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Morgan DAVID

Interview about neuromarketing with Morgan David

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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.

 

 

image bar menu engineering

What is menu engineering?

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Your restaurant’s menu is your number 1 generator of sales. Menus and display boards have unexploited sales potential which menu engineering can optimise. Largely ignored by traditional marketers, this innovative tool generates a substantial improvement in restaurants’ average orders and margins. What is menu engineering, then? And how does it work?

 

 

Menu engineering is a technique that reinvents restaurants’ menus and display boards to optimise their sales. We are not talking about replacing current meals, their composition, or the restaurant’s philosophy! Chefs and restaurant owners are the best people to propose meals and services that suit their vision, while menu engineering uses neuromarketing, price optimisation and customer-experience. Once employed, these techniques lead to a powerful and efficient change in a menu’s structure, its layout and the way pieces of information are displayed on it.

 

Previous-generation menu engineering aims to categorize different meals and beverages based on their contribution margin and their popularity. This way you can easily identify the most profitable meals and also those that require more selling effort.

 

figure menu engineering

 

Yet, it is essential to go beyond this limited phase of identification to apply a corresponding tactic that will improve your margins and average orders. How can new-generation menu engineering improve these two essential dimensions of your profits? By developing and reinventing your menu and display boards through four tactics:

 

 

1/ PRICE OPTIMISATION

 

Optimising prices allows you to increase margins and to avoid losing sales opportunities. Decreasing the price of a meal does not automatically translate into more sales. Conversely, raising the price of a meal will not automatically decrease sales. Fast-food and gourmet restaurants follow different rules regarding pricing strategy and price presentation. By carefully analysing any meals’ profitability to determine a price optimisation tactic, you will 1) reach a wider variety of clients, and 2) avoid losing sales opportunities and revenue related to sub-optimal pricing.

 

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Discover CogniMenu, the 1st new-generation menu engineering service in the UK!

 

2/ NEUROMARKETING

 

So far you have improved margins by optimising prices. The second step will consist of guiding your customers towards the most profitable meals and beverages. To this end, neuromarketing is crucial for your price optimisation strategy to be a success. Also called ‘customer psychology’, neuromarketing uses the way our brain takes decisions to guide your customers in their choice of a meal. By increasing the popularity of meals with the highest margins, neuromarketing generates higher profits. This is achieved through reinventing the way information is laid out on your menus and display boards, and through improving their structure.

 

 

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3/ STRUCTURE

The structure of your menu or display boards is the cornerstone of your menu engineering strategy. Price optimisation and neuromarketing requires restructuring your menu to achieve efficiency. The structure and organisation of your menu are crucial to guide your customers in their choice of meals. A carefully-built structure will also contribute to a better customer experience.

 

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4/ CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

 

Unsatisfactory customer experience results in less sales and missed repeat business. I better repeat this twice for emphasis: you need to understand your customers’ needs to please them and generate successful sales. For these reasons your menu has to follow basic ergonomic principles. For example, information on your menu and boards must be displayed in a way that customers’ brains will process with ease and accuracy. That may sound simple, but many menus and display boards are nothing but puzzles to be solved by your customers. Most menus do not anticipate customers’ queries and automatic reasoning. The fluency with which information can be explored by your customers is a crucial determinant of their satisfaction.

 

menu engineering font

 

Are the menus or display boards of your restaurant optimised? Find out with the brand-new and FREE tool developed for you by CogniMenu, the 1st new-generation menu engineering service in the UK! Click here or on the link below to analyze your menu!

www.cabinet-analytica.fr/en/assess-your-menu/

 

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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 marketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, and CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service.

 

 

logo CogniMenu menu engineering

CogniMenu: an innovative service to boost UK restaurants’ sales

Restaurants commonly have two options to increase their benefits: to reduce their costs or to increase the amount of the average order. Building on the latter option, CogniMenu genuinely boosts restaurants’ sales with an innovative, yet simple and efficient solution that uses neuromarketing techniques.

 

 

Proposing good products does not automatically translate into effective sales. This is true in the catering and hospitality sectors as well as in many others. As passionate as the chef can be, and as delighted as clients might feel, managing sales effectively is of utmost importance to a restaurant owner. This requires anticipating and responding appropriately to customers’ expectations and behaviour which is an aspect of the selling process that is all too often missed by restaurant managers. Not much of a surprise, given that restaurant owners cannot simultaneously be chefs, managers, salespeople and marketers…

 

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Based on these statements, CogniMenu has been created to help restaurant managers access a hitherto unexplored source of profit: their menu!

 

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

From our experience virtually no menus are optimised in a way to make the best of what restaurants offer. Generating benefits through sorting out these lost sales opportunities is what CogniMenu provides.

 

CogniMenu uses the latest techniques from neuromarketing to anticipate customers’ psychology and behaviour, thus improving their experience as well as increasing restaurants’ profits.

 

The good news is that these techniques are easily applicable and very efficient: we reinvent the structure, organisation and presentation of menus, the labelling of meals, and optimise prices. For example, carefully laying out meals under several sub-categories can improve orders and sales up to 25%. Also, improved meal labelling can increase sales by 27%!

 

CogniMenu brochure first page

 

CogniMenu’s process of sales’ improvement goes through the following three steps:

1) We identify priorities, objectives and opportunities to be explored with the restaurant manager

2) We provide a new optimised version of the restaurant’s menu.

3) You enjoy a rise in both your clients’ average order and your average margins.

 

In addition, personal support in the application of an individualised and powerful sales marketing strategy can be offered.

 

 

Optimising menus to boost sales is easily applicable and a common technique in some countries, like the US. In the UK though, there is not any innovative service like CogniMenu!

 

To find out more about CogniMenu:

Web page: www.cabinet-analytica.fr/en/cognimenu_uk/

Email address: morgan.david@cabinet-analytica.fr

Twitter: @CogniMenu_UK

Phone: +33 651 402 001

 

What is neuromarketing?

Offering great services and great products is rarely enough to generate sales. The reason for this lies in our brain. As functional as it is, our brain does not always act in a rational way!

 

 

 

Our brain uses precise rules when collecting, processing information and eventually taking decisions. Neuromarketing consists of taking into account these decision rules, along with the way our brain works, to optimise customer experience and encourage purchases. Emphasis can thus be put on products and services that provide you with the highest margins and profits.

 

Neuromarketing is not magical! Techniques used are based on rigorous scientific evidence from psychology, and their efficiency has been proven to improve selling strategy. Neuromarketing is a great, reliable and efficient tool to increase sales, margins, and your customers’ satisfaction and loyalty.

 

SOME EXAMPLES

 

  • One of the most famous examples of neuromarketing are prices ending with the number 9. Labelling a product at £49 will appear more cost-effective in customers’ eyes and generate more sales than the same product labelled at £50. This is true, but not in every case. It has been proven that a price ending with zero, such as £50, increases customers’ quality perception of the corresponding product, thereby increasing purchase intent. Context indeed matters: a technique that is efficient to boost sales at a given point of purchase may not be as efficient at another one. It is neuromarketing experts’ work to adjust these techniques in a subtle and individualized way as a function of your needs and of your business’ peculiarities.

 

  • Another application consists of taking into account the way our brain makes choices: we mostly compare different options in a relative way, rarely an absolute way. For instance, a pair of shoes labelled at £40 will be perceived as a more of a deal when compared with another pair labelled at £50, than when compared with a third one at £30, and when on its own. This effect can be used to promote products and favour their purchase.

 

 

Neuromarketing and consumer psychology applied to packaging

 

 

  • Another technique linked to pricing consists of splitting the cost of a service to increase client loyalty. It has for instance been shown that people paying a monthly membership to a gym trained more regularly than people paying membership on an annual basis. Annual memberships decreased loyalty to the gym and to the brand, but also the consumption of side-products, such as food, drinks and sports equipment, sold in the facilities. In this situation, a monthly membership strategy seems like a more beneficial pricing strategy.

 

 

“Neuromarketing is an efficient and easily applicable tool to boost sales”

 

 

Again, what is relevant and efficient for one business might not be the same for another one. The act of buying is known as being psychologically ‘painful’ for customers. Reducing the number of buying instances should in some cases be favoured. For instance, insurance companies could provide their clients with offers including several options at a given price rather than enabling them to add costly options separately.

 

To conclude, neuromarketing is an efficient and easily applicable tool to boost sales. Its associated techniques, when applied by experts, will lead to major improvements in customers’ satisfaction and loyalty, and increases in profits and margins.

 

 

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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 is the creator of CogniSales and of CogniMenu, the first neuromarketing service of new-generation menu engineering aimed at improving restaurants’ sales.