Some Basic Truths About Marketing

Some Basic Truths About Marketing
Know the customer is rule one whether you are marketing luxury goods or a low cost commodity. Yet, according to a leading consumer neuroscientist, brands fail every day to act upon some basic truths.

Like “women shop, men buy.”

And shoppers react more favorably to curves than they do to squared-off products and store displays.

And don’t ask the customer to do more than three things. If you do, he or she will bolt.

And offering an interesting fact to a consumer in a marketing message produces a dopamine rush that could lead to a sale.

These observations were shared this week in New York at a CMO Summit that was held during the National Retail Federation conference. I presented mobile learnings from the just concluded holiday season, but Nielsen’s A.K. Pradeep stole the show.

Pradeep is the founder and Chairman of Nielsen NeuroFocus, which has numerous patents for its advanced technologies and a blue-chip client list representing many Fortune 100 companies across dozens of categories. NeuroFocus became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nielsen in 2011.

More than funny, Pradeep was smart. According to him, each year a trillion dollars is spent on communicating to and persuading the human brain, yet few understand how the brain really works—what’s attractive to it, how it decides what it likes and doesn’t like, and how it chooses to buy or not buy the infinite variety of products and services presented to it every day.

Pradeep says that neuromarketing research is revealing a myriad of fascinating insights that help improve the effectiveness of every aspect of clients’ brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, advertising, and entertainment content.

He says the female brain has four times as many neurons connecting the right and left hemispheres, greatly enhancing its ability to process information through both rational and emotional filters—a fact that must not be ignored when crafting a message.

Among the five senses, vision is the most pronounced and the brain will discount information that is not in concert with the visual stimuli it receives. The sense of smell is quite powerful too, as it is the most direct route to emotions and memory storage. Being linked with a pleasant, iconic smell can significantly improve a product’s success in the marketplace.

Brains are also quite empathic, Pradeep believes, and it is a neural “monkey see; monkey do” mechanism that can help companies around the world create and market products and services that consumers will find naturally compelling.

Mirror neuron theory says that when someone watches an action being performed, he or she performs that action in his or her own brain. Activating this mirror neuron system is one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers.

Of course, Pradeep’s instruction works just as well for the small and medium sized business owner as it does to the marketer pushing $3,000 suits and mass market soft drinks.


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Some Basic Truths About Marketing