Neuromarketing – And How Event Planners Can Use It For Events
Ever wish you had a magic ability to convince people to buy tickets to your event? If only everything you said or created could immediately win hearts and minds and get your potential attendee to drop everything and sign up? With neuromarketing, you can begin moving that needle. Here’s how.
Grigori Rasputin was one of those mystical historic figures who some believed could gaze upon you and convince you to do his bidding. While most of that is probably legend fueled by many tall tales, there have long been people who use what is known as the “cult of personality” to sway others.
Are they magicians? Sorcerers?
Chances are they’re just very good studies of human response and the non-conscious mind.
While possessing the persuasive powers of Rasputin may not be on your event planning career agenda, understanding what’s behind your attendees’ decisions and the best way to present materials to increase ticket sales benefits all planners. Here are some insights into how you can use neuromarketing to reach your ideal audience and inspire desired action among them. Best of all, you don’t even need a hypnotic glare.
Understanding the Conscious and Unconscious Mind
The benefit to neuromarketing is that we can finally understand what people want. With surveys, polls, and groups you ask people what they want and they provide an answer based on what has occurred to them. They may be telling you what you want to hear, an answer based on what others have suggested, or any other answer that has been filtered based on something we’re not being told. But with neuromarketing, we can see through the use of technology like MRIs, facial coding, and EEGs exactly what “lights” up their brain by how they react to certain marketing stimuli. Through these studies we know what will drive them to action.
First, let’s go into what we know about the brain. There’s a part of our brain, the Limbic Cortex, that controls the fight or flight response. It is the basic, primitive component of our brains that functions on a reactive, not proactive basis. The Limbic System is often referred to as lizard or reptilian brain because that’s about all a lizard has upstairs. In addition to fight or flight, this area controls fear, the desire to reproduce, eat, and freeze (in fear). It is the home of all of our animal drives.
While our conscious mind may appear to rule our decision-making process, when you can trigger that lizard brain to kick in, you can influence the decisions in your favor quickly because this part of the brain lives only in the moment. Here, instinct drives decision. Copywriters use this technique all the time. There is a debate in the industry as to whether you should use fear tactics to drive action or empowering concepts or persuasion to influence decisions.
Many opt for lizard brain fear because it creates a need to act quickly. Fight or flight response is assessed immediately. People don’t stand around thinking about it. Using fear-based marketing often creates immediate decisions, but it’s not a good long-term strategy for building loyalty.
How Event Planners Can Harness the Power of Neuromarketing
With neuromarketing, you can choose the path of “fear” or lizard brain marketing or persuasion. Persuasion generally takes longer to nurture but since the brain outside of the Limbic Cortex resides in something other than the “now” you’re more likely to influence future decisions by going that route. Still, appealing to the dark side of the reptilian brain is tempting…
Make Your Event Website Simple
One of the ways to influence people to attend your events if they’ve never been is to get them to know, like, and trust you. These things generally take time and positive exchanges. However, you might be surprised about another way to get people to trust you. According to research at Southampton University in 2011, commissioned by Yell, it appears what makes website visitors find one site more trustworthy than another is quite simple. Literally. Ease of use and site functionality tended to help a site be perceived as trustworthy. Not the words or the images, just the idea of a user finding what they want, easily.
Reciprocity is the “indebtedness” people often feel when you do something for them. They then feel motivated to do something for you. Studies have shown it doesn’t even have to be a large thing. For instance, an inexpensive lunch has been shown to influence doctors when writing prescriptions. Giving potential attendees “a little something” could very well influence them to attend your event.
Unity is the latest persuasion technique from the guy who wrote the book on it (called “Influence”) – Robert Cialdini. In his new book, Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, that came out in 2016, he wrote about the new seventh technique “unity.” Unity is creating a shared identity that you and your attendee have. Through the concept of unity, you are looking to evoke a “me too” moment. The attendee could come to that on his/her own based on the information you provided in your marketing or you could point it out to them by using language like, “If you’re like me, you…”
“Liking” is another one of Cialdini’s persuasions but it’s more complicated than just being nice and getting an attendee to like you. It’s about them feeling you like them. For instance, getting people to know, like, and trust you will drive first-time and recurring attendance. While you may not have time to really get people to like you, if you show an interest in them, they are more likely to trust you.
Reptilian Event Planning
This one does play on the lizard brain by using the “fear of missing out.” Most event planners use early bird pricing for conferences and they employ a deadline to drive a decision. Some, use discounted pricing based on the number of tickets sold, as in selling 100 tickets for $200 off. When those tickets are gone, the discount is discontinued no matter how quickly that happens. This makes people worried that they’ll miss out on a good price. That fear drives the desire to buy and buy quickly.
Identify the Pain or Struggle
Fear is what drives the reptilian brain so finding that fear button and pushing it is a quick way to create an action. This can be fear of missing out, as illustrated above, or fear of falling behind if you don’t attend. With this tactic, you find a pain point and exploit it to drive action.
Using neuromarketing can help you establish trust and drive desired action. It doesn’t take expensive know how or technology. It merely uses the basis behind how our brains function. Isn’t it time you start using that with your events?
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