What Event Marketers Can Learn from Neuromarketing


More so than ever, questions about consumers’ purchase behaviors continue to puzzle marketers. Why do they choose one brand over another? How much does cost really affect their purchase decisions? Is there a way to influence their affinity toward a particular brand or product? Fortunately, neuromarketing, a field of research that studies consumers’ cognitive and sensory responses to marketing stimuli, offers marketers the answers they’re searching for. The process is a scientific approach to predicting why and when consumers will buy a product or service. Following are insights on how event marketers can leverage the discipline to determine what consumers want and how to give it to them.

Relieving Pain Points vs. Creating Pleasure

Neuromarketing proves that relieving consumers’ pain points is more impactful than delivering a pleasurable experience. It almost sounds counterintuitive, but because humans are wired to prioritize survival, we respond more quickly when it comes to avoiding risk vs. seeking out pleasure. To that end, event marketers may find more success promoting the pain points they relieve for attendees rather than the amenities they provide.

The Impact of Visuals

The reptilian brain—the ancestral part of the human brain that’s hundreds of millions of years old—responds better to powerful visual elements than words. According to Patrick Renvoise, co-author of “Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain,” and co-founder of SalesBrain, the self-proclaimed world’s first neuromarketing agency, the reason is straightforward.

“The reptilian brain does not like words because words are not tangible enough,” Renvoise says. “The reptilian brain is about 500 million years old and words only about 30,000 to 40,000 years. Instead, [the reptilian brain] likes images, so when you’re communicating to people, you’re going to be way more effective if you can show them a visual as opposed to talking to them.”

The takeaway? Visual elements create a more memorable experience for consumers, which in turn, creates a deeper emotional connection to the company offering them.

FOMO as a Marketing Tool

Sure, it’s an overused acronym that makes plenty of marketers cringe, but FOMO (the fear of missing out) drives more attendance when leveraged properly. Today’s consumers, particularly millennials, crave live experiences. Neuromarketing demonstrates they’re just as worried about what they might lose by missing an event as what they might gain from showing up. Marketers should deliver messages specifically designed to induce FOMO, like emails with subject lines like “Buy before it’s sold out!” to drive last-minute ticket sales.

Implications for Public Speaking

Neuromarketing is not often referenced in regards to B2C experiences, but, B2B marketers can also reap its benefits. The discipline is especially powerful when engaging attendees at business conferences. Its been proven that a joke is more effective if the speaker moves to the left side of the stage, and, an emotional story is more effective from the right side. The science behind it is complex, but here’s the topline: Input from the right eye isn’t exclusively processed by the left hemisphere of the brain. Rather, input from the right visual field is processed by the left hemisphere, regardless of which eye is receiving the input. So in terms of attendees’ reactions to conference speakers, it’s more impactful to place elements that appeal to their logic (text, detailed images) in the audience’s right visual field, and, elements that appeal to their emotion (human faces, aesthetically pleasing images) in the left.

It’s a complex landscape, but understanding the nuances of neuromarketing goes a long way to elevate engagement, build trust and foster relationships that stand the test of time.

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Posted by Andrew Changelian | Request as a Speaker

Client relationship manager & quarterback of complex integrated marketing campaigns. Family man & lover of all things Boston. Into sharp suits & leather shoes.