Neuroscience applied to marketing & sales, what are we talking about?

neuroscience marketing sales packaging

Among current marketing and sales innovations, neuroscience is holding a leadership. Why? Just two words: efficiency and performance. Efficiency, because neuroscience techniques exclusively rely on science. Performance, because they make marketing and sales strategies more powerful. In this post I describe various applied neuroscience techniques.

 

 

TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS

 

Whenever neurosciences and neuromarketing are mentioned the same mental pictures often come to mind. Pictures of technological tools taken from sci-fi movies, of researchers in lab coats, and of nonsense brain scans. Recognize any of your own mental shortcuts? Indeed, neuromarketing sometimes consists of measuring consumers’ physiological responses when placed in various situations and under various stimuli.

 

neuroscience marketing sales packaging

Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI), for instance, helps determine which brain areas fire when consumers are exposed to these stimuli. Eye-tracking consists of identifying what customers gaze at and pay attention to when watching adverts or looking at supermarket shelves. Skin conductance is considered as a measure of stress and focus.

 

 

 

TALKING ABOUT EFFICIENCY?

 

Technological tools are probably the most well-known neuromarketing techniques. Yet, their relevance should be toned down a little. Indeed, these tools are mainly descriptive, and only slightly functional. Concretely, it means that their main purpose is often to measure customers’ unconscious reactions, such as emotions, to various stimuli.

 

These measurements’ predictive value on intentions and behaviours is often weak. For instance, as dramatic and shocking as road safety or anti-tobacco ads can be, their impact on people’s behaviour is rather weak.

 

Eye-tracking techniques helps determine what elements of adverts or packaging consumers place their attention on. This is an interesting tool for branding. For instance to understand how to increase brand familiarity. From a strict functional point of view though, determining where customers gaze is of little interest to influence their judgments and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, technological tools are probably part of the most well-known neuromarketing techniques. Their use and efficiency are still restricted to a very limited array of situations and contexts.

 

 

MASTERING CUSTOMER PSYCHOLOGY

 

neurosciences marketing ventes

Customer psychology refers to the techniques, and our knowledge, of how people perceive information, memorize it and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Contrary to technological tools, customer psychology techniques are less familiar, but more functional and directly applicable.

 

For instance, at ANALYTICA, we have developed CogniMenu, a menu engineering service aimed at boosting restaurants’ sales. To this end, we anticipate how customers make decisions when facing several options. With that in mind, we work on the menu’s layout and pricing so as to encourage customers to pick the highest-margin meals. Thus increasing restaurants’ average benefits.

cognimenu logo menu engineering

 

This is possible because the way that people process information and make decisions is to some extent predictable. CogniMenu organizes information on a menu in a way that guides customers’ towards buying the meals restaurants want to promote.

 

 

IMPROVING CUSTOMER STUDIES

 

neuroscience marketing sales packaging

The benefit of neuroscience-based customer studies is to avoid ineffective, traditional methods that record people’s subjective verbal statements. Contrary to general belief, people do not say what they do, and do not do what they say. In contrast, neuromarketing enables us to understand customers’ perception, representations and judgments whilst avoiding the biases of traditional studies.

 

 

 

Neurosciences vs. traditional marketing: customers do not say what they do, and do not do what they say... Click To Tweet

 

 

It is an alternative method aimed at determining what customers really think about a product, beyond unreliable verbal statements. In a traditional customer study for instance, customers can be asked if they would buy UK-grown tomatoes (verbal answer). Instead, a neuroscience-based study would first assess consumers’ perception of vegetables’ origins from the packaging. Then be asked about their preference between two products. One in which the packaging mentions the tomatoes’ origin and one in which the packaging does not.

 

 

neurosciences marketing sales packaging

 

 

NEUROSCIENCE-BASED PACKAGING

 

neuroscience marketing sales packaging

“Vice product” corresponds to the biscuits, and “Virtue product” corresponds to the fruit juice

Scientific literature is full of neuroscience studies showing how small packaging details affect consumers’ unconscious perceptions and judgments. By understanding how these details influence buyers’ intentions and behaviours, you can set up a marketing and sales strategy that is more powerful and efficient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEUROSCIENCE-BASED SEGMENTATION

 

neuroscience marketing sales packaging

Taking customers’ personality into account can help you communicate better and more efficiently. Do you think that you should communicate with a whole age category the same way? Then think again. Scientific studies show that whatever the segment you target (age, geographical location, socio-economic status), it is more efficient to adjust promotional messages to your target’s personality to generate sales.

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, neuroscience offers many innovative methods to improve your marketing and sales strategy. This enables you to reach your target more efficiently.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and Predicta Sports, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

predicta football recrutement mental

How to predict young footballers’ future performance

predicta football recrutement mental

Only about 0.5% of academies’ players reach their club’s first team. Football clubs would benefit to a great extent by predicting their young player’s likelihood of success at a professional level. But is it already possible? And if it is, how?

 

 

 

 

Let’s start with some questions. Why is this figure so low? Why won’t most of an academy’s players, despite massive investment by football clubs, achieve a decent career at the professional level?

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

The reason is simple. The more one attempts to identify talents at a young age, the less their future adult skills are predictable. Growth and maturation occur in-between and cards keep being reshuffled continuously. More than that, studies show that the most skilled players during teenagehood turn out to perform worse than others at adulthood.

 

 

 

 

The most skilled players during teenagehood turn out to perform worse than others at adulthood Click To Tweet

 

 

SCIENTIFIC DATA

 

I’ll repeat it again as this might sound unbelievable. We are talking about those teenagers who reach maturity before others, who jump higher and run faster. Well, those teenagers show worse adult performance than teenagers reaching maturity at a later age. A scientific study run by a team of European researchers have shown that teenagers reaching maturity later than others were more likely to play in one of the Big Five’s 1st division clubs (La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A or Ligue 1) at 22 years old, or in a national team.

 

 

predicta football recrutement mental

 

 

THE LIMITS OF TRADITIONAL SCOUTING

 

But that’s not all. Biases related to traditional scouting methods are directly observable through a relative age effect. The relative age effect is the observation that the majority of professional footballers are born in the first six months of the year. This finding runs across the five major European championships.

 

 

relative age effect football

Percentage of professional players born in different months of the year, across the 5 big European championships

 

 

Let’s imagine that young players’ month of birth does not bear any sort of importance. We then should find equivalent proportions of professional players born across different months of the year. But it is not the case. The relative age effect is the outcome of talent identification at teenagehood based on physical, morphological and technical criteria… At a period of life when a few months difference has a tremendous importance on performance. The result? The professional players of your squad were the best among others when identified and selected… at 14 years old!

 

 

The relative age effect is the outcome of talent identification at a period of life when a few months difference has a tremendous importance on performance Click To Tweet

 

 

To sort these scouting and recruitment biases out, methods like bio-banding and the ordered shirts technique have been developed. These methods can be efficient to counteract some traditional scouting biases, but require substantial organization involving several clubs.

 

 

So what solutions should you adopt, if physical, technical and morphological skills are not reliable criteria of assessment in young footballers? Let’s take cognitive and mental skills into consideration.

 

 

SCOUTING: A ROLE FOR COGNITIVE & MENTAL SKILLS

 

The benefits associated with psychological assessments of footballers is that they are more reliable than physical assessments. Cognitive and mental skills may vary between teenagehood and adulthood. But often, between-player differences are stable over time. In other terms, a player who is more creative than the average at 14 years old is likely to also be more creative than the average adult.

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

 

 

Thus, cognitive and mental skills are good targets of predictive recruitment. Scientific studies’ findings, by the way, went beyond expectations. Typically, these studies assess psychological dimensions in young players between 12 and 16 years old. They then follow the same players’ performance and career in academies and in the professional world.

 

 

Psychometric assessments are sufficient to predict a young player's likelihood of success at the professional level Click To Tweet

 

 

Results? Some psychological dimensions, as assessed during teenagehood, predict performance at a professional level, such as number of goals scored or number of matches played in the first national division. The outcome of psychometric assessments is then sufficient to predict a young player’s likelihood of success at the professional level. Autonomy, creativity, individual commitment, competitiveness are part of the cognitive and mental skill set that predicts adult performance.

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

 

 

IDENTIFYING FUTURE TALENTS WITH PREDICTA FOOTBALL

 

Taking advantage of these scientific findings, we have created PREDICTA FOOTBALL, which is the 1st science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment. This tool consists of young footballers’ psychometric assessments. Players first complete a set of psychological and cognitive trials. Individual scores are then analyzed using home made algorithms. Finally, players are ranked based on their computed likelihood to succeed at the professional level in the future.

 

 

The aim of PREDICTA FOOTBALL is to identify future talents before they become obvious to your competitors. We consequently help professional clubs to make the best decisions related to which players to invest in.

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

 

 

Does that mean that traditional scouting and recruitment methods are outdated? Not exactly. The factors determining young footballers’ future performance are manifold. Why invest in a young player with excellent psychometric scores, but who misses half his/her passes? Conversely, what about a young player who shows perfect ball control yet attains poor psychometric and cognitive scores?

 

 

In both cases, what matters is the combination of multiple assessments (technical, physical, psychological…). This allows you to make a decision with more certainty and accuracy than with a unique source of data. To conclude, psychometric and cognitive assessments should be used in association with more traditional scouting assessments (morphology, technique, tactical skills…).

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

 

 

Nowadays, the competition to identify young football talents turns international and intense. Traditional scouting and recruitment methods are biased and reach some limits. Predictive recruitment tools based on rigorous scientific studies, like PREDICTA FOOTBALL, are the best allies for clubs to identify tomorrow’s talents with scientific accuracy and before others, to make more certain and efficient investments, and to identify hidden talents before they become obvious to all!

 

 

predicta football scouting recruitment

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan David

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of innovation, marketing and communication. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and PREDICTA FOOTBALL, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

tests consommateurs neurosciences

How to improve customer studies with behavioural sciences?

customer studies packaging neurosciences

Customer studies… Let’s face it: customers do not say what they do, and do not do what they say. So how can we really understand how customers perceive and evaluate your products and their packaging?

 

 

 

 

In his recent book Experimentation works, Stefan Thomke, a professor at Harvard Business School, quotes a manager from Booking (booking.com) speaking about customers’ behaviour:customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

“We see evidence every day that people are terrible at guessing. Our predictions of how customers behave are wrong nine out of ten times.”

 

 

TRADITIONAL VS NEUROSCIENCE-BASED CUSTOMER STUDIES

 

Traditional customer studies are beneficial to understand people’s preferences and habits. They are a strategic phase of the development of products and packaging. Once strategic decisions have been made, how can we be sure that creations and messages are perceived as expected by customers?

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

Are the colours and texture of a new mobile phone congruent with the claim that it is the lightest phone on the market? Is a Union Jack sufficient for a product to be perceived as made in the UK? Does the font type reflect a product of quality and authenticity? Should the teaspoon on the cereal packet be placed on the bowl’s left or right? Shall the advertisement’s background be the same colour as the displayed product? Should the triangular shape of the pasta packet’s transparent window be pointing downwards or upwards?

 

 

 

Customer studies based on psychology enable us to objectively assess people's perceptions and judgments Click To Tweet

 

 

Such questions about the impact and efficacy of products and packaging can hardly be answered with traditional customer studies. Conversely, all of them have been answered thanks to behavioural science. Customer studies based on psychology enable us to objectively assess people’s perceptions and judgments. They are also useful to understand your clients’ unconscious judgments; the very judgments that they cannot express because customers’ answers are usually biased and influenced by many factors! Eventually, you will obtain accurate information about the psychological impact of your product and its packaging on consumers (e.g. font, colours, claims, weight, size, texture, etc.).

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

EXAMPLES OF CUSTOMER STUDIES

 

For these products, the darker version was judged by consumers as heavier and more durable than the lighter version, but also less user-friendly.

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

In this example, biscuit and fruit juice manufacturers wondered whether person-like drawings could improve purchase intentions. Customer studies have shown that the impact of person-like drawings depends on the type of product sold. It improves purchase intentions for “hedonic” and calorific products (biscuits = vice product). However, it decreases purchase intentions for healthy products (fruit juice = virtue product).

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

“Vice product” corresponds to biscuits, and “Virtue product” corresponds to fruit juice

 

 

See these packaging infographics about Campbell’s soup. Each improvement has been tested and validated through studies about customers’ perceptions and judgments. Traditional customer studies could not have found that the logo placed on top attracted too much attention. Or that the spoon triggered a minimal emotional reaction.

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

The benefit of using neurosciences and psychology for customer studies is thus manifold:

 

 

AVOID INFLUENCING CUSTOMERS’ ANSWERS

 

It is easy to influence people’s answers to a survey. One just has to ask questions in a way that encourages a particular answer.

 

 

Often, the survey designer is not aware of that influence. As a consequence, collected data turn out to be useless and of poor quality. But these data will still be used to make strategic decisions. For instance, Steve Jobs, the iconic but this time misled Apple CEO, said in 2003:

Steve Jobs

 

“People have told us over and over and over again, they don’t want to rent their music… they don’t want subscriptions.”

 

 

Conversely, customer studies based on social psychology principles enable us to assess people’s perceptions and judgments objectively, including unconscious representations and judgments that customers do not verbally express.

 

 

DETERMINING CUSTOMERS’ PERCEPTIONS & JUDGMENTS BEYOND VERBAL STATEMENTS

 

If you think that customer studies are only about assessing your target’s preference for a given product or packaging, then neurosciences won’t help you. Ordinary surveys are sufficient to understand such preferences. Conversely, behavioural sciences allow for more innovative customer studies to be conducted. Collected data about the impact of a product or a packaging are virtually limitless!

 

 

Every detail of a product or its packaging can have a tremendous impact on consumer perception Click To Tweet

 

 

Customer studies based on neuroscience help to confirm whether new products and packaging trigger the expected perception. They enable us to understand customers’ unconscious judgments. Genuine judgments that your customers cannot properly express. Every detail of a product or its packaging can have a tremendous impact on consumer perception. This is why behavioural sciences have become essential for customer studies.

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

In this example, the labels of Champagne bottles vary in complexity. Do you wish to communicate a ‘feminine’ feeling? The label on the right should rather be used. Do you wish to communicate a sensation of ‘modernity’ and ‘authenticity’? The label on the left is more likely to generate them. Would these conclusions have been reached following traditional customer studies and creators’ mere intuitions? No.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN SUMMARY

 

Behavioural sciences enable us to access significantly more data that traditional customer studies. Perceptions, representations, judgments, intentions… Neurosciences, along with social psychology, possess technical tools to accurately assess the objective impact of a new product or its packaging on consumers. And these tools go beyond simple statements that often turn out to be biased and subjective. Your customers show unconscious judgments and representations that traditional customer studies cannot identify. Because each and every conception detail can have an unexpected but substantial influence on consumers’ perceptions and intentions, neurosciences provide more reliable and more objective methods than intuition or chance.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan David

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and Predicta Sports, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

 

ventes neuromarketing

Using neuromarketing & customer psychology to improve selling processes

 

ventes neuromarketing

 

In a former blog post, we explained how neuromarketing and customer psychology can improve product design and packaging. But once your product has been designed and is ready to be sold, how to promote it and sell it efficiently? To this end, neuromarketing and customer psychology bring efficient evidence-based solutions.

 

 

 

1) SEGMENTING CUSTOMERS BASED ON THEIR PSYCHOLOGY

 

In order to promote products on a large scale, marketing segments based on customers’ psychology is a powerful and revolutionary technique. Psychological segments deconstruct traditional segments, like age, gender, socioeconomic status, salary or living area.

 

 

Traditional segments are less accurate than psychological segments to initiate marketing or selling actions Click To Tweet

 

 

Let’s imagine each traditional segment contains a cluster of persons who fit into it. Some segments will merge with one another and define personas: for instance Clare, 38yo, married, 2 kids, living in a suburban area, a qualified worker in a public company. Research in social psychology shows that psychological dimensions like openness to experience, extraversion or need for cognition, blend traditional segments. That means that these aforementioned psychological dimensions gather people from distinct traditional segments.

ventes neuromarketing

 

For what consequence? Traditional segments are less accurate than psychological segments to initiate marketing or selling actions. It’s useless to communicate with every 30 or 40-year-old in the same way. Age and other traditional segments are not the most relevant and efficient segments to tailor a message to your target. Personality is by far more useful.

 

For instance, one scientific study has shown that mobile application sales could increase by up to 79% when their promotional message was tailored to the target’s personality (see our former post here for a more detailed description). These findings led ANALYTICA to create a marketing innovation called PsychoSegments (see video with English subtitles below).

 

 

 

 

2) APPLYING PSYCHOLOGICAL PRICES

 

prix psychologiques ventes

Psychological prices are one of the most popular customer psychology techniques. Psychological prices consist of setting prices at a given threshold above which products are perceived to be too expensive. We all know the principle of prices ending with nine: a pair of trousers will be perceived as less expensive when priced at £49.99 than if it was sold at £50. Beware though! Nine-ending prices cannot be applied to every product or service. We explained why in a former post here.

 

 

 

 

3) ENCOURAGING PURCHASE DECISIONS

 

How to efficiently promote and sell a product? And most of all, how to encourage customers to purchase a product over another? This turns out to be rather simple, mainly because our decisions are predictable! Our brain perceives, analyses information and adjusts our behaviour in a predictable way. This is what we call ‘decision rules’.

 

 

it is rather easy to predict customers’ choice for a given product when the conditions favouring this choice are met Click To Tweet

 

 

Once these rules are known and understood, it is rather easy for an expert to predict customers’ choice for a given product when the conditions favouring this choice are met. Marketers then need to recreate these conditions to encourage selling the highest-margin products, for instance. Choice environments can consist of a commercial offer, where pricing and offer structure influence customers’ choices.

 selling CogniMenu menu engineering

A very concrete example is CogniMenu, a new generation menu-engineering tool developed by ANALYTICA. CogniMenu improves the selling efficiency of restaurants’ menus. The organisation of the menu, its structure and its pricing are all optimised following customer psychology principles. The ultimate goal is to encourage customers to pick highest-margin meals. This directly translates into an increase in average spending and in restaurants’ profits.

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and Predicta Sports, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

billets ventes prix psychologiques

How to increase prices without decreasing sales: 1) Psychological prices

 

billets ventes prix psychologiques

Setting high prices without impeding sales is the neuromarketing aim of all retailers. Here I describe a simple technique to reach that goal via the use of “psychological” prices.

 

 

 

The linear relationship between sales volume and price is a basic selling principle. If customers act rationally, sales volume is expected to decrease as prices increase. Conversely, sales volume should increase when prices decrease. This idea is correct in theory. Indeed, this relationship is commonly found; especially as far as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) are concerned. This is because their prices usually show little elasticity. That does not mean that the above-mentioned negative relationship is true in every context. There are situations where price drops do not cause an increase in sales volume. And others where a price increase does not genuinely lead to sales’ decrease. We could just as well conclude that businesses and retailers suffer from missed opportunities to raise their profits!

 

 

psychological prices

 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL PRICES

 

Psychological prices are certainly the most popular and used neuromarketing technique. Scientific studies show that consumers’ brains tend to focus on the first digits of prices. For instance, a product priced at £7.99 will appear as less expensive as the same product priced at £8.00; despite the 1 pence difference being minimal. This is because our brain tends to focus on the “7” digit for the first price, and on the “8” digit for the second one.

Offering a product priced at £7.99 instead of £8.00 can potentially help you enjoy a higher sales volume. This will also substantially compensate for the 1-pence loss per product. Indeed, your customers will perceive the £7.99 product as less expensive, and thus more affordable.

Following this rationale, a product priced at £7.00 will be perceived as roughly as expensive as a £7.99 product. In both cases, the price’s first digit is the same (“7”). Pricing your product at £7.00 in this situation should not lead you to enjoy as many sales as you could expect. The price decrease from £7.99 to £7.00 will be perceived by your customers’ brain as less important than it really is. Consequently, you may rather suffer from a profit loss of 99 cents per product (12%). This loss may, eventually, be hard to compensate for with an increase of sales; hence, a missed opportunity to raise your profits.

 

 

Consumers' brains tend to focus on the first digits of prices Click To Tweet

 

 

A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD

 

psychological prices sales

Please note, however, that psychological prices are a double-edged sword. Prices ending in 9 unconsciously refer to low-quality products. I would, thus, advise against using 9 as an ending for good-quality products. For instance, a high-end restaurant should use round numbers, such as £18, without decimals or options ending with 9. Conversely, a fast-food or casual restaurant would be advised to set its prices according to the psychological prices’ principle (£11.95 for a vegetarian pizza).

 

 

 

Prices ending in 9 unconsciously refer to low-quality products Click To Tweet

 

In a future blog article, I will emphasise the importance of customers’ psychology and the framing of prices for their potential to increase prices and profits.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and Predicta Sports, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

packaging

How to use neuromarketing & customer psychology for product design & packages?

 

packagesProduct designs & packages are often conceived by creative professionals. Whether they are designers, advertisers or communication experts, these specialists are gifted enough to invent elaborate and original creations. However, aesthetic creations do not automatically translate into something meaningful for customers’ perceptions, decisions and behaviour. Then why and how can we create products and packages that trigger a positive impact on customers’ perceptions and purchase intentions?

 

 

CREATING EFFICIENT PRODUCTS & PACKAGES

 

Offering products and packages in line with people’s needs and expectations is crucial for successful customer-experience and sales.

Neuromarketing and customer psychology help to predict which features of a product or a package will have an impact on people Click To Tweet

 

Neuromarketing and customer psychology help to predict which features of a product or a package will have an impact on people. For instance by determining how their perceptions are going to influence purchase decisions.

 

 

SOME APPLICATIONS

 

Take the example of Champagne bottle labels. It has been proven that labels with complex aesthetics are perceived as more feminine and sophisticated. Conversely, labels with a simpler design are perceived as more modern, successful and authentic.

 

 

packages

 

 

Another study focused on different products like laptops, suitcases, cars and pens. It has been shown that when these products wore dark colours, they were perceived as heavier, more durable, but also less user-friendly than the same products with lighter colours (see examples below).

 

 

packages

 

 

Campbell’s soups relied on neuromarketing the last time they revisited their packages.

 

 

packages

 

 

A final recent study has shown that “cute”, personified food displays, and realistic, neutral ones had a varying impact on purchase intentions depending on the type of food being sold.

 

 

packages

Vice product” corresponds to cookies, and “Virtue product” corresponds to fruit juice

 

 

ON THE INFORMED USE OF NEUROMARKETING & PSYCHOLOGY

 

We do not advocate that businesses should focus on the “superficial” features of their products. If your product is genuinely bad, customer-experience will inevitably be bad and prospects for repeat business should be reduced to null. Neuromarketing and customer psychology are not to help sell products that are insufficiently attractive, or to help make a product better than it actually is.

 

Neuromarketing and customer psychology are not to help sell products that are insufficiently attractive, or to help make a product better than it actually is Click To Tweet

 

That said, it is essential to take into account how people’s brains work and run empirical, scientific and objective trials. Without these, interpretations about how customers will perceive and react to your product is nothing but pure speculation. Studies of psychology applied to design and packaging, like the ones shown in this post, are manifold. To beat luck and predict which features will positively impact sales, neuromarketing and customer psychology are undoubtedly the most efficient tools currently available.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, and CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service.

 

 

cerveau marketing psychologie

Why psychology is essential to your marketing strategy

cerveau marketing psychologie

For some companies and some marketers, psychology is nothing but abstract science. Yet for the most informed ones, it is an innovative opportunity to understand and reach their target in an efficient way.

THE ISSUE

The challenge faced by marketing and sales campaigns is to accurately assign customers to different profiles. Campaigns thus either reach a single sociodemographic segment that is irrelevant and too extensive (generation X, Y, socioprofessional category, age, interests, and so on). Or they attempt to reach too wide a spectrum of various prospects in a unique and single manner. The latter strategy bears the risk of not reaching anyone by speaking to everyone all at once…

 

PSYCHOLOGY DECONSTRUCTS TRADITIONAL MARKETING SEGMENTS

Customers of a given segment – socioprofessional categories, sociodemography, age, location – can actually show substantial psychological differences. These customers won’t be sensitive to the same sales and marketing messages. Conversely, customers from these different traditional marketing segments may be sensitive to the same marketing content owing to similar psychological profiles.

psychologie marketing segmentation

The benefit of integrating psychology to your sales and marketing strategy is simple. Psychological segmentation criteria allows you to 1) categorize customers in a more accurate and relevant way than traditional marketing segments; and, 2) adjust sales and marketing content to different psychological profiles. Taking psychology into account enables you to establish new marketing segments that turns out to be more accurate, more efficient, and based on science.

WHAT ARE THESE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES?

segmentation psychologie marketing

Your target can be categorized using psychological variables called psychometric scales. For instance, personality can be assessed following 5 scales – aka the Big Five – which are extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openess to experience and conscientiousness. These scientifically-validated scales generate a score for every customer that is assessed. Sales and marketing content can then be tailored to different personalities for greater efficiency.

WHICH CONTENT FOR WHICH PROFILE?

In neuromarketing, the prevention-promotion psychological scale helps us identify different types of customers. On one hand, customers can be more sensitive to prevention-based content, such as the reduction of potential risks or uncertainty (ʺThe braking system of this new car model reduces braking distance and thus diminishes crash risksʺ). On the other hand, customers can be more sensitive to promotion-based content which emphasizes benefits (ʺWith a more efficient engine, this new car model allows you to cover longer distances with a single full tankʺ).

CONCRETE RESULTS

Bringing customer psychology to sales and marketing strategies remains underused. Yet, some pioneering companies have already obtained spectacular results. In a 2017 study, British and American researchers assessed the efficiency of tailoring advertising content to customers’ personality. The personality scales used were extraversion and openess to experience. Scientists recorded the number of mobile app. sales when advertising content was tailored to customers’ personality. These sales were compared to a second campaign where advertisements were the same for every customer. Results show that mobile app. sales increased by 79% when advertising content was tailored to customers’ personality.

psychology marketing strategy sales
Psychology applied to marketing and sales strategy in 3 phases

In a future post, we will discuss how to assess customers’ psychology and how to adjust sales and marketing content accordingly.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, and CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service.

Dominoes communication

9 psychological effects that can ruin your communication campaign

 

Dominoes communication

Communicating is not enough to influence people. Many communication campaigns are an objective failure. This is because providing information is insufficient to persuade and convince. It is crucial to take the psychology of any campaigns’ target into account for messages to be influential. Yet this fact is often ignored in favour of aesthetic and artistic concerns. A poorly designed communication campaign can even have detrimental consequences. I provide here a list of these consequences to be avoided when designing a successful communication campaign.

 

 

Communication professionals are often misled about which techniques can persuade and convince a given target. This is likely because of a lack of objective knowledge about the way our brain works. Detrimental consequences can be generated by the way our brain treats available information and uses it to make decisions. In a scientific article published in the Journal of Communication in 2007, American researchers Hyunyi Cho and Charles Salmon provided a list of unexpected psychological effects that can ruin communication campaigns1. Their study originally focused on health communication campaigns, though the consequences they mention (listed below) can be expected in many contexts.

 

 

1) CONFUSIONcommunication campaign

Confusion occurs when a message’s true meaning is misunderstood (see poster on the right). Cho and Salmon give the example of a prevention campaign for breast cancer. If you stress the importance of check-ups for women with breast cancer cases in their family, women who this does not apply to might feel overly safe and not book an examination. The wording of the messages themselves can also lead to confusion. Claiming that ‘The motorway is not a bin’ to promote the use of bins does not propose any clear recommendation in terms of good practice and behaviour.

 

 

2) DISSONANCE

Dissonance refers to the anxiety generated by the gap between a promoted message and a person’s situation. For instance, promoting breastfeeding can induce discomfort and anxiety in women who, for whatever reasons (necessary medications, low breast milk supply, etc…), cannot breastfeed their child.

 

 

communication campaign3) BOOMERANG EFFECT

Well known by social psychologists, the ‘boomerang effect’ refers to the adoption of a behaviour that opposes the desired behaviour being promoted by the campaign. As depicted on the poster on the left, showing a cheerful group of friends sharing beers is definitely not the best strategy to prevent binge drinking. Also, insisting on the importance of one group member to stay sober to drive the others home, might encourage the others to drink more than usual. And messages high in emotions, such as ‘fear appeals’, are known for distracting the target from understanding and integrating the core prevention meaning2.

 

 

 

4) EPIDEMIC OF APPREHENSION

Apprehension, related to hypochondria, corresponds to an exaggerated concern for health issues due to the pervasiveness of risk messages. For example, a higher sensitivity to thinking one is ill or has the physical symptoms of an illness, in countries where mortality due to infectious diseases remains low.

 

 

5) DESENSITIZATION

Desensitization is defined as the public’s diminishing response to repeated exposure to the same messages. In such instances pervasive TV advertisement campaigns can lead to a rejection of the message or the brand.

 

 

6) GUILTINESS

Guiltiness is an exaggerated focus on personal causes to explain individual health problems. By ignoring related social and environmental causes, people might experience psychological discomfort, low self-esteem, and interpret their state through the sole lens of individual responsibility: ‘I deserve what happens to me because I made the wrong decisions’.

 

 

7) LIMITED ATTENTION/OPPORTUNITY COST

Competition between different communication campaigns to prevent/promote a given behaviour or product tend to make messages less pervasive. This is because people show limited attention, memorization or empathy skills. In a marketing context, people also have limited money and time. Given all the different campaigns targeting people simultaneously, we cannot expect a particular communication campaign to easily reach its target and influence behaviours accordingly.

 

 

8) SOCIAL REPRODUCTION

Social reproduction corresponds to reinforcing a message towards a target segment that is already aware of this message. For instance, promoting waste recycling will have more impact with environmentally-friendly targets than with people who do not feel concerned about environmental issues.

 

 

communication campaign9) SOCIAL NORMING

Akin to the common “in-group/out-group” anthropological divide, social norming may isolate and put the blame on a target group depicted in a negative way, and marginalized within a majority. So, the slogan ‘Kissing a smoker is like kissing an ashtray’ is genuinely not the best message to make smokers aware of the individual, collective and health consequences of smoking.

 

 

In conclusion, here are 9 reasons to expect a communication campaign to fail. Yet social psychologists have become experts in predicting how successful campaigns can be. The good news is that they have also developed the tools to conceive successful messages and content. Does your communication campaign deserve some brainstorming?

 

 

1 Cho & Salmon (2007) Unintended effects of health communication campaigns. J. Com. 57, 293-317.

2 Witte (1991) The role of threat and efficacy in AIDS prevention. Int. Quart. Community Health Educ. 12, 225-49.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, and CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service.

 

photo ville nuit

Smart City & Behavioural Sciences: two sides of the same coin?

 

photo ville nuit

 

 

Why and how Smart City and behavioural sciences are meant to collaborate in the close future.

 

 

 

WHAT IS A SMART CITY?

 

Urbanization has never been spreading so quick. The percentage of people living in cities is increasing every day (50% worldwide and 77% in Europe). An ever-growing population living in reduced spaces becomes a real challenge. A geo-demographic conundrum lies in maintaining people’s life quality, as well as promoting a reasonable, ecological and sustained use of energy. Real-time data collecting, artificial intelligence, big data and connected objects are all technological innovations that bring a new dimension to this challenge: they create an information network from which decisions can eventually be taken.

 

 

Twenty-first century’s cities shall be built around their inhabitants’ habits, behaviours and needs Click To Tweet

 

 

Adjusting public transport to real-time busy periods, improving waste recycling, centralizing cities’ services for better efficiency, encouraging the production and use of sustainable energy, improving the co-existence of different ways of commuting… these are all issues which a Smart City is eventually supposed to provide adequate solutions.

 

 

USERS AT THE HEART OF THE SYSTEM

 

As Smart City enthusiasts put it, users’ behaviour is at the heart of the system. Smart Cities will be developed through them and for them. Twenty-first century’s cities shall be built around their inhabitants’ habits, behaviours and needs. Smart Cities will be democratic! Beyond the above-mentioned technological improvements, other more down-to-Earth issues are at stake: 1) understand users, their psychology and expectations to adequately answer their needs, and 2) reciprocally, for users to respond to a Smart City’s requirements, guiding them towards new habits.

 

 

Communicating is not influencing, proposing is not persuading Click To Tweet

 

A CRITICAL ROLE FOR BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES & NUDGES

 

photo main globe réseau

Understanding and predicting citizen’s behaviour is one thing. Favouring the adoption of new habits is another. Public projects commonly fail to stimulate citizens’ commitment mainly because communication agencies and public relations experts usually are unable to anticipate users’ psychology and behaviour. This is especially true for projects linked to waste recycling or sustainable energy use. Communicating is not influencing. Proposing is not persuading. Yet communication represents the launching platform for Smart City projects. It is not sufficient to provide recycling bins for citizens to use them. For guidelines to be followed, it is not sufficient to ask people to save water on a drought period, nor to save electricity during times of peak demand. The Smart City can eventually optimise our collective lifestyles if and only if users behave in a way that makes this optimisation possible. Without adherence or commitment from users, Smart Cities will simply fail.

 

The aim of a Smart City is by definition to promote efficient and sustainable collective interests. The question lies in how to translate these collective interests into individual motivations; without any effort of this sort, new habits promoted by the Smart City simply won’t be added to its citizens’ behavioural repertoires. There is a need for persuading users to modify their habits and adopt new ones. This can be achieved through associating the ergonomy of the Smart City to users’ psychology.

 

 

ENCOURAGING USER’S COMMITMENT & ADHERENCE

 

The good news is that behavioural sciences have uncovered many solutions intended to successfully influence behaviour: nudges, strategical communication, decision architecture or more traditional social psychology interventions all propose efficient techniques to encourage the creation of new norms and habits.

 

smart city behavioural sciencesIt does not come as a surprise that currently these disciplines are largely ignored by strategic planners and agencies. Indeed, these groups commonly tend to focus more on the aesthetic aspects of communication campaigns than on core messages and how they are framed. I argue that Smart Cities’ stakes are too high to ignore users’ psychology and not put it at the centre of the thinking process. Encouraging citizens to adopt new habits is a subtle and crucial process. Behavioural sciences genuinely provides necessary and reliable tools to make it a success.

 

In 2014, the governments of 51 countries worldwide were using or planning to use a range of behavioural science techniques, including nudges, for public innovation projects. In the UK for instance, David Cameron’s government set up a Behavioural Interventions Team from 2010 onwards.

 

These past initiatives now provide useful feedback about how Smart Cities can benefit from behavioural sciences’ techniques. Cities have a chance to be smart only if the professionals involved in their development rely on rigorous approaches and knowledge about how people think, take decisions and act. This represents a critical turning point for the creation of tomorrow’s user-powered and sustainable urban centres.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, public innovation, communication & customer experience. ANALYTICA is the creator of CogniSales and of CogniMenu, the first neuromarketing service of new-generation menu engineering aimed at improving restaurants’ sales.

 

 

Morgan DAVID psychologie marketing

Interview about neuromarketing with Morgan David

neuromarketing-Morgan-DAVID

 

I have recently been interviewed about neuromarketing by Salomé Ficarelli, a student of the master in Communication & Marketing of ISCOM in Lyon, France. Definition, techniques, examples, strengths, limits… everything you have ever wanted to know about neuromarketing without asking…! I leave you to discover the transcription of this interview and thank Salomé for soliciting me.

 

 

 

 

Salomé Ficarelli: Morgan David, who are you?

 

Morgan David: I am a behavioural sciences expert, with a PhD from the University of Burgundy (France) and the University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada). I have worked as an academic in several universities in France, Canada, the UK and Belgium. My research dealt with the factors influencing people’s behaviours and decisions in various contexts. I am the fonder and director of Analytica, a behavioural sciences-grounded consultancy company based in the UK and in France. I help my clients develop their services and products by taking into account how their customers’ brains work, how they make decisions and how they behave. My services rely on neuromarketing techniques, nudges, social psychology and other disciplines related to behavioural sciences.

 

 

“Taking customers’ psychology into account is an essential added value for companies to improve their margins and their benefits”

 

 

SF: Could you please, in a few sentences, tell us what neuromarketing is?

 

Morgan David: Not all professionals would give the same definition, depending on their expertise. As far as I am concerned, I consider neuromarketing as a technique used to promote a product or a service’s sales by taking advantage of scientific knowledge about how customers’ brains collect information, process it and take decisions. Neuromarketing sometimes uses advanced technology, like MRI or eye-tracking, mainly for marketing purposes and because clients fantasize quite a bit about those kinds of technique… But I would like to make two statements: 1) these techniques are rather descriptive and their efficiency quite limited. Is it sufficient to know where a customer places their attention to make a sale? The answer is no; and, 2) a vast array of knowledge from consumer psychology, cognitive and social psychology provides efficient techniques to profile customers, anticipate their decisions and their behaviour, so as to develop services and products that match their preferences and expectations. I personally tend to use these latter types of knowledge and techniques because they are based on evidence despite being neglected.

 

 

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Click on the image to read our article ‘What is neuromarketing?’

SF: On which tools and technology does neuromarketing rely on?

 

Morgan DAVID: Neuromarketing relies on the direct recording of brain activity (like MRIs), on physiological measures (such as skin conductance or eye tracking), or on techniques based on consumer and cognitive psychology. In this latter case, we adjust the environment and the context in which customers make choices and take decisions to promote specific products or services. Therefore, information about how the brain collects and processes information, and how it takes decisions, is essential to create an efficient sales strategy. Without it, we are just fishing for solutions following uncertain customer stereotypes. This is why it is important, in my opinion, to rely on knowledge and techniques that have been scientifically proven. As far as I am concerned, I only use techniques whose efficiency has been assessed in peer-reviewed articles published in international scientific journals.

 

 

SF: What are the benefits and limits of neuromarketing?

 

Morgan David: The added value of neuromarketing is high for companies. Take the example of these big American chains, like McDonalds or Starbucks. Whatever we think of them, these ventures have succeded because they have for a long time tried to understand how to attract customers, sell them products and encourage brand loyalty. And they did not do it by flipping a coin. They have asked behavioural experts to carefully think about these issues. Adopting a customer-centric approach by taking customers’ psychology into account is an essential added value for companies to improve their margins, their benefits, customers’ loyalty and to expand their market. Neuromarketing allows them to more accurately target a relevant sales’ strategy, from its conception to its development. I argue in favour of a trial and error framework to determine what works and what does not. Also, knowing how customers think and behave enables to be one jump ahead within this process.

            Talking about limits now, a large portion of customers’ behaviour still remains unknown. It is sometimes hard to identify which of several techniques is likely to be the most efficient. Customers are not robots. It is unrealistic, and ethically questionable, to think that people’s decisions and behaviour can be predicted with perfect accuracy. That is simply impossible! Neuromarketers are more successful than the average marketer because they work with large samples of people. Statistically speaking then, the techniques that we use, when grounded in experimental evidence, are likely to be more efficient than others, which then translates into concrete benefits for companies. Neuromarketers are not magicians! They use scientific techniques; that is, the objectively most efficient techniques currently available, to reach precise goals. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

 

“Neuromarketing allows companies to more accurately target a relevant sales’ strategy, from its conception to its development”

 

 

SF: Could you please provide concrete examples of neuromarketing applications?

 

Morgan David: As far as I am concerned, I can tell you about some examples related to webmarketing. I work on company websites, and more precisely on their composition, their organisation, the formulation of their offers and on the general website environment (what we usually call ‘atmospherics’) to improve conversion rates. It is highly efficient. The reason is that websites are almost never optimised from a customer-experience point of view. When we know how people’s brains work, it is rather easy to anticipate customer reactions, behaviours and decisions within the “confined” website environment. The way information is laid out and organised is key. I also am experienced in contributing to the development of physical shops. In this case I work on customer experience: people’s buying journey inside the shop, pricing optimisation, lights, music, the layout of products and the whole shopping environment. In consumer psychology, these parameters are known for impacting customers’ satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. I have also created a new-generation menu engineering service called ‘CogniMenu’, which aims to increase restaurants’ benefits by improving their menus and display boards.

 

 

SF: To end with, should we fear neuromarketing?

 

Morgan David: As I said earlier, the media and the general public fantasize quite a lot about neuromarketing. All that neuromarketing can do is to increase a product’s sales by a few percent. This is done by modifying some of its features according to customers’ preferences and expectations. Neuromarketing helps to increase margins, benefits and market shares. That’s all! It translates into lots of benefit for companies that wish to boost sales, but remains virtually impactless for customers. When neuromarketing increases customers’ average spending, it is by a few percent too. Customers cannot be manipulated as one pleases. I am often asked about manpulation: is neuromarketing manipulation? That is a very good question. I have seen TV documentaries in which companies were trying to hide somehow their use of neuromarketing techniques… From a social psychology point of view, any interaction can be manipulative. Manipulation consists of influencing others’ decisions to make them adopt behaviours they would not have adopted otherwise. This interview is a good example. In a sense, you have manipulated me to convince me to answer your questions. Asking your kids to set the table? That is manipulation. Inviting your friends for dinner? That is manipulation. And here comes the link with selling. Selling is manipulation by definition. This is because salespeople try to convince clients to buy their products by emphasizing the benefits of those products. Have you ever found a shop that does not promote its products? It would not last very long on the market. Advertisement is manipulation because it tries to convince customers to purchase a product or to buy a service. In conclusion, manipulation is not a bad thing in itself, as long as it does not harm the person who is being manipulated. If you rip customers off, that is both illegal and morally condemnable. That said, malpractices and dishonest salespeople have always existed, long before neuromarketing showed up. Any attempts to persuade, like advertisement and marketing have always done, can be considered as manipulation. Using knowledge about customers’ behaviour to persuade them better is not, in my opinion, any more morally reprehensible.