Impulse buys and neuro marketing

No one knows what the future looks like. Except marketing managers who look forward to the next generation technology which allows brain and computer to communicate seamlessly across multiple formats, operating systems with no delay, and presumably no secrets.

Chances are, these marketing managers are Science Fiction nerds, and they’ve spent a lot of time reading novels throughout highschool and university.

In 1996, a British Sci-Fi author, Peter F Hamilton, released his first book of the Night’s Dawn Trilogy: “The Reality Dysfunction”. I bought it by accident around 1999, the appeal being it was by far the thickest Sci-Fi book I’d ever seen – over 1000 pages in a paperback. Little did I know it would become the benchmark on how I would judge other science fiction writers.


The most interesting thing by far in this book were “neural nanonics”. A system which allows a person to access a vast network containing all information ever recorded in history of mankind (the internet I suppose).

What occurred to me almost immediately was the speed at which you could sell and buy products and services. If you could place an idea in a person’s mind at the speed of thought, that person could potentially make purchase goods and services faster than ever before.

Fast forward to February 2013, and we got Google Glass!


If you’re looking for a way to market to potential customers, what better channel (without accerss directly into their brain, of course)! The system tracks your location, knows your purchasing habits, so a marketing system can offer you any number of goods or services instantly:

“10AM after a meeting?” – there’s a great barista serving espresso around the corner! Preorder to collect on your arrival!

“Been to the gym?” – How about a protein shake at Boost, or a massage at the local physiotherapist to take those aches away?


Forget the speed at which you’re being marketed to now on Facebook, or during your Google searches. Here you have a system which can sell you stuff every minute of every day. Grocery shopping can become a breeze. You simply tell your headset to add to your shopping list, and presumably AndroidPay will take care of the rest!

You wake up the next morning with your groceries conveniently waiting at your front door.

Is this a good thing though? I know I’ve sat there at 1AM looking through useless junk on eBay, for no apparent reason, and just had to have a soldering kit shipped from Hong Kong express posted, arriving early 2019 for only $17.95. Wait, what? Yes, I actually bought one.

So what number of impulse buys might you get if you can simply say (or think) yes, and your headset (or neural nanonics) buys your new car, or the dream holiday (which you had to have, but cannot afford).

With the complex algorithms driving the way the internet already flashes potential purchases to us in today’s world, just imagine what level of sophisticated selling there will be tomorrow. I imagine there are marketing executives tripping over themselves at the prospect. For one, the retail chain won’t be needed. A manufacturer can simply market directly to you (although you can be sure the internet providers, and google will want a cut). In a similar manner to Amazon, the purchase can simply be packed and shipped without having to utilise a major retail chain, with several middlemen.

But the shopping hangovers are probably going to be horrific. I can spend money quicker than I can earn it, so imagine those instant flashes: “Need more Credit”? “YES PLEASE”! and so you descend down the spiral towards absolute chaos in a retail version of hell, where credit is cheap and consumer electronics cheaper.

Damn, I think I might have to burn my iPad now…




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