Friday, 1 July 2016

How marketers are using neuroscience to control what we buy

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It is a common practice for consumers to spend on luxury goods. However, know that there is a trick behind you spending so much on these products. 

Blame the marketers who are now becoming very clever in controlling what you buy. According to previous studies, people will buy products that are called expensive and ignore the quality of the product just because of the price tag. This is commonly referred to as the marketing placebo effect - meaning the perceived value of something will affect the actual experience of it.

According to studies, marketers are now using neuroscience to change and control the way you buy. This is done by changing your grey matter and fooling you into buying things that will create a higher reward in your brain. The perceived effect of the reward is usually lower than the actual feelings you get when you buy the product.

Who Is Susceptible to the Placebo Effect?
According to studies, people who have a higher grey matter respond to the placebo effect. The research found that the people who are responsive to the perceived rewards, are more likely to be influenced by this marketing strategy.

Moreover, it is also perceived that people who have a higher grey matter will be susceptible to the placebo effect. Therefore, a wine that is more expensive is likely to generate an opinion in the buyer’s mind that expensive must be good.

Last but not the least, people who are not that quickly influenced by price tags, are not going to be affected by the placebo effect. Therefore, they will buy according to the taste of the wine and not the price tag.

Changing the Grey Matter
Marketers identify and segment the user population using a range of demographics including race, geography and age. However, researchers now are also wanting to identify differences in consumers’ brain anatomy in order to categorise individuals. 

The whole idea is to alter your grey matter and then control what you buy. You don’t even know how much you spend on products without realising how much you are being tricked into buying a product.

However, all is not lost because our grey matter tends to change with age. Therefore, if marketers are looking to target you over a lifetime, they actually have to have a good understanding of how the brain responds to different things that they are trying to sell you. And this is something that is actually not possible right now.

The whole idea of using neuroscience to control the way you look at things and the way you buy things has changed. However, it is also believed that if you are buying luxury goods, the placebo effect will have a greater effect on you than when you are buying non-luxury items. Therefore, if you are shopping at Ikea or drinking a boxed wine, chances are you are most likely safe.

Be careful what you are buying because neuroscience is changing the way you think and who knows, your decision of buying a product could be being controlled by the marketers!

Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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