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Primal Purchase Decisions

Quick… Double Stuff Oreos or Chips Ahoy? Cheer or Tide? Pepsi or Coke? You’ve already decided before you decided.

New breakthroughs in EEG (Electroencephalography), which is the study of brain electrical circuitry and raw computer processing power, is shedding light on how and why you buy. Welcome to neuromarketing.

It has long been accepted that purchases are emotionally driven and tracking the brains’ electrical impulses during that decision has uncovered some pretty amazing discoveries. Not only are purchases emotional, they originate from the very core of our thoughts… an area that has been labeled “the old brain.”

The theory is the “old brain” controls our primal instincts such as survival, pleasure, pain and procreation. It also can quickly access life experiences and formulate an impulse without any help from the “new brain”, which controls our consciousness.

In essence, studies are pointing to the fact that purchase decisions are made at very low-level brain function. In fact, neuromarketing research is showing evidence that purchases are made on a subconscious level. This probably explains why your wife has so many shoes, or why your husband is lusting over a bass boat.

Based on what has been discovered, here are some things that you can do to attract the “old brain” and give yourself a leg up on competition.

First, KISS. Your primal core shuts down when it senses overload. Make your communications quick and to the point. In a world of advertising messages every 10 seconds, you have to boil your communication message down to its bare essentials.

Second, appeal to novelty or simple puzzles (we’re not talking a 1,000 jigsaw puzzle). Very simple, easy to figure out tasks. Interestingly enough, David Ogily was reported to have said, “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”  He may have not been very far off the mark.

Third, appreciate how your target audience relates to your product. A macho father wants to know how quickly the Mustang Cobra can go from 0 to 60mph. The nurturing mother wants to know how safe it is in a crash.

Fourth, take time and learn. Neuromarketing isn’t a silver bullet that unlocks the solution to mindless drone sales. On the other hand, it is too important to ignore.

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