Is Neuroscience the future of market research?

Are glasses about to become cool?

Harry Potter wore them. Elton John crocodile rocked them. Gandhi led an independence movement in them.

If you’re looking to style up your blinkers this year, technology is definitely the way to go. We’ve seen a lot of snazzy eyewear come about recently, from Google Glass (where’d you go?!) to the introduction of commercially available VR headsets and the announcement of Snapchat’s ‘Spectacles’. However, yet another piece of stylish head gear is about to become more popular, as it looks to make an impact in the world of marketing: Eye-tracking glasses.

As companies begin to spend more and more on advertising, CEOs everywhere are setting out to maximise profits from their marketing budgets spent on billboards, TV ads and digital marketing. Enter ‘Neuromarketing’. It uses principles of neuroscience to track various brain activity in order to measure the effectiveness of advertising.

Eye-tracking glasses can be used in Neuromarketing to measure a person’s focus within adverts. Brands such as Skoda have already jumped on board with this, using these glasses to discover viewers’ focus on their logo, as well as measuring response to movement and humans within adverts.

It has also helped brands like TalkTalk understand what provokes a higher emotional response in people. By analyzing in detail people’s reactions to real families vs celebrity promotion, families won out significantly. It sparked the very successful ‘This Stuff Matters’ campaign, where fixed cameras filmed a normal families daily life. 

So what else does Neuromarketing involve? It uses elements of cognitive science, so as well as tracking eye movements, emotions can be objectively studied, as well as tracking brand interaction and loyalty.

By using eye-tracking glasses and MRI scans, companies can measure changes in brain activity say before and after a subtle change is made in an advert.

However, it does present some issues in terms of field use. For example, current glasses are quite noticeable, therefore the user is acutely aware of them throughout any testing, which may influence their interactions and skew any results to make them inaccurate. Any EEG scans or similar to try to connect emotions to particular stimuli can only be conducted in a lab, meaning subjects aren’t operating in a natural emotional or consumer environment.

Right that’s the science-y bit over….

But is there a genuine future for Neuromarketing? Whilst the potential is definitely there, the technology needs refining before it can be scaled up and used across the board. With such easy access to big data about clients, bigger firms would be less inclined to pay for scientific research when they have cold hard facts about user data, interests and purchase history at a click of a button.

Marketing research firms would need to invest huge amounts of resources into a technology that would need constant updating and attention in order to grab the attention of CMOs. Nobody said it was easy to reinvent the entire marketing industry, but Neuroscience could very well be the most used marketing tool in years to come. For now, an integrated approach seems most likely to combine all the data available with the new techniques.

This new trend of tech-savvy eyewear may be the future, but until they make a nice pair of rims to rival Dennis Taylor, we’re out.

 

Written by Emily Hale