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Pros and Cons of Neuromarketing

03 May 2018

Every Friday in our office we have a general meeting. It's a time when we can share any news, or any difficulties we are facing at work or just interesting thoughts we've had during the week. During one of our recent meetings, one of our new sales managers said that he had been asked a question that turned out to be difficult to answer. It was a simple question: 

'It sounds great, but what are the cons of neuromarketing?" 

Well, if you are a newcomer to this world, you want to know not only bright side of the neuromarketing but its weak points as well. Today we will tell you about cons (we promise!) but first let us start with pros.

Pros of neuromarketing 

1. Filling in the gaps  

Neuromarketing tools can easily highlight blind spots left by traditional methods of market research. It provides a better understanding of customers’ behavior as well as insights on why very often they don’t ‘walk their talk’. To put it more simply, neuromarketing can explain why when going to a café, customers plan to drink tea with milk but order black coffee upon arrival.   

Unlike traditional market research, neuromarketing derives data not only from information provided by customers (survey answers) but also from observations (of facial expressions, eye movements, shifts of the mouse cursor, etc.). Such data, which mainly originates from the unconscious reactions of respondents, can tell you a lot more about their true desires and attitudes than consciously controlled answers to questionnaires. 

2. Linking of physiological reactions to content  

Neuromarketing enables the establishment of clear links between physiological reactions and particular moments of a video, elements of the website, packaging design, etc. For instance, emotion measurement can provide you with comprehensive data on respondent’s reactions to particular parts of a video or marketing material and thus help you improve those parts which provoke negative emotional feedback.  

3. Improved reliability of results  

Neuromarketing helps to reach the unconscious realm of the customer’s mind. It provides a better understanding of the process behind the automatic reactions which are taking place on the subconscious level of every customers’ mind. Analysis of such reactions substantially facilitates comprehension of customers’ decision-making patterns.   

Customers can lie (consciously) but their brain can’t, because they can’t control their unconsciousness. Neuromarketing helps you to penetrate the domain of unconscious and thus get more reliable data on customers’ motivation and true reactions to the product, design of website or packaging. This information can be further used to better satisfy customers’ preferences.

4. Value for money 

New digital tools and software substantially diminish the price of research while providing a better quality of insights. Online software-based tools, which can be used even by amateurs of market research, today provide a quality and depth of insights unreachable for professional market research companies 15 years ago, and at a lower price.  

Cons of neuromarketing 

1. Ethical concerns  

It's the eternal question. Some people think that neuromarketing is getting inside the brain of customers. Well, neuromarketing does things that a good psychologist does. It 'learns' your behavior patterns and makes smart outcomes, nothing more. 

2. Availability of specific skills   

The more specific knowledge you have the higher quality of insights you can achieve. Some time ago it was necessary to have a scientific background to be able to interpret the waves and graphs neuro-tools provides you with. Today it's not necessary because the reports became easier to understanding (thanks to technology of course). But you still have to make some effort to sort out what all these heatmaps, statistics, and metrics mean. We have to help the machines to understand us!

3. Expensive equipment  

It’s true that neuromarketing equipment always used to be expensive. But today, thanks to the development of technology, a complete set of professional neuromarketing equipment costs around $1,500, not $50,000. It’s still a considerable amount of money, especially for a small company, but it’s far less than the tens of thousands of dollars which it used to cost. The quality of data which you get using expensive equipment is excellent but not so much as it was 10 years ago. 

4. Privacy 

All this buzz around the GDPR proves that people want to have more control over the data they share. Well, no one is truly insured from the leakage of data. That's why we should work for improving the technologies and ways of data protection. And it comes not only data that we get with the help of neuro-tools. It’s quite doubtful whether an incentive to make customers happier through improvement of the product and buying experience can be called a crime. Anyway, be ready for people to still consider attempts to get inside the brain of customers interfering with their right to privacy and personal life.

For sure implicit test will show that each person in our office has a preconceived opinion about neuromarketing. Don't judge us too harshly please!  Of course, we seem a bit biased when talking about neuromarketing. But we truly love it! And we are ready to inspire you to give these tools a try. 

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