Applying Neuromarketing to Improve Business Results

On February 21, 2012

Although I didn’t attend the break out called “The Neuromarketing Chain of Techniques and Business” at Neuromarketing World Forum (2nd day), as I participated at the “Roundtable for Neuromarketing Education & Communication”, I was able to watch the video recording of this session thanks to
Patrick S. Renvoise (Chief Neuromarketing Officer at SalesBrain) together with Antonio Casals Mimbrero (Partner at SalesBrain, Associate Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra) had a presentation on the implication of neuromarketing in business (and how to significantly increase the effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns). As he remarked, Gerald Zaltman (Marketing Professor at Harvard University) said that marketing does not work because when you ask your customers what do they want, they don’t actually know. But by using neuromarketing techniques (facial decoding, eye tracking, voice analysis, skin conductance, EEG, fMRI), researchers ask their brains what do they want.

Patrick Renvoise

Patrick Renvoise and the brain

Research involves capturing the data, analyzing it through the black box, and generate findings that will be used in business decisions. The limits around the business model built on neuromarketing research are: the fact that the black box is kept as a secret by each neuromarketing company, ethical issues, applicability, time consuming (not real time testable), not always affordable, not so accessible as science (needs knowledge from both neuroscience and marketing).
He also presented the Coca Cola vs. Pepsi experiment (at Baylor College of Medicine, using fMRI and 67 subjects) (you can read it in this article: McClure S M, Li J, Tomlin D, Cypert K R, Montague L M, Montague P R (2004) Neural correlates of behavioral preference for culturally familiar drinks. Neuron 44: 379-387)
Applied neuromarketing
Using knowledge on how a certain stimuli in the brain provides a certain response, they developed a model of predictability that can be used in order to trigger the “yes” from the consumer. In order to decide, people use 3 brains (from high level to low level):

  • Neocortex – processes rational information (reacts in 0.5 s)
  • Middle Brain – processes emotions
  • Reptilian Brain – responsible for instinct (brain of reflexes, reacts in 2 ms)

He emphasized that, as Antonio Damasio said, the lower levels of the brain have a higher impact on the decision that the higher levels of the brain (also, the impact of the reptilian brain on the neocortex is greater than the impact of the neocortex on the reptilian brain). Also, the old brain doesn’t need segmentation, as people have the same needs for survival.
In order to investigate what knowledge on customer preferences can be derived from neuromarketing research, he presented the stimuli that trigger the reptilian brain:

  • self-centered (the reptilian brain is selfish, “it’s all about me, me, me”);
  • contrast (allows making decisions);
  • tangible (the reptilian brain does not understand intangible concept);
  • beginning & end (recency effect);
  • visual (“the input device known as the eye, has a direct connection to the reptilian brain” – the optic nerve plugs into the reptilian brain, so we experience the world with the eyes, before the neocortex); also, the optic nerve is 40 times faster than the nerve from the ears to the brain; so the optic nerve has a “high bandwidth connection” between the eyes and the key decision maker in the brain – the reptilian brain;
  • emotional (triggers the reptilian brain) – Patrick Renvoise summarized Antonio Damasio’s book “Decartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain” in one sentence: We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think, once in a while. Emotions are not optional, they are the basic fuel that the brain needs to make decisions. Rational decisions don’t exist, rational thoughts are the product of emotions.

At SalesBrain, they have mapped these 6 stimuli into 4 business steps:

  1. diagnosing the pain of the prospect (because people are self-centered) – to find out what motivates me to make a certain decision
  2. differentiating the claims (enhance the contrast)
  3. demonstrating the gain (that the value provided weights more than the cost – marketing people should make this gain equation understood by the customers, in a tangible way)
  4. delivering the message to the reptilian brain (using all six stimuli)

All this information was transferred into a business model (NeuroMap), as SalesBrain tries to make people understand what would be the value of having a model of marketing in sales, a model which is anchored in neuroscience. Below you can have a look on this model:

NeuroMap - The World's First Neuromarketing Model

NeuroMap – The World’s First Neuromarketing Model

This model already received Vistage “Above and Beyond” 2008 Annual Speaker Award and American Marketing Association 2009 “Next Big Thing in Marketing” Award (2007 AMA recipient: YouTube).
At the end of the presentation, Patrick Renvoise went all over again through the list of limits in neuromarketing research, and emphasized that there are no limits in applied neuromarketing, as their model is available (in his book, Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain), ethics toward the consumer are not taken into discussion (as the consumer has access to this model and can read about it); the model is semi-empirical and always refined, as although it is based on neuroscience research, they also made assumptions based on experience; the model is very applicable (you don’t need neuroimaging), you just use the general rules of how the stimuli generates certain responses; it is affordable (the model is free, published); it is real time testable and accessible.
Although it was not proven yet, Renvoise considers that the subconsciousness resides more at the level of the reptilian brain, than it resides at the level of the neocortex. As a conclusion, the reptilian brain is the decision maker, the neocortex is just the decision influencer!

SalesBrain is the world’s first neuromarketing coaching company that radically alters your sales message to push the buy button in your customer’s brain. SalesBrain utilizes the latest neuroscience studies to improve your sales process, people and performance. By aligning your marketing department with your sales team you are able to accelerate your sales cycle and improve your close ratios. SalesBrain has been accurately targeting the brain’s buy button since 2002 and has trained over 25,000 people worldwide.

At the conference, I was happy to meet and speak to four people from SalesBrain: Patrick Renvoise (Chief Neuromarketing Officer), Christophe Morin (Chief Pain Officer), Saleem Shafi (UK Partner) and Antonio Casals Mimbrero (Spain Partner).

Here you have the video recording of this session, from

4 Responses to “Applying Neuromarketing to Improve Business Results”

  • Reblogged this on innov + mkt + brands + creativity + strategy + people + r&d (in progress) and commented:
    Um artigo muito interessante sobre como podemos utilizar o neuromarketing para melhorar os resultados.

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