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Cautious eye cast on neuromarketing

News, 26 June 2015

NEW YORK: Even as the practice of neuroscience in marketing brings more tools to brand stewards worldwide, the certainty that such services will provide reliable value is still in doubt, according to a report in the latest issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

Duane Varan and Steven Bellman (Murdoch University/Audience Labs), Annie Lang (Indiana University/The Media School), Patrick Barwise (London Business School) and René Weber (University of California, Santa Barbara) discussed this idea in a Viewpoint piece in JAR.

"New neuromarketing methods that potentially can predict advertising effectiveness face a daunting process," the authors write.

"Vendors in this evolving industry offer a confusing range of often proprietary differences in methodology."

And, in case anyone is uncertain about their findings, the authors' language gets stronger and more specific.

"There is no common truth, no single scientific reality exposed as a result of these new methods," they assert.

"Waves of interest in 'pure' measures of advertising response have come and gone in the past, many times for the same reason: though grand claims were made, they could not be replicated by other researchers.

"To prevent this happening with this new wave of neuro measures, vendors will have to show that they have sufficient confidence in their measures that they are willing to let others test them independently.

"Neuro vendors should compete like opinion-poll vendors: on the quality of their data, not the uniqueness of their measures."

The article – "How Reliable Are Neuromarketers' Measures of Advertising Effectiveness? Data from Ongoing Research Holds No Common Truth among Vendors" – appears as part of the four-part "How Does Neuroscience work in Advertising?" section of JAR.

This also includes considerations on psychophysiological approaches for measuring consumer response to messaging, the way visual processing can affect sponsorship programs and the use of eye tracking in determining audience attention to competing editorial and advertising content.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff