Neuroscience is expensive but the results are invaluable

Marketers are beginning to see the value of neuroscience as a solution to gaining deeper levels of insights into the minds of consumers, and although it can be costly the benefits are worth the spend. 

Mindi Chahal

Neuroscience can analyse fast, emotionally-led consumer reactions, rather than slow, rational responses. 

Processes including eye tracking, monitoring heartbeats and sweat levels with skin sensors, facial coding and brain scanning are all used to capture these reactions. 

The idea behind monitoring and analysing this type of behaviour is that people don’t always do what they say or say what they mean. Looking at their physical reactions adds another level of insight.   

Marketing Week has analysed the value of neuroscience and what marketers need to know about the new technology and new ways of gleaning customer insight.   

Although brands are spending more of their research budgets on neuroscience – indeed Ipsos MORI predicts that its neuro business will generate five times as much income this year as it did two years ago – there are still issues beyond cost.    

For example, Facebook and OKCupid attempted to manipulate consumer emotions so there are certain ethical considerations to tracking behaviour.  

However, as long as a brand is transparent about the method and the value to the consumer ethics should become less of an issue. 

Marketers’ habits are also a barrier to the use of new methods of research. 

Earlier this year Nielsen’s director of industry relations Michael Smith said that brands are finding it hard to do anything more than minor experimentation in neuroscience and are limited to what they are already doing due to the entrenchment of existing methodologies.    

Of course traditional surveys and focus groups will always have a place in market research but advancements in technology is something that can be integrated with existing methods, which will move the industry on and ensure its place in the future.  

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