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Consumer Behavior Course: Using Neuromarketing to Predict and Influence Customers

Update your marketing skills and gain insights into consumer behavior.

  • Date

    September 23, 2024

  • Time

    8:30 AM – 4:30 PM ET

  • Length

    2 consecutive days

  • Format

    On Campus

  • Cost

    Programs fill quickly — free cancellation up to 14 days prior

  • Registration Deadline

    September 15, 2024

Consumer Behavior Course Overview

Consumer science can be frustratingly mysterious. Why do consumers do what they do, or like what they like? By tapping into the power of the brain, marketers can gain crucial insights into the fundamental drivers of buying behavior.

Neuromarketing studies the brain to predict — and potentially even manipulate — consumer behavior and consumer decision making processes.

This dynamic and highly practical program zeroes in on the three related mental faculties most relevant for developing effective marketing: Memory, Emotion, and Sociality:

  • Memory: Marketers are in the memory business and neuroscience has learned that the brain naturally prioritizes certain elements when converting experiences into long-term memory. We’ll focus on how insights into the neuroscience of memory can be leveraged in consumer psychology to create more memorable marketing.
  • Emotion: Customers’ emotions play a critical role in their buying journey. We’ll cover the relationship between anticipated pleasure, the pain of paying, and purchase intent.
  • Sociality: Humans are social creatures, heavily influenced by the actions and behaviors of others. This section will cover both classic forms of social persuasion, as well as two additional novel topics which can help distinguish one’s marketing tactics: Mimetic Theory, and Social Comparison Theory.

Through a combination of interactive discussions, group exercises, and presentations, participants will learn a new set of tools for creating marketing campaigns that effectively resonate with your consumer base, capture market share, and ultimately drive profits and sales.

The program will close with a discussion on corporate responsibility, marketing ethics, and specific guidelines for utilizing psychological techniques while safeguarding consumer and societal well-being.

Participants will leave equipped not only to drive business success but also to foster a responsible and sustainable approach to consumer engagement using the neuroscientific perspectives learned in this program and apply them to today’s dynamic marketplace.

Program Benefits

This consumer behavior program will teach you about the deeper social motivations of your consumers, which can help you unlock novel insights into your target audience and inspire creative approaches for marketing products and services to them. Upon completion, you will know how to:

  • Understand and leverage emotion to gain consumer’s attention, drive impressions, and impact consumer decision making
  • Leverage insights from neuroscience to create content, advertising, and branded activations
  • Increase purchase intent across a variety of consumer contexts by galvanizing anticipated pleasure and assuaging pain of payment
  • Understand marketing ethics in relation to psychological tactics and neuromarketing
  • Develop a unique set of brain-based marketing practices that can differentiate your brand from your competition
  • Implement neuroscience derived tactics for effective and memorable marketing efforts
  • Use social comparison theory and gamification in marketing

Participants will also earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, further validating their expertise in understanding consumer behavior.

Marketing Topics Covered

This program covers a wide range of topics meant to enhance your understanding of the psychology of consumer behavior and how to apply it to your work.

Specific topics covered include:

  • A brief overview of neuroanatomy and neuromarketing
  • Anticipated pleasure, the psychological pain of payment, and purchase intent
  • Rare emotions in consumer psychology (e.g. “awe”, serendipity)
  • The consumer behavior science of social persuasion
  • Mimetic Theory in the context of marketing
  • Perspectives, frameworks, and key considerations for thinking through the ethical challenges of modern marketing

Who should take this course?

This program is best suited for people whose organizations specialize in business-to-consumer sales and who have 5–15 years of experience.

This includes mid-level:

  • Marketing managers
  • Product managers
  • User experience specialists
  • Content specialists
  • Brand managers

This course will also provide immense value to the chief marketing officers of small to medium-sized brands.

September Schedule

Day 1

  • Diagnosing marketing problems with psychological science
  • Applying emotional design to content and advertising
  • Cultivating rare emotions in the consumer world
  • Integrating rare emotions in the customer journey

Day 2

  • Neuroscience of explicit memory: implications for experiential and physical marketing
  • Designing consumer experiences using the neuroscience of memory
  • Social drivers of consumer behavior


  • PDP Instructor Matt Johnson

    Matt Johnson

    Matt Johnson is a Harvard Professional & Executive Development programs instructor, a best-selling author, and a strategic advisor to both start-ups and large brands in his native Bay Area; he recently served as an expert-in-residence for Nike in Portland, Oregon. He received his PhD in cognitive psychology from Princeton University.

Consumer Behavior & Neuromarketing FAQs

What is the psychological core of consumer behavior?

The psychological core of consumer behavior is the foundation of how individuals make buying decisions. These decisions are influenced by factors such as motivation, perception, attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyle. Understanding these factors can help marketers tailor effective strategies that resonate with their target audience.

Why is neuromarketing important?

Neuromarketing is important because it provides marketers with a direct path to understanding — and influencing — consumer behavior. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics found that neuromarketing techniques predicted consumer behavior with 80 percent accuracy, compared to 60 percent for traditional marketing methods. The insights gained through neuromarketing can then be applied to future marketing campaigns, making them more appealing to your target audience.