Debates about the value-added of the consumer neuroscience research continue to be very broad and active among marketing and consumer insights professionals. The key reason for this – strong challenges with the traditional research methodologies.
As we’ve discussed in one of the previous posts (What do attitudes show?) results of the traditional research methodologies frequently end up in a low (or even no) impact on the sales growth.
Therefore, searching for the new research tools and methodologies that would provide more in-depth and impactful insights, research professionals start experimenting with a broad array of research tools used in consumer neuroscience. Despite its strong growth, consumer neuroscience research continues to be very unclear in terms of its business implementation and value.
In many cases this is driven by two key consumer neuroscience research limitations:
- small sample sizes (meaning low chances to evaluate potential ROI and Size of the Prize for the developed business recommendations);
- high research costs (meaning a big share of the research budget).
At the same time, in-depth understanding of consumers’ engagement and emotions are the areas that can provide incredible business value for the brand building and development of the marketing campaigns. And this is exactly the areas where consumer neuroscience can bring its strong benefit.
To tell a long story short, neuroscience research can be used for a high variety of business questions. Below I’m sharing a slide on this subject from my keynote presentation from Qual360 Europe Conference.
Furthermore, consumer neuroscience can be also used for concepts, product and packaging testing, especially when the objective is to understand multisensory consumer response.
Addressing these business questions with consumer neuroscience research, its important to remember that this domain includes a very broad spectrum of tools on top of famous brain scan (fMRI), to name some: Facial Coding, EEG, biometrics and eye-tracking.
As we see, consumer neuroscience research sounds like a very promising area for the further investigation and implementation along various business questions. However, it’s important to remember – for this journey you should build a different type of collaboration with your research agency.
Beginning your new consumer neuroscience project, it’s critical to have a very clear understanding of its research methodology and tools. It might happen that the team doesn’t have any members with such background. So, some help of the external expert might be very beneficial here.
It’s important to remember that there is a lot of science involved behind and it’s definitely not a magic box that is happening with a neuroscience tool, despite the fact that many agencies are telling you this!
Consumer neuroscience research needs a lot of internal validation and should be perceived as one of the building blocks in the research plan, rather than just a magic wand that will answer all the questions. Hence, it’s helpful to treat consumer neuroscience research as an important investment in the research capabilities building (see more on the building of the strong CI organization).
For the next steps of the neuroscience capabilities development, results from the consumer neuroscience research should be combined with other business metrics. Again, there is no magic box, it’s all about observation of the results and trends, which might work only short-term and only for close to random metrics (e.g. metrics for brand health are driven by many environmental and contextual factors)!
To sum up, I would like to share the following recommendations with the teams who are on their journey of the consumer neuroscience capabilities development.
Sources: Häusel, H-G. (2008). Neuromarketing. Erkenntnisse der Hirnforschung für Markenführung, Werbung und Verkauf. München, Haufe