Neuromarketing – How to use the latest findings of brain research for your business

Fruit that is bathed in a certain light in the supermarket, lifestyle products that give the shopper a certain sense of belonging, the smell of fresh baked goods when entering a shop that directly whets the appetite for a piece of cake – neuromarketing deals with all of these things.

What has long been clear to most of us: we all have different preferences. Of course, this is of great relevance in marketing, and the better you know your target group, the more specifically you can tailor your marketing mix accordingly. At least as interesting is the fact that four out of five purchase decisions are made by our subconscious. But how exactly can our subconscious be addressed and encouraged to buy? Why are some brands so popular? This is exactly what neuromarketing deals with, which we will look at in more detail in today’s blog post.


Die Abbildung eines Kopfes mit einem Fragezeichen in der Mitte fragt was Neuromarkting ist


„Quite pragmatically formulated, neuromarketing deals with how choices and purchase decisions are made in the human brain, and very importantly for advertising: how to influence them. So what we’re looking for is the magic „Buy button“. Says Dr. Hans-Georg Häusel, neuromarketing expert. [1]

In most cases, your customers do not make purchasing decisions rationally, but are guided by their emotions – and usually this happens quite unconsciously. In other words, the consumer is first of all a black box – we do not know what is going on in his head during a purchase decision. When making habitual purchases, customers trust products and brands with which they have had positive experiences and thus connect positive emotions. Spontaneous purchases on the other hand are more impulsive. Consumers react, for example, to special offers or advertising messages that are used specifically by retailers. Responsible for this is our brain, which is always unconsciously searching for new ways to satisfy needs. And that influences the buying behavior. „Neuromarketing is about better understanding the brain activities of humans and then using the knowledge gained in a targeted manner to guide purchasing decisions in a specific direction. This also opens up completely new opportunities for companies to understand consumers and the effect of brands, communication and products on them,“ says Prof. Dr. Ralf E. Strauß, President of the German Marketing Association. [2]


It’s all a matter of emotion?

We have already reported on the subject of personalization. And especially in neuromarketing emotions are the central topic. Most companies have the goal of arousing positive emotions in their customers in order to motivate them to buy. The more positive emotions customers associate with a brand, the higher their brand loyalty.

Emotions arise in the limbic system in our brain. The limbic system is a functional unit of the brain that serves the processing of emotions and the development of drive behaviour. [3] The limbic system is also said to be responsible for intellectual performance. Researchers have found out that popular brands and products cause a strong activation of the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system. The amygdala plays an important role in emotional evaluation and recognition. It also processes external impulses and initiates the vegetative reactions to them. [4] When emotions are activated, a desire can arise. This is of course extremely important when making a purchase decision.

The packaging does it

Darstellung von Verpackungen und Design im Neuromarketing


Especially in e-commerce, the topic of emotions goes beyond the purchase of products or services. Especially when it comes to a haptic product, the highlight is not the purchase itself, but the moment when the goods arrive at your customer’s home and he unpacks them. And this is exactly where there are many opportunities to charge your brand and your products with even more positive emotions. Packaging not only provides protection during transport, but can also influence whether your customers keep the delivered goods or send them back. Colour and material of the packaging, processing, haptics and also the smell can decide in the end whether to buy or not. You are welcome to be creative and take the customer perspective. Who is your target group? What is important to them?

More and more online shops are going over to sending the invoice digitally – which at the same time gives points on your sustainability account – so that the customer doesn’t have the hard facts in his hands first of all, but the happily longed-for goods.

After an online purchase, the customer usually waits in anticipation for delivery. If this is done quickly and reliably, your customers will certainly be happy. Please inform your customers about the shipping status and offer them a delivery on the desired date. Transparent communication works wonders.

Herding – what our mirror neurons do

Herding? Never heard of it? „Herding“ is about the fact that we humans mostly want to have exactly what others – often famous and/or successful people – also have, that we want to do exactly what these people do and that we sometimes even adopt their way of thinking. Our mirror neurons are responsible for this. Just think of your last restaurant visit on holiday – surely you have chosen a restaurant where several people have already sat, because this gives us the feeling that it must be good there. An empty restaurant, on the other hand, seems as if there is already a reason not to eat there.

A typical example of „herding“ on the Internet are customer reviews. Products or services that other customers have found good are bought with a good feeling. If your website visitors want to buy something, but the corresponding customer reviews are mostly negative, doubts automatically arise and an unpleasant feeling spreads. In addition to customer ratings, there are also indications of how many people are currently looking at a particular item or how often it has already been purchased. This also shows which products are popular and are automatically considered to be good.

Priming – do you remember?

You hear a certain song and immediately you feel like you’ve been transported back to your last holiday where you heard this song every evening on the beach. This phenomenon is called „Priming“. Smells, sounds, images and situations based on previous experiences can evoke certain associations from memory and thus bring them directly into our consciousness. Certain emotions and experiences are stored in our brain, which can be recalled by priming in the form of stimuli.

For you and your brand this means that you should pay attention to a consistent and authentic brand appearance. Define a communication strategy, agree on certain keywords and a tonality, create a brand with a strong recognition value. Colours, songs and images – on your website as well as on all other communication media and advertising media – should be used consistently and create good feelings in your customers and ensure that you can be directly recognised by them.

Eyes on the design

Die Wirkung des Designs im Neuromarketing


Do you know how to place the elements on your website? Where your call-to-action button is most likely to be clicked? Whether images or text attract more attention? If not, A/B tests and/or eye-tracking studies help here.

Eye-tracking studies have shown, for example, that website visitors perceive call-to-actions more strongly when they are near photos in which people are looking at them. Because when users look at a face on a website, they automatically return the gaze. This means that important information and call-to-action buttons are best placed near a face. For this, the person depicted does not have to look directly at your website visitors. A line of sight is also supportive, as users will follow the line of sight of the person depicted. You can definitely make use of this knowledge when designing your website. But if you now simply randomly place a few photos with a pretty face on your advertising material, please consider that this can also backfire. Faces direct attention – they may also draw it away from relevant information. This means that the overall package must be coherent. Where is the face looking? This is where you place the most important elements.

Another important point in terms of design is „authenticity“. If you use pictures or advertise with testimonials, please make sure that they match your image. Customers usually do not want to see perfect people, but a person they can identify with.

Respect the need for security

Not only the design can trigger emotions, but also the content on your website and your advertising media can do so. Product descriptions can also trigger positive emotions and give your customer a feeling of security. This can increase the intention to buy. Of course a design can also trigger a feeling of security and safety. The same applies to seals of approval and awards. These also give visitors the feeling that they can trust the respective website. And if the need for security is satisfied, the probability of a purchase is increased.


Due to the increasing stimulus satiation, advertising messages and website content are increasingly perceived and processed subconsciously. For this reason, we believe it is worthwhile dealing with the topic of neuromarketing more intensively and incorporating one or two insights into your communication strategy. The fact that emotions play a central role in buying behaviour should generally not be ignored. Depending on which products or services you offer, you should of course address different emotions. The basis for this is – as always in marketing – that you know your products and your target group.

In any case, we hope that we have been able to offer you some exciting insights into the topic of neuromarketing and wish you every success with the implementation.