Heart rate, eye tracking, galvanic skin response, facial coding, MRIs...sounds all very medical and scientific. It is! Welcome to the world of neuromarketing.
The theory and process of neuromarketing came out a few years ago and has garnered a lot of attention from traditional marketers. As marketers already knew, how a person responds to an ad, a website, or any other informational or promotional material is emotional. What’s unique about neuromarketing science is that researchers use technologies, such as EEGs and MRIs, to observe brain activity and biometrics to determine how people respond physiologically to a message.
Researchers believe that by tracking potential consumers’ unconscious reactions and decision-making to marketing messages, we will gain insights about and a better understanding of what people want.
The advantages and disadvantages of neuromarketing
Before leaping into the world of neuromarketing and abandoning traditional market research, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Traditional marketing can be difficult at times. It’s not always easy to find people for focus groups and survey participation. Even then, sometimes the results are not really accurate, as there is always a functional conscious mind making a judgment. In contrast, because neuromarketing targets the unconscious mind, the results are much more likely to be “real” and unbiased.
So I’d say the pros are:
- Unguarded insight into the the automatic responses that take place at the subconscious or unconscious level;
- An understanding of how participants respond physiologically to specific parts of an ad or message;
- A more “real” and true response to an ad or message.
I’d say the con sides are:
- The cost of neuromarketing
- It is a science that is still evolving and researchers are the first to point out that there’s not a completely reliable way to connect how people react emotionally to an ad or message;
- Lab testing reaction results may be different than when a consumer is actually in a buying environment.
A lot of what is now being found out from neuromarketing science research, we have known for years. It just measures different factors and provides different information. We know that emotions and the subconscious affect decision-making. We know the mind processes visuals better than words. We know that the first and last parts of an ad message are vital to how a message is received, and we know that people respond favorably to children and puppies.
If I had the availability of both at my fingertips, I’d use both. Traditional marketing and neuromarketing measure different parts of the complex human mind and both provide extremely valuable insights.
I’m certain that as this relatively new field evolves, it will provide even greater depth about how humans process information. From there, marketers will need to use the information wisely and strategically, always taking into account a business’ unique qualities its and particular target audience.
Group Matrix Blog – December 4, 2017 – by Sharon Bowles