Myths about neuromarketing

Neuromarketing—a promising innovative and science-driven field in marketing-represents a giant commitment to dramatically improve efficacy and accountability of marketing in the 21st century. This objective was supposed to be achieved with a new potential and optimistic vision. Yet, high hopes are very often left unfulfilled.

Let’s take a look on a few myths that affect neuromarketing from the very beginning:

1. Myth: Neuromarketing is manipulation

Neuromarketing is not a mind-reading crystal ball nor manipulation. It is a scientific method using the most advanced brain imaging and diagnostic tools routinely used in hospitals around the globe.

Healthy adults volunteer to participate in neuromarketing studies. Researchers disclose all relevant information about a particular study to each volunteer. Informed contests are routinely signed by participants before any research starts.

Magnetic resonance imaging or EEG are safe and routinely used medical brain examination tests. Every day thousands of patients’ scans are performed in hospitals around the world. Expert teams then evaluate results of all studies at various local or international scientific forums or conferences.

By using results and insights from neuromarketing studies we can better understand how human brain works. We can observe in detail which parts of brain take part in shopping decisions—like purchasing a new car, smart phone or summer holiday—and how they affect each other.

2. Myth: There is a "shopping button" in human brain

No, there is no button in human brain which you can just touch and sell everybody whatever you want. Outcomes from neuromarketing studies seem to be generating more questions than answers. But some evidence is starting to emerge.

We know that what people think, say and do are in fact totally different worlds. We also know that our buying behaviour is becoming simpler in ever changing and more complicated market environment. In fact it is more resembling automatic mode.

We do not rely on "tried-and-proved" methods or routine practice like consumer research or sex in advertising. We can detect so called "vampire effect" in ads glutted with subliminal emotional stimuli.

We know why are "mirror neurons" so important in creating efficient emotional feedback with consumers. In fact, we also know that these neurons cannot be switched-off—they simply run non-stop.

3. Myth: Neuromarketing is just a "fashion trend"

Neuromarketing only emerged because traditional marketing was for decades showing upward tendency to evaluate things superficially and distortedly. Marketing does not have much experience with routine scientific approach and practice. It just prefers definite and simple conclusions, two-dimensional matrix, retrospective evaluations and consumer research.

Traditional marketing was never interested in scientific approach and complex solutions. It is very lengthy, uncertain and complicated. Clients do not want complicated and uncertain outcomes. They want clear and articulate facts—what is good and what is not, what is going to work and what is not.

Under "alchemy" mask they often sell just illusions. The matter itself is rather carefully hidden from each client’s sight. Maybe clients want to believe that somehow everything is going to work out in the end.

New dimension

By studying human brain behaviour is neuromarketing logically pushing traditional marketing model into the third dimension. Into the world where it is natural dealing with biological models. In fact, live organisms are pretty complicated, complex and very unpredictable.

Have you heard about the theory of relativity? Of course you have. What about the chaos theory or the theory of everything? In this new world you should better forget that P-mix even exists.

Neuromarketing can offer heavy going for people who want to move on and dig deeper—especially in exploring brands. Every path of science is difficult but sometimes it might offer the forbidden sweet fruit from the tree of the knowledge.

By Dr. Jan Knap on April 23, 2018

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