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Is Neuromarketing the Best Marketing Research Tool?

By Tom van Bommel
Persuasion Artist

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Someone who says that neuromarketing is the only golden standard in market research would be lying. Market research is so numerous in its issues, domains and consumers that it is impossible for one method to offer the answer to everything.

In this blog we therefore take a nuanced look at neuromarketing research. What is doing well? And what is not?

In which domains does neuromarketing research excel?

Of all research methods neuromarketing offers by far the most objective measure of how the customer really experiences an advertisement, shop or website. Where the insights from interviews and focus groups are clouded by rationalizations, subjective interpretations and social desirability, brain methods such as EEG and fMRI measure directly at the source.

Because of this measurement purity, neuromarketing is pre-eminently superior in two objectives:

  • predicting future (buying) behavior
  • optimizing advertising, website or store 

Predicting (buying) behavior

Neuromarketing methods such as Eye Tracking, fMRI, EEG, Biometrics and implicit associations have been investigated for their predictive behavioral value in many areas.

The predictive value of neuromarketing excels especially in products that are bought on the basis of emotion or habit. It is therefore ideally suited for predicting the sales of FMCG campaigns and entertainment.

Studies have shown that neuromarketing can predict behavior in areas such as:

  • Advertisement
  • Movies (take a look at our case in which we predict box office hits)
  • Top 40 music
  • Willingness to pay (determining optimal pricing)
  • Effects of in-store signs

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Optimizing advertising, website or store

Because neuromarketing gives such an immaculate picture of the customer's experience, it is also particularly suitable to improve this experience in a targeted manner.

For example, neuromarketing makes it possible to make advertisements more convincing, websites more user-friendly and stores more activating.

In particular the combination of EEG and Eye Tracking is a favorable set-up to discover handles for optimization. Because both instruments are capable of a large number of measurement moments per second, they map in great detail what a person experiences emotionally and was looking at at the time.

What are the weak points of neuromarketing research?

Although neuromarketing research accurately records the emotional experience, this is also a weak point. For issues that cannot be summarized in a measurable experience, neuromarketing is not suitable.

Brain and viewing data reveal what someone thinks of, but that in itself does not reveal anything about the why. When you have a why-question, do not grab the brain scanner. You are – for the time being - dependent on surveys and interviews.

Consider neuromarketing research as a strong addition to your existing set of research tools. Where your research question touches on predicting and improving the effectiveness of advertising, shops and websites, neuromarketing is the superior methodology above its classic counterparts. However, you should not want to drill with a hammer, even if it is a platinum hammer.