Better Customer Engagement Through Neuroscience: Speaking with Roger Dooley

roger dooleyA self-described serial entrepreneur, Roger Dooley knows what it takes to make a business succeed, and he believes it starts with a deep understanding of the customer. He is the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing and recently spoke with us about his work. You can read Part 1 of our conversation here.

In Part 2, we discussed how the latest brain research can lead to new ways to understand and engage customers.

The CX Report: What is neuromarketing?

Roger Dooley: Different people have various definitions for neuromarketing, but to me it means any use of our understanding of how human brains work to do a better job of marketing. That includes using neuroscience tools like EEG or fMRI to analyze consumer reactions to your product or your ad, but it also means applying, for instance, behavioral research or psychology.

And the reason my definition is so broad is because I see it as one continuum. The human brain and human behavior are different depending on how you look at them. All you’re doing is sort of looking at human behavior through different windows, whether it’s through which area of the brain is lighting up or through observing behavior under specific experimental conditions, but all of the perspectives can be relevant.

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CXR: Marketers have traditionally used the best understanding of psychology available at the time to better engage with customers, haven’t they?

RD: I wouldn’t say it’s been universal, but certainly smart marketers have used the tools of psychology where appropriate. Now we are getting some new understanding based on the data coming out of fMRI studies, which really have been taking place mostly in the last ten years. In some cases we’re sort of explaining behavior that we already have observed before, just getting a little additional insight into what’s happening in the brain. But in other cases, we are finding things that are giving us new insights.

For instance, one of the classic studies—this was now over five years ago—looked at how people responded to prices. Using fMRI, these scientists found that when people were exposed to a price that appeared to be too high to them, where it just felt like “whoa, that’s really expensive” to them, the pain center in their brain tended to light up.

They actually call this “the pain of paying,” and that’s one reason why, for example, sushi often has an unattractive pricing model. If you’re in a sushi restaurant and you order a tiny little piece of fish, and it’s just under eight dollars each time—that’s repeating a pain point. Whereas people will gravitate more to something where there’s a single price, because while there may be a pain point associated with it, it’s not repeated over and over again.

CXR: What are some of the ways that companies can use the findings of neuroscience to create better customer experiences?

RD: Customer experience and user experience are somewhat distinctive, but there are overlapping areas, and one that I find interesting involves the perceived difficulty of things. Something may not be difficult, but if for some reason it’s made to look difficult, then even subconsciously people will believe it to be so. This means that something as simple as the font that something is printed in can make it look more difficult than if it were printed in a different font. And it may seem crazy, but that’s the case. The difficulty we have in processing something mentally translates into a perception of difficulty for whatever it is we’re being asked to do.

So if we’re asked to fill out a short form, the font that form is written in may influence how difficult we think it’s going to be, how long we think it will take to do it, and ultimately whether we do it at all. And so I think that just understanding what’s going on, on a non-conscious basis, is really important because so much of our effort as marketers and business people is now focused very much on conscious factors like pictures and benefits and price. And these are certainly all important aspects of a customer experience, but they are not the only things to consider. There are also emotional aspects—literally dozens of human biases—that are basically saying that we don’t behave rationally under certain conditions.

CXR: Any other examples?

RD: Well, if you present the exact same options to someone in terms of a loss versus a gain, even if everything about the issues was the same—the numbers are the same, the outputs are the same—people will react differently to that because typically people are more afraid of a loss than they are desirous of an equivalent gain. There are lots of experimental data to show that. So when we’re designing our marketing or customer experience we may choose a way of expressing what benefit our product offers, but by simplifying, altering the wording in a way that takes these unconscious mind things into account, we can achieve better results.

Source: Better Customer Engagement Through Neuroscience: Speaking with Roger Dooley

Via: Google Alert for Neuroscience