February 22, 2019

Examples of companies using neuromarketing

The quest to win over the consumers has led many brands to want to further know them in all aspects. To this end, brands now resort to specialized neuromarketing companies that carry out implicit research studies, but… what do these companies actually do? only neuromarketing?

Why are companies betting on neuromarketing?

The brands are conscious that the consumer is more and more exigent and less faithful. Not only the product or service must satisfy specific necessities, but the consumer wishes to fall in love with the product, to be surprised, and searches for a relationship that is much more than just business. Brands, in their quest to win over the consumer and target audiences, aim to know his desires and necessities, and generally speaking, all that is related to the decision making process of purchasing.

Thanks to traditional market research, brands can know what the consumers think and verbalize through explicit research techniques such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews, and analyze consumer behavior with observation techniques. But in an increasingly competitive reality, this information can be insufficient.

Neuromarketing was born a few years ago, and this discipline has been a revolution in market research: it is a new way to know more about and enter the mind of the consumer, extracting information related to motivations and attitudes, emotional reactions and cognitive processes through implicit research techniques. Differently from traditional market research, neuromarketing extracts this information by applying neuromarketing research techniques for brain imaging (EEG or functional magnetic resonances) and monitor eye tracking, galvanic skin response or heart rate (GSR or HRV), among other parameters.

Neuromarketing is a new tool that complements traditional research, to help brands understand their clients in a holistic manner. Not only large companies such as Google, Microsoft, Disney, Hyundai, and Coca-Cola, are conscious of this affirmation and make use of this new type of research. Rather new or smaller companies also carry out these types of studies to know more about the decision-making process, what motivates purchase decisions, how to improve the usability of their websites, test their product, optimize social media or ad campaigns to improve conversion rate, create a sense in brands, and assess their traditional or digital marketing strategies, among many others.  

Faced with this reality, the demand for market studies that employ neuromarketing techniques continues to experience significant increases. As a consequence, the number of companies and experts in neuromarketing in Spain and around the world has also increased considerably. Therefore, working with neuromarketing techniques to obtain more information on the consumer has been converted into a must for many companies… but what type of companies dedicate to neuromarketing? Do all of them carry out studies? Are they exclusively dedicated to neuromarketing?

We can split neuromarketing companies into three big groups:

  1. Companies that offer neuromarketing services (they carry out studies for the brands);

  2. Companies that develop and then sell the technologies to carry out these studies (brands carry out the studies themselves),

  3. Companies that cover #1 and #2.

Companies with neuromarketing that carry out and offer studies

The objective of these companies is to carry out and offer studies to analyze, from emotional and cognitive levels, different aspects of a marketing strategy such as publicity campaigns, a product, its packaging, among many elements. The results could include the position of the brand in the mind of consumers, identification of the best insights to seduce consumers, or find improvement areas in the usability of a website or mobile app. In  this line, we can distinguish several types of companies that are dedicated to carrying out these studies:

Traditional market research or user experience (UX) companies

Traditional market investigation or user experience (UX) companies are already incorporating some neuromarketing techniques to complement their quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (interviews, focus groups, usability studies) studies. Although neuromarketing isn’t their main focus, brands have the increasing need to complement the information expressed consciously by the consumers, with nonconscious information related to the emotions of consumers.

A new trend of these companies is to incorporate biosensors into focus groups, interviews, and usability studies. In this way, we can obtain quantitative emotional information that can be confronted with qualitative information about the feelings, at a group level, during different moments of the meeting.

Examples of companies using neuromarketing in focus groups

Nevertheless, neuromarketing is a complex discipline. Carrying out a study is much more than having the required technology and neuromarketing laboratories. It is necessary to know how to carry out an experimental design (establish the necessary steps and their order in the study) to ensure that results and conclusions are valid and reliable. Therefore, to know how to carry out these experimental designs, minimal background in scientific methodology is required. However, depending on the study, this could be a complex task and therefore many of these research institutes, besides incorporating the technology, open a specific department to this end. This departments have specialized personnel in consumer neuroscience, or resort to specialized partners in neuroscience such as Bitbrain.

Brands

Most of the international brands have consumer intelligence departments. People that work in these departments have a clear objective: obtain valuable information from consumers, to help develop new products or design charming advertising campaigns. For such, numerous strategies and techniques have been employed during years, such as the execution of their own traditional market studies, detection of trends, innovation in the creation of new products and observation of the consumer and related shopping habits.

To complement such information, some brands (as well as traditional market research companies) incorporate neuromarketing techniques. Therefore GoogleMicrosoftDisneyHyundaiFrito Lays or Coca-Cola have already started to become interested on how neuromarketing can help them better understand their consumers. Neuromarketing research is therefore converted into a science that studies the behavior of consumers and establishes itself as a fundamental discipline in market research. However, as previously mentioned, technology is not enough. Appropriate experimental design is required, and personnel training is necessary. Many brands opt to buy neuromarketing laboratories that include pre-established templates or hire out studies to third parties.

Companies that operate exclusively with neuromarketing

These companies are specialized in carrying out neuromarketing studies only. These studies help identify improvement margins in an advertising campaign, product or service, or within digital surroundings. Changes can be therefore suggested or focus can be directed to potentialize positive aspects that are contributing towards the desired objectives.

These companies that employ neuromarketing count with the required technology and prepared personnel to carry out the studies. The most employed neuromarketing techniques are, mainly, EEG to measure brain activity and analyze brain electrical responses, GSR or EDA to measure microchanges in skin perspiration, BVP or ECG to measure heart rhythm, eye-trackers to determine visual attention, and implicit response tests to evaluate the associative force of two concepts with different assets, or indoor-GPS to learn about patterns of movement in shops. But there are also companies that offer studies with functional magnetic resonance to determine which areas of the brain are activated in different studies. Nevertheless, these studies are expensive, long, and acceptance of participants is usually reduced, among other inconveniences of this technology.

Examples of companies using neuromarketing exclusively

Other companies that carry out neuromarketing studies

Besides market investigation or user experience (UX) companies and brands, we also find other organizations that do not want to stay behind regarding knowledge on the consumer. Some of these are publicity agencies, digital or general marketing consultancies, communication companies, design companies, etc. These companies have seen that neuromarketing is an effective tool to improve the result of their services, for example, confirming the effectiveness of their publicity campaigns (agencies), assessing their proposals at digital or traditional marketing levels (marketing consultancies), identifying the best point of a political speech (communication companies and political neuromarketing), and confirming the response to new product designs (design companies). Many of these already have the technology and trained personnel to carry out such studies. However, some companies choose to hire specialized companies to carry out neuromarketing studies.

Companies that sell neuromarketing technology

All the aforementioned companies require neuromarketing laboratories, such as the ones developed by Bitbrain, to carry out their studies. These laboratories enable the design of studies, registry of data, and analysis of physiological and behavioral responses of the consumers. Neuromarketing is scientific research applied to marketing. Nevertheless, neuroscientific equipment employed in the medical sector is complex, and therefore extraction of valuable data for a brand is a difficult task. Therefore, engineers and scientists along with market researchers have developed technology and programs that are more adapted to utilization in market investigation, which enable comfortable measurement and analysis of physiological and behavioral responses and translation into valuable information for marketing and communication. Therefore it is important that, before purchasing any equipment, we ensure its quality and usability in the context of market investigation. If equipment is not reliable, the results provided will not be either, and if we can’t operate a piece of equipment, it is worthless to us.

Before the boom of neuromarketing, there were techniques employ to gather information on the consumer from many different angles and disciplines such as human behavior research or human psychology. These techniques are still employed nowadays and provide very valuable information. However, when confronted with the necessity of analyzing non-conscious motivations an attitudes of the consumer, and considering emotions and cognitive biases that influence in the decision making process, many companies have started to use neuromarketing and acquire laboratories enable in-house studies. If you are going to carry out a neuromarketing study or are planning to purchase a laboratory, it is important to take into account the quality and usability of the technology as well as training in scientific investigation. Neuromarketing is multidisciplinary and therefore requires knowledge of several different areas, such as neuroscience and marketing, which combine to provide complete information on the consumers.

To remain up-to-speed on the latest advances in neuromarketing, you can check out blogs, videos, scientific studies or even enroll in a neuromarketing course. In this case, do not miss out on our view on how to select the course that best adapts to your expectations.

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