What would you do for a Klondike bar? Does every Kiss begin with Kay? These are the questions consumers are forced to ask after being exposed to such iconic marketing campaigns year after year. But the times are changing. With the availability of new research techniques, many companies are trying to find new ways to sell that Klondike bar, or that wedding ring…and they are spending considerable amounts of money to do so.
The current problem for advertisers is an unforeseen level of indifference among consumers, which has most likely come as the direct result of rapidly developing smart phones and other connected devices. Consumers just aren’t paying attention to ads in the same way they were before. Now consumers are watching television, while browsing Facebook, and sending a text message. There exists a battle for our attention the likes of which no one has ever seen before. (Except for Facebook. Facebook has seen a lot of likes.)
So how are companies figuring out new ways to reach consumers? Many companies are turning to the developing field of Neuroscience. This includes, but is not limited to: eye tracking, brain scans, facial coding, and even biometric tests that monitor heart rate and skin conductivity. Many consumers and news outlets seem to be a bit worried about this technology being used to sell products to the masses. Did you just see that bag of popcorn flash across the screen?
This lack of enthusiasm to accept new technology, however, has not prevented the field from growing as quickly as it has. The Neuromarketing Science & Business Association, founded in 2012, now has more than 1,000 members in 91 countries (Schweizer). Companies like Campbell’s, Yahoo!, Samsung, M&M’s, and Pop-Tarts are among the companies that are openly using this new technology. What these companies are learning about consumers, and how they respond to selective messaging, has proven incredibly informative and very effective at targeting consumers more precisely.
However, despite the research currently being conducted–still very little is known about how the brain works. How could we ever fully comprehend the brain’s connections to billions of neurons? For the most part, doctors and scientists have been able to gain a fairly comprehensive understanding of how all the other organs in the body work. Yet still, they have not been able to comprehend how the brain functions as an information processor. Even if scientists could understand one person’s brain at a particular moment, the grey matter volume in the human brain changes as we age. What may affect us today, might not matter to us tomorrow.
While we at Motivated Marketing find the use of Neuroscience in Marketing wildly fascinating, it doesn’t change the fact that its current cost effectiveness (and ability to provide definitive answers) is rather low. However, if you do have the money to spend we know where it would most likely prove its effectiveness–Brand Awareness Campaigns. Examples might include multi-national firms trying to bring attention to themselves or their product across the country or even across the globe. This type of research commands large sample sizes in order to produce any viable conclusion. Smaller companies, or local branches of companies, probably cant justify the considerable cost of hiring a neuroscientist to study thousands of people. Either way, it is an interesting trend in the marketing community that seems poised for growth as existing technology continues to blossom in new directions. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the field going forward.
To further discuss this or any other marketing topics, please reach out to us. We’d love to help with any branding, marketing, advertising or media needs you may have.