CFO World

Finder: Subconscious drives 95 per cent of purchasing decisions

Neuromarketing is a must if brands are going to better tap into the minds of consumers, says the online site's marketing leader
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google-brain-100664138-orig.jpg

People’s subconscious drives 95 per cent of their purchasing decisions.

This is not necessarily something marketers want to hear, but true nonetheless, said Arron Child, head of neuromarketing at Finder, at the recent ADMA Global Forum. Understanding the subconscious and how it works can lead to the ability to better predict outcomes, he said, which is where neuromarketing can assist.

Neuromarketing uses insights about the brain and human behaviour to drive marketing strategies and decisions. It uses three lenses: Neuroscience, which shows how the brain has evolved over millions of years and stores and processes information; behavioural economics, which is how the brain finds shortcuts to make decisions; and psychology, which is about feelings and emotions.

“When you use the same insights and data as your competitors, you’re basically using luck. This started a quest to understand how the subconscious processes information, stores information, drives decisions, and why some things are more memorable than others,” Child said.

“What happens is information is interpreted through our subconscious first, and then reinterpreted through our conscious minds. We can’t help but read what’s in the front of us and it take effort for us to make decisions beyond that."

This is because the brain interprets 11 million bits of information every second, but the conscious mind can only interpret 40 bits of information every second. So the way information is presented determines how it is acted upon.

“We know the number of options presented to us impacts the way we make decisions. Something like decision paralysis is caused by the presentation of too many options, because then there can be a lot of wrong answers so people would rather not make a decision at all," Child continued. “We can see this in the price decoy effect, or how limits affect purchasing behaviour. If you put a limit on the amount someone can buy, they buy more than they ordinarily would.

“We know we are not very good at saving money for retirement, it rates about the same as giving money to a stranger as we have no empathy with our future selves. But when researchers aged a photo of a person to 70 years old, and suddenly they could empathise with their future selves and make the right decisions.”

Child said it is important to make an emotional connection because all decisions are made emotionally. In fact, emotional ads outperform rational ads in every single business sector.

“Research shows you have to show a brand four times in 30 second TVC to achieve brand recall. You also need to inject a brand into the ad at the highest point of the emotional journey, which also leads to brand recall.

“There is also the power of associations. We have 100 billion brain cells in our heads, and when you think of something, the brain searches through all that data and comes up with the most relevant answer.”

Child went on to say people feel loss twice as much as wins, and we are hardwired to find and improve social status, and are constantly comparing ourselves with others. That being said, neuromarketing is not a magic cure.   

“We can draw people’s attention and interest towards something, but it’s up to the brand to fulfil that promise. People are savvy.”

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