Inbound Unwound - Marketing Insights

The Smelly Side Of Neuromarketing: Enticing Your Prospects’ Noses

Posted by Mike Lieberman, Chief Inbound Scientist

Wed, May 8, 2013

Inbound NeuroMarketing: Sense Of Smell It’s not your prospects’ responsibility to know what they want and need. As marketers, CEOs and entrepreneurs, it’s our job to not only know our prospects pains, but also to show the rational and emotional reasons that our products and services solve or ease these pains. Welcome to the third post in our ongoing neuromarketing blog discussion.

At this point it's time to really dive deep into the "neuro" part of neuromarketing and explore what makes your prospects’ brains make purchase decisions.

Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding, talks about the difference between what we think and what we think we think: “Our conscious minds are designed to think up stories to try to explain and make meaning of the hidden forces and hardwired neural programs that guide our behavior.”

This is called “confabulation.” It’s an adaptive function that promotes self-confidence and prevents information overload.

How does confabulation apply to your inbound marketing program?

Your prospects are making decisions based on underlying brain processes that they’re not even aware of. And then they’re offering up whatever evidence that comes to mind: any reasonable explanation -- a confabulation -- that makes their decisions seem logical.

Inbound NeuroMarketing: Olfactory Marketing

Here’s an example:

The limbic system digs smelly marketing.

In a study on the sense of smell and its effect on purchasing decisions, volunteers were shown two pairs of Nike sneakers. Each pair was placed in a different room. One room was unscented and one was pumped with a light floral scent. By 84%, the subjects reported that they preferred shoes in the floral-scented room -- saying not only that they were more likely to buy the shoes, but also that they’d pay more for them. However, these pairs of shoes were identical. The only distinguishing variable was the scent of the room.

When asked why they were more likely to buy the one pair of shoes over the other, the volunteers offered up remarks about more pleasing shoe design, better color combinations and comfort factors.

Now, remember: The two pairs of shoes were identical. So these remarks the volunteers made were completely confabulated. These post-rationalizations were their conscious minds’ way of offering up some logical explanation for a smell-based preference that only their subconscious brains (their olfactory bulbs) were “aware” of.

Neuromarketing is not about manipulating. It’s about understanding.

This isn’t about using sneaky strategies to control your prospects and customers. Today’s buyer is far too savvy and empowered to fall for the marketing manipulations and subliminal advertising that vilified the industry in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Neuromarketing is about understanding the real way your prospects think, decide and purchase so you can create more likable, more effective and less costly marketing.

Does your company have an olfactory opportunity?

Businesses in the coffee and culinary industries clearly have an advantage in this aromatic area, but you’d be surprised at how much a little creative thought about “smelly marketing” boosts the effectiveness of your company’s inbound marketing strategy.

Start Today Tip: Think outside the box of our usual sensory stimuli, like effective design and emotional verbal messaging. How can you capitalize on your prospects’ sense of scent? Gather some particularly creative members of your team -- or, better yet, hire an inbound marketing agency known for its bold methodology and remarkable results -- and find out how the olfactory sense may be functioning in your prospects' buying and decision-making processes.

Want more knowledge nuggets on this exciting new field of neuromarketing? Click the button below to download our detailed neuromarketing ebook: The Grey Matters Of Neuromarketing: What Is It & Why Does It Work?

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Topics: neuromarketing, inbound neuromarketing, science behind marketing

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