From Scalpels To… Neuromarketing? How Kristina Centnere Combined Her Love For Medicine And Marketing

From Scalpels To… Neuromarketing? How Kristina Centnere Combined Her Love For Medicine And Marketing

At a time when many of us are restructuring our professional lives, we may think back to who we wanted to become before “life” happened. Prior to the jobs we chose because they seemed safe and stable, each one of us had a dream to be something that was inspired by more than just affording our bills. Something that was instead, inspired by passion.

What if we chose passion instead all along even though it meant going against all odds and maybe had us sleeping in our car? That’s what Kristina Centnere, a neuromarketing and strategy entrepreneur did.

If you were to ask Kristina’s high school classmates what she is doing today, they would likely tell you that she is a physician of some kind. After all, that’s all Kristina knew to become as both her parents were in the medical field.

“In my country of birth, Latvia, being a physician was looked upon as a commendable profession but not a very lucrative one. I saw my mom save people’s lives and out of my love and respect for her, I thought that was the path for me.”

Thinking she would follow her mother’s footsteps, as so many of us do, Kristina had a clear, well-traveled path laid out ahead of her. From the classes she would take to the internships she would complete, all the way to where she would go to medical school. Until one day, she was placed into a Web Design class.

“I fought tooth and nail not to be put in that class. But because I was graduating early and needed to fulfill my extracurricular credits, I wasn’t left with much of a choice. Once I decided to make the best of it, I remember feeling this spark, this excitement about creating something that most people have no idea about. It fired me up.”

After graduating high school at 16, Kristina took life into her own hands. Fiercely independent, she found a way to support herself and her ambitions without finishing college. 

“At one point, I was working 3 jobs in Miami, a thousand miles away from my family or anything I really knew in New York. There was a week where I slept in my car and consumed Sweet n’ Sour sauce from McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The life I chose was at times so unstable that my mom offered to buy me a car if I were to just come back home.”

At the time, Kristina didn’t know that her twenties would be spent growing her digital and neuromarketing agency, SocialCow. But at the ripe age of 18, she started in a multi-level-marketing (MLM) business, where she was in the trenches of learning business skills that she continues to use and refine today.

“I wasn’t very good at it.” Kristina laughs. “But I quickly picked up on people skills, sales skills and the importance of processes… I also noticed that I was naturally good at something most people were not – marketing. While I wasn’t making millions, it did allow me to quit my 9 to 5 and most importantly, it made more sense of this ‘fire’ I felt inside. I wanted to create. Entrepreneurs create.”

After just two short years in the MLM company, Kristina started her digital marketing company, now known as SocialCow. Her first client? A local medical practice that requested a new website. 

Today, Kristina Centnere serves as the Founder and Lead Strategist at SocialCow, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in January of 2021. They focus on strategically marketing wellness-related businesses – including medical practices and national product brands – using a combination treatment of neuromarketing and digital advertising.

“Neuromarketing is the use of active and theoretical neuroscience in how we present products and services to customers. On a professional level, it helps my team accomplish our goal of minimizing the enormous amount of guesswork that goes into marketing and therefore lowering our clients’ costs. On a personal level, it combines my passion for creation that is marketing and psychology.”

Big brands including Frito Lay and PayPal have effectively used neuromarketing for decades to better understand their customers and exponentially increase their sales. Kristina’s team brings the power of neuromarketing to small and medium sized businesses, and then effectively uses the data to increase sales.

“Using eye tracking and emotional recognition software allows us to better know which creative, copy and even packaging our clients’ audience is most drawn to in a positive way. This greatly reduces cost and increases sales as well as overall perception of the brand by its customers.”

If 2020 has made you reconsider your profession and has you asking “what if”, Kristina has a few words of advice:

“It’s worth it. Decide, commit and whatever storm may come – and storms will come – navigate it with faith and joy of the coming sunshine.”

To connect with Kristina, you can follow her on Instagram here and check out SocialCow’s website here.

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