Neuromarketing edges into mainstream

12 September 2014

LONDON: Marketers' views on neuromarketing are evolving rapidly, as they no longer regard it as an interesting novelty and are increasingly likely to see it as a must-use research option.

"The single most transformative trend for neuromarketing is the accelerating shift of studies away from the science lab and into the home," writes neuromarketing specialist Thom Noble in the latest issue of Admap.

Long gone are men and women in white coats attaching electrodes to a willing participant's head. Advances in digital technology mean that techniques such as eye-tracking, facial coding, implicit reaction-speed testing and voice decoding can now be carried out on PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Those same developments also mean that neuromarketing has become scalable, costs have fallen and studies can be turned around quickly.

Noble observed that "those who previously baulked at the high cost of pilot projects can now take their initial, tentative steps into the neuro-sphere with outlays of less than $3,000", while results can be fed back within as little as 24 hours.

But he conceded that "expediency often comes at a cost". New-style methodologies tend to be less robust than lab or central location studies, while concerns remain about both the quality of data collection and the data integrity itself.

One outcome of this has been an increase in demand for multi-modal solutions, whether running studies in parallel or bringing various techniques together in a single study.

For the latter Noble offered the example of a new wave TV ad copy solution which combined moment-by-moment EEG and facial coding, implicit reaction-response plus a self-report survey.

While testing ad copy has long been a staple for neuromarketers, the industry is now branching out into a wide range of new areas, from shopper marketing to brand extensions.

Noble highlighted the work being done on multisensory projects as a particularly exciting field, which had "potentially huge value in unlocking reactions to flavour, aroma and tactile stimulus".

As a practitioner in this industry he was obviously pleased that it was gaining wider recognition but he sounded a note of caution. The growing number of new suppliers meant the industry had to develop standards and vendor accreditation. And on the agency side, he thought there were too few neuro-literate planners and marketers.

Data sourced from Admap