Is Neuromarketing Ethical?

December 2, 2020 4 min read
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Ethical Neuromarketing and its Implications

Ethical neuromarketing is a flexible method to determine customer preferences and brand loyalty because it can apply to nearly anyone who has developed an opinion about a product or company. No matter what form it takes, marketing focuses on creating a positive and memorable impact in the minds of customers. Neuromarketing measures those impacts, but anyone can take the basic discoveries and adjust their product or service to reflect subconscious consumer needs.

What is Ethical Neuromarketing?

Do you want to fully understand what drives consumers’ attitudes and behaviors? You’ll need more than traditional market research methods. Traditional tools, like consumer surveys and focus groups, assume consumers consciously articulate their preferences, whereas the majority of thoughts occur in our subconscious minds. In other words, consumers don’t choose rationally. That’s where neuromarketing comes in.

Ethical neuromarketing uses neuroscience to reveal subconscious consumer decision-making processes. Neuromarketers study brain- and biometric responses, as well as behavior, to understand and shape how consumers feel, think, and act.

From the moment you woke up this morning, you’ve made countless decisions on different levels of consciousness. Your customers do just the same, no matter what they focus on, including social media content. What does it have to do with marketing? Let’s dive into the subject of neuromarketing techniques and learn a few tricks about the human mind to master social media graphics.

Tea or Coffee?

neuroscientist lady having coffee

Should you eat french toast or scrambled eggs for breakfast? 

Perhaps you went to the store on your way to work and left with a full shopping bag. What made you decide to buy those specific products?

Researchers at Cornell University have found that an adult makes about 35,000 decisions every day. However, according to the research of Alex Pouget, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, people make the most optimal decisions when consciousness is not involved in the process. That is when we don’t even realize the fact of making a decision.

Brands can’t remain indifferent to such data — it’s a powerful weapon in the fight for attention, loyalty, and consumer spending. That is the reason you need to know about ethical neuromarketing.

Take Your Responsibility as a Marketer

We pose that marketers in general, and especially neuromarketers, have a huge responsibility in the application of their insights and research techniques. They actively contribute to what consumers eat, experience, wear, give, get, miss, and consume in any type of way.

Why Neuromarketers in particular?

Within the complete arsenal of marketing methods, ethical neuromarketing research is especially effective. With great power comes great responsibility. When low-quality marketing is being used to promote smokes, no extra cigarette will be lit. With neuromarketing, that’s not the case.

So, as an ethical neuromarketer, you should ask yourself this question before starting an assignment: “What will be the effect of the consumption of this product?” Because that will be the result of your (neuro)marketing campaign: An increase in consumption. Will it harm the environment, public health, or life satisfaction of others? Alarm bells should start ringing.

“There’s no such thing as evil marketing, only evil marketers”

A look into the Human-Mind

neuromarketing is ethical

Neuromarketing is about using scientific knowledge focused on the human neural system for marketing purposes. We’re talking molecular biology, electrophysiology, neurophysiology, embryology, behavioral biology, neurology, neuropsychology, and cognitive science. All these areas are intended to help in predicting and explaining the reactions (behaviors) of the consumer.

The man behind the hype surrounding neuromarketing is G. Zaltman, who in 1998 conducted a comprehensive study of the human brain. It turned out that 95% of human behaviors and preferences come from the subconscious.

And who is more interested in knowing the source of the needs and desires of consumers than marketers?


Implications of Ethical Marketing

The main implication of a neuromarketing strategy is the orientation toward meeting customer needs that results in increased customer satisfaction. Once you have researched and identified your target market, you can focus on strategies to serve your customers better than your competition. Customer impressions of your company improve with this focus, and your image in the marketplace becomes more positive. Such a marketing strategy is designed to gain new customers as you build a more favorable reputation.

Ethical Neuromarketing Decoded

Neuromarketing is the study of customer behavior and how it affects the buying pattern of a target audience. This study of customer behavior has played a significant role in social media marketing and its results are pivotal in setting an effective marketing strategy that can convert more leads into clients.

The idea of neuromarketing was coined by Gerald Zaltman in the year 1990. He based his study on the principles of neuroscience and after more than two and a half decades, the principles of neuroscience still remain the same. Today, neuroscience is a full-fledged discipline that focuses on human behavior to learn about different human traits.

The medium of marketing, however, has changed over the course of time. While traditional ad platforms (TV and radio) are still in the scene, they are no longer the primary choice of marketers due to the evolution of the digital media platform and social media is a big part of this platform.

Social media marketing is one of the pillars of digital marketing. Using the podium of social media, brands can penetrate into a big market and attract more leads to their brand.

Follow these 7 Ethical Neuromarketing ways and measures to create an astonishing impact on your upcoming marketing campaign.