Tuesday, March 4, 2008


It seems that one of the hot subjects in the wonderful world of marketing is neuromarketing. Since our brains usually do most of our thinking, marketers have partnered with neurologists to use data collected from brain science to develop more efficient marketing plans. This has been a developing technique over the last few years, but it looks like it will become more popular this year. Focus groups have been revolutionized, because rather than studying the appearance of response to certain things, neuromarketers can track brain waves about 2,000 times/second. Tracking these brain waves allows them to notice responses/trends in their attention, emotions, and memory.

So focus groups can now consist of a group of people hooked up to a sensor cap while they watch an advertisement, or use a product, etc. Pretty intense, right?

This technique is being used for the presidential campaigns, testing brain responses to campaign ads and debates. It's also being used to test responses to the other senses, such as smell. (I wonder if it was used to test the response of that grape juice lickable ad!) Starbucks, for example, apparently eliminated the sale of their breakfast sandwiches for a reason other than their declining sales - the smell of their eggs did not mesh well with the smell of their coffee - and the smelling process of a coffee purchase is very important to people.

Reading about all of this makes me think of an exercise that one of my marketing professors encouraged us to try. She suggested that outside of class, when we were studying, we should take a candy bar that we enjoy and smell it while we were studying. Then, once we came in for the final, we should bring that same candy bar to smell while taking the final. Point being, it adds a pleasant addition to one of our senses which could have a positive effect on our memory. We can process information without consciously being aware of it, and whether you agree with the technique or not, marketers will become more capable of doing this through neuromarketing.

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