Breaking into the Brain: How Mobile Brings Brands Closer to Consumers - eMarketer
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Breaking into the Brain: How Mobile Brings Brands Closer to Consumers


Dr. Thomas Trautmann
Certified Neuromarketing Instructor and Business Partner
SalesBrain

People tune out messages that do not connect with them emotionally, according to Dr. Thomas Trautmann, certified neuromarketing instructor and business partner at SalesBrain, a San Francisco-based marketing agency that uses psychology to figure out the best way for brands to convey their message. eMarketer’s Sean Creamer spoke with Trautmann about how brands are leveraging mobile to elicit emotional responses from their audience.

eMarketer: How have attention spans changed with the introduction of personalized functions like social media and smartphones?

Dr. Thomas Trautmann: The attention span has changed if you consider the old ways to market a product and talk about products. Facebook contacted us to do a study comparing audience retention on TV and mobile. In fact, you get way more retention over mobile’s smaller screen rather than TV’s, which is counterintuitive because everyone we asked said, “Oh, the TV is much better for that because you have a big screen.”

The screens are getting bigger and bigger, compared to what is still a very small screen. In fact, the study demonstrated that the attention level is much higher when people are watching their mobile phone because there is physical interaction with the device—you’re holding it. It was very interesting to see these results, and you can get quite a lot of attention using those devices where most of the messaging is going through now.

“The attention level is much higher when people are watching their mobile phone because there is physical interaction with the device—you’re holding it.”

eMarketer: Considering the personal nature of mobile devices, are consumers displeased with aggressive ad formats that interrupt their consumption?

Trautmann: Yes, especially if your brand is pushing advertisements at the audience all the time. First, the consumer would feel it’s pretty aggressive and annoying, because it’s always in your face. Whenever you look at a YouTube video, you want to see the video. You don’t want to see 5 seconds of ads that are always there.

Consumers don’t pay the ad any more attention because there is no contrast, and the brain needs contrast to react. So many ads today have no effect, because everyone gets tons of spam every day. These ads have a lower impact on your brain because it’s just the same signal coming all the time. The brain figures this out, so brands should stop only pushing their products forward mindlessly.

They should start showing that they can solve the pain of the clients, the problems that the clients have. If you show me that you are taking away the pain I have, then you’re my best friend.

eMarketer: So brands should look to how consumers want to use products to solve a problem rather than simply broadcasting a product?

Trautmann: Here’s an example: I buy a car because I need transportation, not because I want to drive precariously around mountain roads. I’ll give you another example. A drill. When do you want to buy a drill, why are you buying a drill? I am not talking about drill fetishists or collectors, but a normal human being, like you and I, who wants to go and buy a drill. You don’t buy a drill because it turns 10,000 rpm [revolutions per minute], it has its own battery or it lasts for 2 hours. No, you’re buying a drill because you need a hole. But why do you need that hole? Maybe you need that hole because there’s a picture on the step that your wife keeps asking you to put on the wall for a couple of weeks now.

“Brands have to demonstrate that they are the solution to the pain, that they will remove it.”

Brands have to demonstrate that they are the solution to the pain, that they will remove it. We use that word pain because it’s really pain in the subconscious part of the brain. That’s why neuromarketing has become a field—we’re using neuroscience to go deep inside of the brain to pull that pain out of there.

So going back to my previous example, you don’t want a drill. You want to make your wife happy. If I’m selling you a drill, I’m selling you the option to finally be able to watch your game and have a nice beer, which has nothing to do with the product.

eMarketer: Do you believe brands are trying to use the personal nature of mobile to solve this concept of consumer pain via their products?

Trautmann: From my perspective, mobile is used more to extend the community around the brand. It is very tough to bring new clients in via mobile unless they understand their consumer’s pain points. If the brand can show consumer pain and display how fantastic their lives will become right after using the product or the service from the brand, an emotional response will be elicited.

Consumers will get depressed when they see a pain point they identify with, and the branded product fixing the situation makes them happy.

For more insights from Dr. Thomas Trautmann, join eMarketer at our upcoming half-day event, Attention! London on June 7, where he will be presenting.

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