What is Neuromarketing and Why is it Becoming Popular?

Neuromarketing is a field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, affective and cognitive response to certain marketing stimuli. This field of research aims to better understand the impact of a marketing stimuli, by observing and interpreting the brains response to that marketing stimuli.

Neuromarketing studies the impact of emotions and their importance in the consumer decision-making process and uses that knowledge to help marketers make more effective marketing decisions. The knowledge obtained from the research studies is then applied to product design, promotions, advertising, pricing and improving customer experiences.

Rational vs Emotional

As much as we want to believe we are rational human beings, much of our existence and decisions are formed by our emotional being. We rely more on our emotions than we do with reasoning. We buy products because of our emotions and then use reasoning to justify ourselves into making that decision. Once the emotion is created, you can link it to almost anything.


Dopamine and Marketing

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. It also helps regulate movement and emotional responses; enabling us not only to sense reward but encourages us to take action towards such a response.

When we are informed, a dose of dopamine is naturally released, making us feel important. When we are rewarded, it makes us feel good. If reward is unexpected, pleasure senses kick in.

Naturally, we crave dopamine and our actions, subconsciously, are guided towards releasing more dopamine.This is why people crave achievement – when we accomplish something, it releases our dopamine and causes us to feel good. When we feel good, we naturally remember it more vividly. This is why marketers rely so heavily on achieving this dopamine rush when designing creatives; this increases brand recall and engagement.

Dopamine intent-driven marketing sounds scary but it is around us every single day. When marketers trigger that dopamine release, they can reinforce certain behaviors and create positive brand associations.

Gamification and Loyalty

Ads that get consumers to solve a puzzle or discover new information can be used to trigger this dopamine release. It’s more of a subliminal connection that makes people feel good about themselves. Identification, virtual awards, and special discounts can activate the brain’s reward center. Simply solving a puzzle or discovering new information about a company or brand can make consumers feel important and encourages brand engagement.

How to Encourage a Dopamine Rush 

  • Get your customers to solve a puzzle before receiving your promotions (obviously a simple puzzle).
  • Alert prospects and customers that they are “first to know”. When people think they are important (discover the information first), it releases that feel good dopamine rush and makes people act upon your information.
  • Share an insider story – people like to know the inside scoop. Combine insider information with storytelling. Maybe introduce how your company (brand) started and let your customers know a little about your story.
  • Leverage limited time offers – when there is a limited time a service or product is available, it creates more desire to purchase (or act upon) it now.
  • Use a reward system – use a loyalty reward system to reward initial buyers and encourage more purchases. Present small rewards as a base offering for being a part of the program and then encourage repeat purchase by increasing the value of that reward the closer they move up the ladder (the more they spend).
  • Charge an upfront fee for VIP discounts – this may sound unreasonable but there is a reason companies do it. A small five dollar fee is enough to get your customers to use their discounts more often. People want to make the most of their discounts, so if the promotions are free to everyone, they are less willing to do it.