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Are your Competitors Using Neuromarketing to Steal Your Customers?

bill reed

By Bill Reed
Posted on September 2015 in Product Marketing

Neuromarketing works. The validation comes from such firms as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, Chevron, GM, Coca Cola, Protor & Gamble, Nestle, and PepsiCo, which have recently increased their neuromarketing investments. However, most of these companies are focusing on the Business to Consumer (B2C) side of the fence. What about Business to Business (B2B), especially for technology sales and marketing? Can neuromarketing make a difference?
The answer is absolutely yes. And if you’re not at least informed about this hot new marketing trend, you could wind up losing customers to competitors who are.

The Neuromarketing 2015 Yearbook, created by the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association (NMSBA), is filled with fascinating and powerful tips that almost any marketing or sales professional—whether B2C or B2B—can use to dramatically increase customer traction. For example, one article by Jeremy Smith is titled: “Four Facts About Decision-Making That Will Improve Conversion Rate Optimization.” One of these facts is called “narrow framing,” which discusses how we can narrow a customer’s choices, including the number of value propositions, to simplify the decision-making process. The right number is three, and there’s a brain-science reason why this is effective. Doing this in the right way can trump the competition every time.

Speaking of competitors, virtually every Sales Playbook includes competitive Battle Cards. Leading neuroscientists now confirm that the traditional approach may actually drive customers to your competitors. Knowing the right way to take on competitors, by leveraging neuromarketing techniques, can spell the difference between closing a deal rather than handing it to the other guy.

Research also shows that decisions are highly emotional, but not in the way we may have previously assumed. Technical marketers often spend massive amounts of copy explaining why their solutions are the best from a logical point of view. We’re 50% faster, we can save you 75%, our firm has won a billion awards so aren’t we the most logical choice? Smith explains that “emotions tend to cloud the decision-making process, which can either work to our advantage or against it. Your goal in conversion optimization is to stir up emotion.”

Neuroscientists have confirmed that we humans use three predominate parts of our brains to make decisions. The Neocortex is our logical part and responds best to numbers, facts, figures, and written words. However, as the Harvard Business Review states, “strong emotional activation is the key to success.” In the Review, Tim Ash explains that “people don’t often make rational decisions.” Therefore, we must balance our marketing and sales messaging with the right type of emotional triggers. Our emotional Limbic System, however, responds best to specific types of pictures, graphics, and visual stimuli. Employing the right ones can make all the difference in converting customers into buyers.

Another article, by Thai Nguyen, is titled “You’ll Market Better and Be More Persuasive Knowing These 10 Brain Facts.” Nguyen tells us that “the most effective products don’t address problems, they solve them.” Knowing how to use the right neuroscience-based approach to do this can increase customer traction dramatically. Says Nguyen, “Compliance comes with satisfying that neurological and intellectual buyer hunger for solutions.”

Loss aversion is another excellent neuromarketing technique. The term is not new, but neuroscientists now understand that our Reptilian Brain, which is driven entirely by instincts, is often the final “decision maker” in a sales situation. Says Nguyen, “Savvy marketers always address what the customer stands to lose if they don’t purchase, not just what they gain.” Doing this in the right way is paramount to success. Doing this in the wrong way is often a major reason why a sales is lost.

Another powerful technique employed by neuromarketers is the “contrast effect.” This is a great way to denigrate the competition and take them off the table without ever mentioning their name or using a Battle Card. Last but definitely not least is the “power of stories.” Top sales professionals know that facts tell and stories sell. Dr. Paul Zak confirmed this in a study wherein his team monitored the release of the molecule oxytocin, which stimulates feelings of love. Dr. Zak discovered that vendor solutions could actually evoke a loving response—similar to that displayed for loved ones—when the sales message was framed within a properly structured story. This works when the story is told using the right kind of framework and approach, such as the 3-Act Play format.

I’ve outlined just a few examples above to show how neuromarketing is transforming the way B2B sales and marketing professionals sell and message to customers. If you’d like to discover how neuroscience can transform your sales and marketing approach, ask us about our Vector Neuron-Selling and Neuron-Messaging workshops. In one-half day, for less than half the cost of most white papers, you’ll learn how to more than double your impact and customer traction.

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