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Neuroscience in Marketing: Fact and Fiction


Heather Andrew, UK CEO of Neuro-Insight, a consumer neuro research specialist firm, discusses the fact and fiction around the neuroscience techniques which enable advertisers to understand what consumers think about their campaigns.  By using these techniques to assess brain activity, subconscious, emotional responses of consumers can be revealed.  These responses are often difficult to measure via traditional research.

Among the Facts:                                                             

-Neuroscience adds value on top of traditional research methods: measuring the brain activities of audiences provides clarity on issues that people might not be conscious of or find difficult to articulate.  Neuroscience helps to identify emotional responses and to identify what is stored in memory on a second-by-second basis as audiences engage with content.

-Measurement of memory is crucial to assessing ad effectiveness: successful memory encoding has a strong correlation with decision-making and purchase behavior, and is the most important metric on which neuroscience can report.  Emotional response is also crucial, but high memory encoding levels are important to great advertising.

Among the Fictions:

-Neuroscience can read minds.  Fact: neuroscientists use technology to identify which parts of the brain are active as consumers interact with different types of content. Analysis of this information provides insights about the impact of the content.

-Measurement and analysis will stifle creativity. Fact: neuroscience often highlights the effectiveness of highly creative ads that can be undervalued by other methodologies.

-You only need a small sample when using neuroscience. Fact: samples of approximately 50 people are generally viewed as a minimum cell size.

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