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Everything you need to know about neuromarketing in B2B

As a buzzword, ‘neuromarketing’ just keeps on cropping up in marketing circles. Jess Pike goes beyond the theoretical to find out how it really works in practice – and what it could do for your next big campaign

So what is it?

According to Professor Joe Devlin, head of experimental psychology at UCL, the meaning of the term is widely debated. “To me, neuromarketing is the idea that you can apply neuroscience techniques to better understand consumer behaviour,” he explains. “And by far one of the most popular techniques is EEG, which allows you to measure brain waves, and fMRI, a type of MRI scan.”

And how much does it cost?

Collecting the data for fMRI scans costs around £500-£700 an hour, says Professor Devlin, with a reasonable study costing a six-figure sum and a minimum of six months to complete. An EEG costs a lot less: £10k to £20k depending on the size and scope of the study. Of course, the cheapest alternative would be a focus group – or eye-tracking study – although neither would be classed as neuromarketing under Professor Devlin’s definition.

Who’s doing it well?

Sadly neuromarketing remains the domain of B2C brands – think Sony’s melon-scented flagship store or London Underground’s penchant for classical music, which has been proven to reduce both robberies and assaults on staff. But in recent years, some B2B brands have got involved with neuromarketing: Microsoft, for example, uses EEG data to understand users’ interactions with its laptops.

Empathy map

How can you get started?

Even though an fMRI study can sit outside marketing budgets, there are other ways in which you can analyse your customer’s buying behaviours, as neuromarketing expert Jill Quick points out. “I like using the customer empathy map (above), a tool used in UX land but which can help marketers punch up their personas a level,” she explains. “By having a better understanding of your customers, and doing some UX and eye tracking (which can cost under £100 with SaaS platforms like Crazy Egg and you can start to look at your creative in a whole new way.”

Indeed, by delving into customer insight you might find yourself asking whether music would work best on your company video or whether textured material could make your DM more memorable – your campaign (and its outcome) could be transformed as a result.

How is neuromarketing changing as a measurement tool?

According to Daryll Scott, director of human technology at digital agency Lab, recent years have seen biometrics improve and become more irrefutable than neurometrics. “Biometrics measure physical reactions such as sweat response (a polygraph), attention focus (eye tracking) and emotion (facial coding),” he explains. “And I believe the future of neuromarketing is more biometrics then neurometrics.”