport cars. Particularly, brain reward parts such as ventral striatum could define the appeal of a product. Therefore, work as a factor for the consumer’s product choice. Generally, neuroimaging techniques have a better chance to achieve reliable consumer reactions regards product attractiveness. By that means, traditional techniques are based on costumer’s choice to find out which of the products is the most attractive to them, yet the consumers are influenced by external- societal factors regards their choice. Therefore, the societal influences form unconscious drives that cannot be discovered by the traditional techniques. Related to the unconscious drives, in a study women were asked if they found attractive the wrestler “The Rock” and their responses were negative. However, the brain activity records showed the totally opposite. Secondly, traditional methods such as self-reports are not valid as participants are not able to express their opinion or feelings about an event that happened in the past.
Neuroimaging techniques can also benefit with useful information regards the costumer behavior and the way he thinks with payment as it is an important reason for a company’s gaining’s. For instance, it was argued that a person that desires to make a purchase has two methods of thinking. The first one is that when a product is expensive means that it is a high quality, and the other way of thinking is that the product is indeed too expensive therefore it is more than a loss of money. Related to the feeling of money loss, FMRI findings showed that the part of rewarding in the brain was triggered with the gains and the insula was triggered with the extreme amounts.
Neuroimaging techniques can also contribute to evaluate the consumer satisfaction in a more reliable way than traditional techniques. It was believed that the traditional marketing techniques were succeeding in that part. Yet, studies showed that the number of costumers was not stable, as even if they were satisfied would choose to not be engaged in the brand. It was found that a part in the brain called Striatum, got used to the a new stimuli and reacts only when something unexpected happens and that was happening at the consumer’s brain. However, FMRI studies showed that people who have a favorite brand include highly the emotive factor in their purchase choice compared to the people that are disloyal. Therefore, the favored brand works as a reward in the brain when purchasing an item.
Lastly, neuroimaging could benefit the consumer in personal level. For instance the buyer thought neuromarketing will be aware of his own needs and get offers from products that he really needs. Another benefit for the consumer could be to deal with dependence regards spending in products. Using neuroimaging techniques the areas that cause the problem could be identified. Besides, people that are spending in products could defend themselves from that practice by being aware of what they are feeling and why they are feeling it, while they are shopping.
Based on the overview of the paper, the aim was to present the reasons that neuroimaging techniques are able to provide reliable information in contrast with the traditional techniques regards the marketing. It is argued that neuromarketing is more reliable as it evaluates directly the brain and discovers the unconscious thoughts of the consumer. Furthermore, it can benefit regards the effectiveness of the advertisement. For instance, good-looking faces and emotional stimuli can make a commercial attractive. FMRI studies presented higher activation in the rewarding parts. Later, the product was evaluated. It was supported that it has the more status it has, the more is selected by the consumers. In a study with cars, the rewarding area of the brain was activated when sports cars or limousines were shown. Furthermore, one more factor that caused activation of the rewarding area of the brain was a favorite company. Consumers with favorite company tended to have higher brain activation in the rewarding system in contrast with people that did not have something likely. Also, neuromarketing could help the costumer by making him aware of his needs and protecting him with any addiction issues.
Generally, people should be more open in new technologies and do not take it as disadvantage, as it could help in ethical way. For instance, advertisements based on nudity, violence, that present disturbing pictures in order to achieve the desirable marketing, could avoid these kinds of techniques. Maybe, through neuromarketing, areas in the brain could be discovered that could develop different kind of stimuli for advertising. Therefore, companies could take another direction and adopt more “ethical” ways. Furthermore, neuromarketing could provide information about the cognitive characteristics of participants based on the traditional data and surveys. There are a lot of people that present neuroscience as a way to manipulate people and make them do whatever companies want. Conscious part should collaborate with unconscious. A lot of examples from studies showed that people are not telling in the questionnaires or surveys the truth about what they desire, as a result to create a faulty data. However, not all people do it consciously, there are people that not tell the truth but not because they want to lie. Besides, neuromarketing techniques could be combined with the traditional techniques as both of the data are needed for a conclusion. For instance, in one study below, participants were evaluated via neuroimaging techniques, while they were answering to different questions.
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