Neurmarketing research is becoming a more active experiment with many advertisers from Google to Frito Lay. By studying consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective responses to advertising or product stimuli, marketers can learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it, then adjust marketing and advertising accordingly.
And now, the Advertising Research Foundation has conducted a study of neuromarketing effectiveness, analyzing the latest methods being used to evaluate advertising and products to determine the effectiveness, drawbacks, and promise of various analytic methods.
The study was sponsored by eight major marketers: American Express, Campbell Soup Company, Clorox, Colgate-Palmolive, General Motors, The Hershey Company, MillerCoors, and JP MorganChase; and four major TV networks: ESPN, Viacom Media Networks, NBCUniversal, and Turner. The project was also supported by Dentsu, Publicis Groupe, A&E, and Warner Bros.
The study is the first major review of neuroscience methods that apply to media and advertising response. The New York-based ARF brought together eight neuromarketing research companies from across the globe to have their methods reviewed and analyzed by an academic review panel with expertise in methods evaluated in the study, namely: facial coding, biometrics, electroencephalography (EEG), steadystate topography (SST), facial electromyography (fEMG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
The academic reviewers concluded that neuromarketing research has the potential to provide important new insights for the evaluation of commercials and other visual stimuli, but also that there remains a need for continued validation efforts to strengthen this field. Nevertheless, the ARF strongly maintains that, while researchers should not abandon traditional measures, they should likewise not simply defer learning about and trying neuromarketing approaches until all the academic validation questions are answered. The potential contribution of these approaches to the creation of great advertising is simply too compelling.
Above all, advertisers should not be reluctant to use neuromarketing methods qualitatively, especially early in the creative process, to identify opportunities and pitfalls in storylines, messaging, and key branding moments. Additionally, the ARF provided its viewpoint on which types of approaches are best suited to the most common research objectives and questions that advertisers have.
The findings from this work are summarized in the ARF’s newly released white paper, Uncovering Emotion: Using Neuromarketing to Increase Ad Effectiveness.