Demystified Neuromarketing

On Wednesday (7th of March 2012), Focus.com hosted a great online roundtable called “Demystifying Neuromarketing“. You can either listen to the recording below or check the main ideas of the discussion:

Don Metznik (Owner at Creative Logic Marketing, business blog) was the moderator of this event. Having spent his entire career on marketing, he says that “Neuromarketing is the most exciting development” that he has been part of. He introduced each member of the panel:

What is Neuromarketing? How do you define it?
Patrick Renvoise stated that neuromarketing is the science of human decisions, using biomeasurements (blood pressure, position of the eyes of people, heart rate, blood activity inside their brain).
Brian Krausz also added that neuromarketing is the science of measuring anything that is not a direct action in marketing.
Sara Misell defined neuromarketing as the application of neuroscience to marketing: understanding either what happens in the mind with regards to decision making, attention, the dopamine loop with expectations, either on the reacted side – measuring reactions using eye tracking devices, and using this knowledge in the principles of marketing that they create. Applied Neuromarketing is the idea that findings of Neuromarketing can be compiled to come up with rules for marketing.

Can you give us some examples of ROI of Neuromarketing?
Patrick Renvoise is claiming as high as 38.93% ROI as opposed to 5% before using Neuromarketing techniques. Also, their clients managed to close deals after working with SalesBrain, although before there were only 10% chances of success.
Sara Misell “It’s notoriously difficult to measure ROI when you’re looking at something that you’re building, a platform or a design from scratch.” Also, Sara’s Neuromarketing firm has done some testing in social media.

Is there any neuromarketing research for large purchases vs. small purchases (e.g. buying a home vs. buying a tube of toothpaste)?
Sara Misell talked about a study she came across with, where decision-makers were tested when buying a property. The aim of the study was to determine the accuracy of their decision based on having more than 20 variables directly comparable. So, when deciding for a large purchase, people tended to fall in one of three groups: they either made an instant decision, or they made a decision after 15 minutes of a logic, rational process, or they mold it over for 15 minutes subconsciously. The interesting finding is that the group that mold it up subconsciously for 15 minutes actually ended up having the most efficient price versus variables outcome and the most effective decision making.

Have there been any insights on using neuromarketing research that ANY marketer can implement today (including middle and small business owners)?
Patrick Renvoise stated that at SalesBrain, they have compiled all the different findings from the experts and developed a model of predictability, providing rules that all marketers should apply. So, the applied side of neuromarketing can be accessed by everybody, as it doesn’t require neuroscience knowledge or having expensive tools (such as fMRI).

About the myths surrounding Neuromarketing, Brian Krausz says that clients need to understand when to run a study and when not to, or when to reapply findings of a previous study.

What is driving your passion behind your career?
Sara Misell was led to neuroscience by a need to greater understanding of how her own mind works, the minds of the people around her, and how do we all make decisions.

For selling neuromarketing services, what are the key benefits you present when building a business case?
Patrick Renvoise said that before neuromarketing, marketing was just a semi-empirical science. Neuromarketing brings another layer of rational data to do all the marketing. So it will make clients (companies) go from an artistic part of marketing to now a purely scientific part of neuromarketing. Neuromarketing removes a lot of the artistic part of marketing. He also explained Coke vs Pepsi challenge with neuroscience.
Sara Misell also has a very good point: How do you expect your marketing to be effective, if you don’t know what’s going into your consumer’s mind?
Brian Krausz stated that using cool gadgets to measure things that were traditionally measured using focus groups and whiteboards and applying a scientific edge, is an effective pitch for large agencies that are concerned about standing relevant. He says that the biggest pullback to eyetracking and neuromarketing comes from designers, as they are passionate in their creative work, and fear this will be used in a wrong way.

Confrountation between conscious and subconscious in decision making
According to studies, we make rational / conscious decisions 10% of the time.
Sara Misell says that there is a big issue with people perceiving neuromarketing as brainwashing, but the truth is that a lot of our decisions are subconscious and are driven by emotions and our core values are the ones that drive our emotions. Neuromarketing is the opposite of brainwashing, as it actually allows connecting more closely with what the consumer is actually looking for.
Brian Krausz stated that people need to agree to participate to eye tracking studies (as it is not possible to blindly track people), so this concerns (privacy issues) about “big brother” and brainwashing only come from advertisers.

How is Neuromarketing different from NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)?
As Sara Misell said, people use NLP for therapy and for copywriting and language for marketing campaigns. NLP teaches us that we have different associations contexts in the mind and each one builds a different sensory input, teaching us to use the language in the strongest sensory modality of the audience or to mix them up in order to connect with each type of audience. So, NLP is not equivalent to neuromarketing, but it would definitely come down as a strategic neuromarketing tool that could be layered in.

How is Neuromarketing the same and different from psychology?
Patrick Renvoise stated that in neuromarketing we can actually do real hard core measurements. Psychology is much harder to measure. But both NLP and psychology are going to be a part of what happens in neuromarketing.

How the reptilian brain responsible for our decisions?
Patrick Renvoise went back to the structure of the brain, as for many years now scientists have been talking about the fact that we don’t have just one brain, as there are different kinds of brains and different kinds of structures of our neurons. There are different models of the brain, and one of them points out that there are three brains: the neocortex (new brain) – responsible for the high level thinking, this is where we think what we are going to do or what we are going to decide; the middle brain (deeper inside the brain, towards the center of the brain) – processes and encodes emotions; the reptilian brain (old brain, first brain, the brain that we share with reptiles) – at the very top of the spine, there is a section – it has more input to the final decision than the other two sections of the brain. Decoding how the reptilian brain works, they concluded that it can be triggered by one of six stimuli. Using reverse engineering on the decision making process, they help people maximize the probability to either read the reptilian brain and understand or subconscious needs, or trigger the reptilian brain (pushing the buy button on the brain). Even today, our reptilian brain is always on and it is driving our lives and driving our decisions.

Will neuroscience research replace traditional marketing research? And if not, how does it complement traditional market research?
Sara Misell thinks that traditional research (asking people what they want) is never going to be replaced, but you need to diversify where you get the information (qualitative and quantitative). As shown by fMRI studies, the reactions people make consciously, logically and verbly doesn’t always match with what is going on in their minds, because they’re not necessarily conscious with what decisions are actually coming to them and how they’re coming to them.
Brian Krausz said that neuromarketing can have such a strong influence on other research methods. What people say, isn’t always what they mean. You can ask someone what they we’re looking at, and then look at the eye tracking study and it will be completely different (because people don’t remember / don’t tell the truth / don’t care to tell the truth). Neuromarketing has a long way to go before reaches it’s appropriate market share in the market research field.

As for reading recommendations, they suggested: Gerald Zaltman – How customers think, Jacob Neilsen – Eyetracking Web Usability (usability oriented eye tracking) and Norman Doidge – The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (in understanding the true capacity of our mind), Leon Zurawicki – Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer (for understanding the processes of attention, perception and memory that could make the marketing more effective) .Antonio Damasio – Decartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. As a conclusion, we need books on eye tracking!

This was a great roundtable, and I am looking forward to the next ones that involve neuromarketing discussions!

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