The Brain Series - Understand how your ideal customer thinks
Oct 26, 2022
The first thing you need to know about the brain is that it's very lazy. It doesn't want to process billions of pieces of information simultaneously, so it relies on schemas or models to perform various tasks, such as walking, playing a sport, or making decisions. The brain has developed two systems: system one, which is fast, automated, and mostly unconscious, relying on previous experiences, and system two, a conscious system that is rarely activated unless we're engaged in a task that requires our attention.
Although these systems, especially system one, have evolved to make us more efficient and think less, they also make our thinking irrational and often flawed. For instance, we estimate probabilities based on our memories, associate blue with cold, and believe that attractive individuals are more intelligent. These examples demonstrate the use of heuristics, stereotypes, and cognitive biases that our brain employs daily to make decisions.
The second crucial aspect of the brain is the role of emotions. Emotions play a central role in decision-making and the formation of schemas. For example, if I have a fear of flying, I will likely choose to drive, even for long distances, despite statistical advice to the contrary. How does this relate to purchasing intentions?
Purchasing intentions are predominantly conscious decisions, heavily influenced by system one. They are often based on quick and simple thoughts and rely on schemas. We are frequently unaware of our emotions when making a purchase. But how does this knowledge apply to marketing research?
Unfortunately, conventional market research often reinforces existing conclusions rather than testing or exploring new possibilities. By focusing on our assumptions, we prevent ourselves from gaining a true understanding of our customers. Knowing that customers prefer option A over B is not sufficient. Traditional market research can answer questions about what, how, and when a specific purchase intention was made, but it lacks the "why" aspect, which is crucial for a comprehensive understanding.
Neuromarketing allows us to investigate the biological, psychological, and social factors that underlie the mental activity of our customers. Each step of the customer journey involves cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components. Understanding how each component influences every stage of the journey empowers us to employ the appropriate psychological mechanisms to motivate customers successfully, ensuring they proceed to the next step and ultimately complete a specific action.