Mo’ Brainwaves, Mo’ Questions?

Mo’ Brainwaves, Mo’ Questions?

iModerate Author

Mar 30, 2011

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Broadly speaking, neuromarketers measure how the brain and body react to certain stimuli, then extrapolate from that information whether an advertisement, brand, product, or package is having its desired effect. – Fast Company 3.21.11

Nueromarketing is all the rage in the research world. Last week we attended ARF re:Think 2011 in NYC and you couldn’t escape the presence of brainwaves. Of course we are referring to the type of brainwaves being tracked by devices to decode consumer behavior, not the kind used for Jedi training as seen here. (We have this device in our office and I am currently a Level I Padawan.)

But seriously, let’s think about this for just a minute. Maybe the holy grail of market research isn’t figuring out brand sentiment and decoding chatter in the social space, but rather figuring out how to leverage electroencephalograms (EEGs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs) to understand the real emotional why behind consumers’ decision making processes.

While neuromarketing techniques might still be at the ‘fuzzy front end’ of legitimacy, they are without question extremely intriguing. Just imagine being able to avoid the pitfalls that come with relying on respondents to put their emotions into words, and instead acquiring the purest form of feedback.

The ARF Neurostandards Collaboration Project, the first study of its kind to conduct an independent peer review of neuro-and biometric market research, didn’t exactly give us the definitive yay or nay on neuromarketing that many of us wanted. Essentially the review board said that neuromarketing shows promise, but advised it still only be used as a supplement to other research. Moreover, the results of a test project based around a campaign for Colgate, and participated in by 8 different nueromarketing firms, were inconsistent.

So is nueromarketing going to change research forever? Will actual communication with respondents be a thing of the past? Is this shiny futuristic research for real? One thing is for sure, for nueuromarketing to gain mass acceptance it needs collaboration from all of the key players, some serious vetting and some industry-wide standards.

What’s your take on it – Biggest methodological breakthrough since the survey or research’s version of the CueCat?



iModerate Author

By engaging an experienced firm such as iModerate, whose business is qualitative research, you get online delivery of depth interviews by experienced researchers – both during the interviews and for the analysis. iModerate does not simply understand our business questions, but they work to scope discussion guides to advance both the narrow business question and the larger context of the experience, helping us advance marketing and business objectives with their findings well beyond the immediate need.

Angela Knittle, Market Research Manager, Penske