3 Reasons for not switching to Neuromarketing Usability Research

Neuromarketing, Usability

3 Reasons for not switching to Neuromarketing Usability Research

Neuromarketing: a topic that is becoming more popular every day. And there’s a reason for it. This relatively new research method allows us to look into the brains of the consumer. This way we can discover on which unconscious bumps they stumble on their way to conversion.


It provides insights that consumers would never tell us, even if they want to. That is of course incredibly valuable. But does this mean that every company should get started with neuromarketing usability research as soon as possible? No, certainly not.

For there are a number of conditions that a company must meet if they really want to get the full potential out of neuromarketing usability research? In this blog, we will list three reason for not switching to neuromarketing usability research.

1. You have never done any market research

We always say: Neuromarketing usability research is an addition to, not a substitute for.


It is true that the vast majority of the choices are made unconsciously. It would therefore not be crazy to think that neuromarketing is always better than traditional research. However, this is not the case.

Some things can simply be discovered by a asking. In these cases we definitely recommend to do this as well, and omit precious brain data for a while.

This also applies to the other low-hanging fruit: If you have not done market research yet, start with ‘traditional’ research. If the basis is ticked off, then neuromarketing becomes interesting.

Very interesting…


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2. You do not have a clear or concrete research question yet.

Neuromarketing is new and innovative; a dangerous combination. It can be tempting to simply connect some consumers to the brain scanner hoping something fascinating will surface. Such ‘open’ research however, often results in a deception: A vague research question provides vague insights.

So think carefully which question you want to answer through neuromarketing. There are roughly two possibilities.

On the one hand, neuromarketing is often used to select the most effective variants of an advertising, product, store or website. On the other hand, neuromarketing can be used more exploratively to determine which communication elements are exceptionally seductive or just confusing.

Of course we can help clarify or concretize your question.

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3. You have ethical objections to brain research in marketing

Most methods within neuromarketing originate from the medical world. They were developed to treat people. Now, these techniques are also used in the marketing world to make communications more seductive.

Some people have a principle objection against the application of Eye Tracking, EEG and Biometrics. The unconscious consumer would become too vulnerable to the temptations of marketeers due to brain research.

We have a different opinion: neuromarketing is essentially no different from traditional research, but is simply more effective. Any ethical objection to neuromarketing is equally valid against traditional marketing. That, of course, makes ethics no less important. As a marketeer, it is your duty to reflect on the ethical principles of your choices. If you want to read more about ethics within neuromarketing, we recommend the book Ethics and Neuromarketing by Andrew R. Thomas.

As you have read, neuromarketing usability research is not the best choice for everyone. Start with picking the low-hanging fruit through traditional research. Read more about these two different forms of research in this blog.

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