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No budget for neuromarketing? Try these ideas to learn more about your customers’ emotions and behavior

Multinationals like Microsoft, Coke or Nike have big budgets, and they can afford to include neuromarketing – using sophisticated tools that measure brain activity and physiological responses – in their market research programs. But the technology and expertise used in neuromarketing is costly. What if you’re a small- to mid-sized company, with a small- to mid-sized marketing budget?

Well, maybe for now the tools used in neuroscience, like FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which measures activity in different areas of the brain), EEG (electroencephalography, which measures brain waves), and biometrics (measuring eye and face movements), are beyond your financial reach. But there are lots of ways you can discover meaningful insights on emotion and behavior on a much smaller budget.

The traditional ways of exploring what prospects and customers think, about your product and company (like focus groups, surveys, etc.), are based on asking for a response. The trouble is that we often tend to rationalize when we’re asked for an opinion. In addition, 90% of buying decisions are influenced by the unconscious mind.

Neuromarketing, on the other hand, is based on observing behavior and emotion – and as a result it uncovers feelings and responses we may not even be aware of.

But wait a minute – as B2B marketers, do we really need to worry about the emotions of our audiences? Aren’t our customers more concerned with hard facts and analysis than with pretty packaging? The truth is that all buying decisions are based on emotions, whether it’s for a snack food item or a multi-million euro software purchase. Research shows that emotions don’t decline, even at the end of long B2B sales cycles. So yes, it does offer a lot of value to understand the role of emotion in B2B marketing.

If your resources don’t extend to neuromarketing (yet) consider these options to observe and learn more about the emotions and behaviors of your audiences, without blowing your budget:

Heat maps

All you need is a simple plugin for your website, and you can observe and track the actions of visitors to your site as they scroll, click and hover. By learning which images, blocks of text, pages, etc., are the most viewed, you can discern behaviors, patterns and preferences. You can use heat maps on your key web pages, or even for the content in your emails.

HubSpot CRM

The information that you’ll find in HubSpot’s CRM platform provides lots of in-depth data on buying patterns, as well as lead scoring. Use this data to identify the patterns in your targets’ online behavior, and shape your marketing to match.

Google Analytics

Over time, your Google Analytics data will begin to reveal the patterns in the behavior of your online audiences – the point at which they leave, convert, or buy. These patterns offer valuable insight into what behavior happens right before a conversion, for example, or a purchase. This can help you finetune the timing and type of content you offer to prospects, along their buyer’s journey.

AB testing

By comparing results of different images in advertising campaigns or even on web pages you can find out how to strike the right chord with your audience.

Leveraging emotion in B2B marketing

Whether it’s B2C or B2B, audiences react very strongly to emotional advertising. There are lots of ways to leverage the power of emotion in your B2B marketing.

How you tell your story

First, make sure you’re telling the right story, from the right perspective. Your product, and your company, should not be the main characters. Instead, your prospect is the primary character, and their challenges, goals and ultimate success (as the result of your product or solution) compose the plot line. Tell the story so that your target audiences can see themselves reflected in it.

How you use emotion

In telling the story, in your ads, websites, etc., use emotion. Show real people, benefiting from your solution. Ads that evoke emotion are viewed and shared more, and they create a positive association.

How you use the element of surprise

B2B marketing collateral/presentations can often be dull. Use the element of surprise – with an image, or a tagline – to give the reader or viewer a pleasant jolt of dopamine.

How you incorporate visuals & color

B2B audiences deserve to see dynamic, attractive design across marketing materials, just as much as consumer audiences. It also draws them in on an emotional level, making a stronger connection.

How you use anchoring

Everything is perceived as relative to something else. The human brain is trained to compare and judge based on differences. Show a car next to a smaller car and it will be perceived as large. Show a price plan next to a more premium ‘Gold’ version and you create the illusion of saving money by choosing the standard subscription.

At Living Stone, we specialize in telling stories in ways that resonate with targets, and drive sales. If you’d like to learn more about capturing insights on the emotions that underly the behaviors of your prospects and customers, we’d be happy to help. Contact Anne-Mie, by email at, or call at +32 (0)55 59 10 01.

Anne-Mie Vansteelant
Anne-Mie Vansteelant
COO | Managing Partner at Living Stone

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