Consumer Buying Behaviour

Following on from the previous blog about Neuromarketing, I thought I’d write a little bit about buying behaviour. Neuromarketing has provided many insights into consumer trends because it allows researchers to monitor unconscious desires. Our buying behaviour is motivated by unconscious desires, which is why we are often unaware of what drives us to make a purchase.

One concept that helps explain buying behaviour is to think of the mind consisting of three separate parts, that have developed independently throughout evolution and often conflict with each other. For example, although humans have a greater capacity for logical deduction than most creatures, our more primitive “emotional mind” can override logical decision making in some situations.

The three “minds” that are described in this model are the “human” mind (responsible for logic, language and learning); the “mammalian” mind (responsible for emotions and memory) and the “reptilian” mind (responsible hunger and self preservation). There is a lot of overlap with the “mammalian” and “reptilian” minds, so to simplify things, we can combine these two into the “old brain” and contrast them against the “new” (human) brain.

Although more primitive and emotional, the “old” brain is the primary decision maker for most of our purchases. What this means is that appealing to emotion rather than logic is likely to have a greater chance of making a successful sale. Think of any TV ad you have seen recently - does it provide a rational sales pitch or does it use a series of emotionally loaded images and sounds to present its product?

The emotional response to brands is another example of how rationality looses out to emotion when making product choices. I know that I would probably not be able to tell the difference between the taste of Coke and Pepsi, but I will always buy Coke because I prefer the brand. This is a clearly emotional response.

Appealing to people’s emotions rather than their sense of logic will help improve your marketing efforts. Tomorrow, I will provide more information about how best to do this…

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