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How to Make Neuroscience Work for You

Like many less than avid football fans, I spent Super Bowl Sunday a few weekends ago more excited for salsa and commercial breaks than forward passes and field goals. I was particularly tuned in this year because of the recent work that MREB has done on the application of neuroscience to market research. For the past few years, the neuro supplier Sands Research has used EEG technology to compile rankings of the big game’s commercials. Obviously they got something right about 2011’s number one Volkswagen ad – the company brought back Darth Vader this year.

Neuroscience has a definite cool factor – but aside from pretty pictures of your brain on ads, is there real value in it for Research teams? Our answer is a qualified yes.

  1. Neuroscience techniques can rarely be used alone. Neuro can provide unique and valuable insight when used to supplement existing research, but it is not yet poised to replace any traditional methodologies.
  2. Research teams can get more value if they push past tactical use and explore the more strategic applications of neuroscience. Think outside the box of creative testing and use neuroscience in areas with high potential for new learning.
  3. Teams should be judicious in their use of neuroscience. Important questions to ask are:
    1. How important is it for me to access my customers’ emotions?
    2. How important is this decision to my business goals?
    3. How confident am I in knowing how my customers really feel?
  4. Take advantage of lower-tech neuro methods which tap into unfiltered reactions without actually measuring brain activity. In addition to being much less costly, these techniques can also give more contextual information.

For more information on incorporating neuroscience techniques into your research, read our new whitepaper: Using Neuroscience Techniques to Gain Deeper Insight

Comments from the Network (2)

  1. Andrew Pohlmann
    on April 3, 2012

    Important modification to the comment, “For the past few years, the neuro supplier Sands Research has used fMRI technology to compile rankings of the big game’s commercials.”

    While Sands has experience in fMRI, the SuperBowl studies were conducted using EEG. I spoke with Ron Wright at Sands last week to verify because this would have been a big departure for them especially since EEG is much better suited for this type of study and far more cost-effective. The results are still the same especially the takeaway regarding neuromarketing as a standalone technique. The same can be said about articulated surveys alone – the best option is to combine Think + Say to create the best predictor of consumer behavior.

  2. Gail Hankin
    on April 4, 2012

    Andrew, thanks for your comment and for bringing this to our attention. I’ve corrected that sentence in the post.

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