Choosing a research method should be objective and not a habit

The sexier side of market research got a slot in the Advertising Week Europe agenda today (2 April) with a session on neuroscience and biometrics, which highlighted inertia and entrenchment as a key challenge in the mainstream adoption of the techniques. 

Mindi Chahal

In the session ‘It’s not brain surgery but brain science’, Nielsen’s director of industry relations Michael Smith said that brands are finding it hard to do anything more than minor experimentation. Many marketers are limited to what they are already doing due to the entrenchment of existing methodologies.  

Smith also noted that once brands start trying new things, they might have concerns around scaling the research, particularly if the company is small. If the business is larger, clients can be worried about the resources to take projects global for international brands. 

While the concern around scale and resources for global brands is a valid point, entrenchment in companies in using traditional methods is something that can change.

If a brand is looking to measure in-depth emotional responses to ads, it might be better to record facial expressions based on second by second analysis, rather than following up in a focus group asking respondents how an ad made them feel.

One example, in packaging design, is the new puppy on Andrex packs that is designed to play on emotional triggers. 

Former Andrex marketing director Jon White told Marketing Week that people are “hard-wired” at an instinctive level to respond to certain stimuli, or ‘biomotive triggers’, which affect shoppers’ subconscious and generate emotion and action before the conscious part of the brain kicks in. 

This subconscious aspect is something that Andrex could have tested using neuroscience to see if the puppy encourages those emotional responses it desired.  

However, new techniques like neuroscience and biometrics, which record emotional responses through measuring brain activity, facial expressions, heart rate and even sweat, might not be right for all research projects. 

During the Ad Week discussion Horst Stipp, an executive vice president at the Advertising Research Foundation, advised marketers to think about the objectives, consider when the method would be most valuable and evaluate the pros and cons of the chosen method.  

The choices are there for marketers to make the most of all techniques in market research that exist today and falling back to traditional focus groups and surveys should be done because it’s the right choice not the usual one.   

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here