I do think sometimes, when someone is wowed by the results of some common Internet marketing technique I’ve used, It’s not like I’m a scientist, or anything.
But maybe I should be. I’ve been thinking more and more about the importance of not just psychology in marketing but of science, specifically brain science. Neuroscience.
Where neuroscience attempts to understand exactly how the brain works, neuromarketing (read this SanFran Chronicle article on the subject) attempts to use that science to understand why we think the way we do and behave the way we behave. A lot of my time and energy is devoted to understanding people’s attitudes and behavior in order to most effectively communicate with them.
One thing I’ve learned from years of doing this and, especially, from years of watching politics: We’re hypocrites. We customers. We voters. We say one thing and do the exact opposite. We say we like a presidential candidate because of his stance on the issues when we really like him because we feel he understands us or he seems like a good guy or "a man of the people," as the saying goes. Our purchasing decisions often come down to the same thing: An emotional reaction rather than a rational decision.
I try and understand that process because I’ll be more effective as an Internet marketer if I do.
As a result, I read a lot about people’s online behavior. I came across an interesting article at Search Engine Land recently entitled Human Hardware: The Subconcious Side of Search, in which the author discusses how online behavior can become a habit and habits are difficult to break.
Shortly thereafter, I heard a Midmorning program on Minnesota Public Radio about why habits are hard to break and specifically, how through repetition of behavior the brain creates neuropathways that reinforce that behavior. The pathways serve essentially as a "rut" through which behavior is automatically routed. It explains in part why quitting smoking is so hard.
If you’re trying to get people to change behavior by, for instance, changing brands, neuroscience should be among your considerations.
I try and keep up on science in general and neuromarketing in particular with the following resources:
- Scientific American Podcasts
- Scientific American’s 60-Second Psych podcast
- Roger Dooley’s Neuromarketing blog