business

How to Neuromarket the Proper Way

neuromarketing

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

What is neuromarketing?

For the uninitiated, Neuromarketing is a field of research that studies the subconscious habits and responses of consumers. This is done through a mix of psychology and controlled experiments using machines like fMRI’s which scan the subject’s brain.

In his book Brainfluence (which we highly recommend), Roger Dooley cites that around 90% of consumer decisions are made at the subconscious level. That means that the “common sense” approach to marketing is not the most prudent strategy. In fact, many of these studies show how unpredictable we as consumers really are. 

NEuromarketing: Know the Data

It goes without saying that living in a data vacuum will not help you take advantage of the “90%.” Sites like Marketing Sherpa and books like Brainfluence or The Buying Brain are great places to start. A mix of psychology and quantitative data are the two ingredients required to concoct an elixir of marketing success. 

NEUROMARKETING: Apply and Monitor

Business does not occur in a controlled setting. Just because an experiment showed that consumers preferred water over juice, does not mean they will choose water over juice in your market setting. Variables are numerous and often unpredictable especially in a business environment.

What did they eat before the experiment? What was the temperature of the lab? Is your presentation the same as in the experiment’s? 

If you think a Neuromarketing statistic will help your business, try it out but monitor it closely. If things aren’t happening as planned, experiment with different variables. AB test in small samplings before choosing to overhaul your entire business strategy. Tamper with variables and find out what succeeds. Many email marketers for example, will experiment with changing just a couple of words to see how it affects engagement. If they find response trends, they will use those findings in their future email campaigns. 

Neuromarketing Application Tips:

In 2012 The New York Times published a piece by MP Mueller from the Ad Agency Door Number 3. Mueller sat down with the French researcher Christophe Morin who offered these six steps to extract pain from the marketing to sale process.

1. Don’t use the word “we” or start off your pitch with a corporate overview that lasts 10 minutes. Focus instead on how to relieve your customers’ pain. Our brains are extremely self-centered, and we care most about our own survival.
2. About 10,000 messages are sent to our brains daily, so get to the point. “When you sell to the lower brain structure, you must say, ‘This is your life with our product or service, this is your life without,’” Mr. Morin said. He cited a successful campaign that helped a client that was selling home flood remediation services to major insurance companies. The campaign featured a traveling exhibit that showed a flooded home and how the company had mastered the art of drying home interiors. “The reptilian brain gets very stimulated by this kind of disruption. Stay away from, “We are one of the leading providers.” It’s the marketing equivalent of sugar — empty calories.
3. Make your points visual. Remember the “See and Say” books from childhood? Don’t just tell; show. “We are visual people, and the eyes are directly connected to the reptilian brain,” he said.
4. Stay concrete and make it tangible. The primal brain isn’t able to understand complex language or metaphors. As much as we love word play, if it’s too complicated, it doesn’t get processed by the parts of us that make decisions. Creating ads with facial expressions is good. “Facial expressions help us decode what people’s intentions are,” he said.
5. Gain attention quickly in your advertising or marketing and make sure you have a strong close. The brain pays the most attention at the beginning and end of an event. It’s important because the brain needs to recap and store.
6. Use emotion. It creates disruption, a contrast with what we expect — surprise, laughter, fear, disgust, anger, it really doesn’t matter. If there is emotion, we are more likely to remember the message. Nothing happens in the brain unless some chemical process has found a code to create memories. To create a memorable brand, therefore, you have to use emotional connectors in your advertising. Don’t just give your audience the facts, tell them how it will make their lives better and solve their pain.

NEUROMARKETING: Use Your Compass

We don’t want to make you think that Neuromarketing is akin to Luke Skywalker’s use of the force. But it is and can be a powerful tool. Don’t use any types of tactics you wouldn’t want to be used on you. Remember your job is to provide value—not to deceive. After all value is the bridge builder of trust, and trusting your brand is the first step a consumer makes on the path to becoming a customer.

Is your inner nerd begging for more information about Neuromarketing?

For more answers to "What is neuromarketing?" and "How to apply neuromarketing principles?" check out Patrick Renvoise's Tedx Talk:

Winning Fall Strategies for Your Business Type

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The weather is cooling, the leaves are transforming and your favorite coffee shops and craft breweries are all releasing their pumpkin-flavored concoctions. And depending on the type of business you run, your strategy may be changing up in a major way.

While not all of these strategies will work for your individual business, these general guidelines will. 

If you run a product-based business 

Whether you manufacture and sell your own line of organic jams or savvily source garage sales for items to resale on eBay, you’re probably gearing up for the most wonderful (and profitable!) time of the year. 

Business wisdom says that eCommerce sellers should begin preparing for the holiday season as soon as the last holiday season is over. But even if you’re just now getting in the mood for holiday cheer, consider these fall business moves: 

Get the timing right

“Fall” may not feel like the holidays to you, but consumers are doing their shopping sooner than ever. Be sure your store is ready for the holiday season as early as September! 

Stock up on best sellers

Read the industry trend reports and stock up on inventory. The last thing you want this holiday season is to have customers clamoring for an item you can’t get your hands on. 

Revamp your website

Spruce up your website for the holidays. You’re your predicted best sellers easy to find, add suggested secondary items or even include gift-wrapping as an option. Be sure to widely publicize the things that customers want to know, like holiday shipping cut off dates and the best way to reach customer service. 

Consider discounts and promotions

The holiday season can be a cutthroat retail environment. Consider discounts, promotions, special offers for signing up for email lists and more to keep customers clicking “buy now.” 

Line up extra help

Make sure you’ll have all the help you need sourcing, fulfilling orders, shipping and answering customer service queries. 

Know your numbers

It isn’t enough to simply make lots of sales. You want to make sure that Q4 is a profitable one. Make sure your products are priced competitively but profitably. If you’ve been in business more than one year, try pulling your weekly profit and loss reports from last year and then set yourself a goal to beat those numbers! 

The holiday season can be a nerve-wracking time for year for a product seller. But a little planning and forethought can make it an extremely successful one, too! If you run a service-based business

Service-based business owners sometimes run into the opposite problem than their product-selling counterparts. Many clients wind down around Thanksgiving and don’t pick up again until after the New Year. Others, who might operate on the calendar year, simply run out of budget to hire service providers. 

That’s not to say that seasonal or holiday-based service providers won’t experience a banner winter. Imagine how much a plumber could charge to come out and fix backed up sink for a house full of family on Christmas Eve! 

If you do find your business winding down around the fall, though, try these strategies:

Invest in marketing or advertising

Now is the time to start that Twitter account or buy that ad on the website where your target audience hangs out. 

Sharpen up your skills

Take a class or learn a new skill to supplement your business for when things pick back up in January. 

Follow up with past customers

It’s much easier to keep a customer than find a new one. Let past customers know that you are available. 

Beef up your network

Now is the time to catch up with old friends, clients and colleagues, whether over email, coffee or dinner. You’ll have a more flexible schedule and they just might have some work to send your way. 

Rest

If you consistently see slowdown at a certain time of year, perhaps this is the time to plan for your vacation or sabbatical. Save up throughout the year to cover gaps in cash flow and let loose a little! 

Three Business Tips for Ending the Year Wisely

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By Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com

Three short months separate us from the end of 2014, and most businesses have begun to prep for the end of the year. But ramping up stock and staff to deal with the holiday rush shouldn’t be the only jobs on your to-do list. There is a right way, and a wrong way, to end the year. Instead of focusing solely on operations for the rest of the year, give a little attention to other facets of your company and take the steps necessary to start 2015 strong by… 

Getting a handle on your taxes

If your fiscal year ends in December, your fourth quarter estimated payment isn’t due until January 15th, and your returns don’t have to be filed until April 15th. However, a little bit of work right now will make the tax season less stressful. Get all of your books in order and review what estimated payments you have been sending in. Compare that to your actual quarterly earnings and make sure you’ve been sending in enough to cover your tax burden. Getting your financial records in order will also make the end of the year meeting with your accountant much more productive, as they’ll have to spend less time tracking inconsistencies in your finances. 

Updating your company 

Take a long, hard look at your business – check out your office, your site, your storefront, your logo, your operating software. Does everything look good? Does it work well? Or is it time to update? After you review your finances, see if you have any extra money to invest it back into your business by buying new office furniture, polishing your site, or investing in your company’s IT. In fact, you could recover all, or at least part, of the cost of qualified purchases in next year’s tax return! 

Protecting your business and property

Filing paperwork with the state and federal government probably isn’t high on your to-do list, but if you haven’t filed to protect your intellectual property or to form a separate business entity, you are putting your business, and your own well being, at risk. Too many small businesses put off filing because they see themselves as insignificant – no one would ever want to steal their logo or sue them. But that’s a pretty destructive attitude, and you certainly don’t want to look back and regret not forming an LLC or filing a trademark. With that said, if you have put off incorporating or forming an LLC until the end of the year, consider a delayed filing. The end of the year is one of the busiest times for state offices, and opting for a delayed filing will put your paperwork at the top of next year’s applications. Plus if your file goes through before the end of the year, you could be on the hook for your state’s 2014 fees, even though your business entity only existed through the last few months of the year. 

Now the end of the year is always a busy time for business owners, but a few small changes during these last few months could really help prepare your company for next year. Take a little bit of time to review your finances before meeting your accountant, invest any extra money back into your business, and file the forms necessary to protect your intellectual and personal property. This may seem like a lot of work, but if you break it up into manageable chunks, you’ll be in a great position to start 2015. 

About the Author: 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

Please note that KPMG Spark’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG Spark.