Neuromarketing Goes Mobile with Mynd

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A key limitation to all the studies conducted in the field of neuromarketing so far has been convenience. fMri technology comes with a costly equipment, noisy and confined space and inability to move whereas EEG which uses external electrodes poses a cumbersome job of wiring a person.

Neurofocus now has come up with a mobile solution for Neuromarketing. They have pushed the EEG technology ahead with their new Mynd™ headset. NeuroFocus, a firm that brings brain research to marketing, today unveiled what it deems “the first dry, wireless headset designed to capture brainwave activity across the full brain.” This device has been three years in the making and was debuted at the 75th Annual Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York.

According to Neurofocus, Mynd has several advantages over the previous technology:

  • Full-brain coverage with dense-array EEG (electroencephalographic) sensors. Full-brain measurement is the universal neuroscientific standard applied in the world’s premier laboratories and educational institutions.
  • Within seconds of slipping the user-friendly headset on, a consumer’s brainwave activity is captured across the full cortex.
  • Wireless transmission of brainwave signals; capable of interfacing with any Bluetooth-enabled mobile communications device.
  • Dry “smart” electrodes (sensors), eliminating the use of gels and enhancing signal quality by introducing novel technological breakthroughs.
  • Enables first full-brain coverage home panels for market research.
  • Comfortable, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing modular design with easily-replaceable sensors.

[From NeuroFocus Announces World’s First Wireless Full-Brain EEG Measurement Headset: Mynd™

With convenience factors such as dry electrodes and mobility, studies that monitor real world behaviour such as shopping in a supermarket, will be made easier.

Apart from neuromarkting, this new headset will also be used by European Tools for Brain-Computer Interaction consortium for developing technologies that assist people with neurological disabilities.

Mynd is expected to be rolled out in labs all over the world shortly, however the device is not for commercial sale.

Neuromarketing – Is it Ethical?

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I have posted a couple of articles on Neuromarketing and how it can revolutionize the entire marketing industry. Neuromarketing – A branch of neuroscience blending marketing and science, in layman’s terms, reading someone’s mind to sell products. Thousands and thousands of dollars are being spent on researching Neuromarketing and now big brands are also embracing this technology. The question arises, Is Neuromarketing Ethical?

Neuroscience, MRI and brain scanning have being used since ages to determine truth, to understand the mind set of killers, rapists and criminals. So, scanning the brain of a person to know what goes inside his head is not a new concept. Even movies have been made on this theory, if you have seen the movie Minority Report by Tom Cruise you would understand. In the movie Tom Cruise is walking in the mall and have products directly pitched at him.

There are almost 90 firms today that are offering mind reading services in the form of Neuromarketing research. As part of this research, companies use MRIs, EEGs, and other brain-scan technology to read the mind of the consumers in hopes to design their messages in order to shift buying habits.  This is not just simple eye tracking or scanning user behavior when they visit a website. These technologies measure the pre-conscious brain of the consumers.

When we go to a store to buy a product, we look for brands not the product. Brands have used this habit of the consumers to influence the consumer’s decision about what to buy and what not to buy. We don’t make decisions unconsciously. When we see a product we automatically relate to its brand, quality, reviews, price, all based on our recollection of that product from past encounters.

Before marketers used to craft messages in a highly cognitive ways. They felt that if they could make people think about their brand, then they can think differently and respond. But recent studies has proved that our attentiveness is dependent on our emotions. Our emotions guide whether we will respond and pay attention to a brand or not, thereby influencing our purchasing habits.

Using Neuromarketing, companies are looking for ways to craft their messaging in a way that will bypass our conscious mind and will create an impression on our unconscious mind which would be sticky and irresistible. Whether it is ethical or not is a personal opinion and may differ from one person to another. How successful brands are in influencing our unconscious mind to affect our rational decision making will only be told in times to come. Lets wait and watch.

Brands Using Neuromarketing

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Over the last decade, Neuromarketing has emerged as a promising marketing field and more and more brands are looking to adopt it in making their marketing decisions.

Companies are realizing the importance of Neuromarketing and how it can be used to measure brain activity in consumers. It is commonly understood that consumer buying decisions are made in split seconds in the subconscious, emotional part of the brain. Therefore,  by understanding what consumers like, don’t like, want, fear, are bored with, laugh at, etc. as indicated by their brain’s reactions to brands, marketers can design products and communications to better meet the requirements by actually connecting to the consumers.

Here are some of the brands that have already started using Neuromarketing and have got successful results:

  • Microsoft

Microsoft is now mining EEG data to understand human interaction with computers in terms of their feelings related to surprise, fear or frustration.

  • Google

Google partnered with MediaVest on a biometrics study to compare YouTube overlays with pre-rolls. Conclusion overlays were more effective.

  • Frito-Lay

Frito-Lay used Neuromarketing to study female brains with a hope of devising strategies that can better capture their female consumers. The results showed that they should avoid messaging related to guilt and instead guilt-free and healthy associations should be communicated.

  • The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel used multiple Neuroscience techniques including EEG, skin response and eye tracking to measure viewer reactions to three different promotional pitches for their upcoming popular series.

  • Campbell Soup Co.

Campbell used Neuromarketing to figure out how to get more consumers to buy their soups. The research resulted in one of the biggest changes that they have ever made in their packaging, the soup bowls have now become bigger and steamier and soup spoons are gone.

  • Nike Shoe Store

Study conducted on many consumers revealed that scented environment leads to consumers stay longer and spend more. Nike Shoe Stores, Omni Hotels and Rolls Royce have successfully used this research to make their consumers linger longer.

Neuromarketing – Next Generation Marketing

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Internet has undoubtedly changed the way marketing is done. Interactive marketing has taken over static Internet marketing.  Interactive marketing is faster, smarter and more appealing. But consumers are not behind and they have become savvy, more aware, and more pricky towards their choice of products. In spite of this growth, what is lacking is the ability of the consumers to state their choices and the inability of the markets to interpret consumer’s preferences. This is where Neuromarketing comes into picture.

In traditional marketing, marketers can use various behavior patterns of their consumers to predict trends, modify their products and tailor everything from development to distribution. Using Neuromarketing, marketers can get a lot more data and better results of their marketing efforts.

By using techniques such as galvanic skin response, EEG, and fMRI, new information can be generated that can allow deep and direct access to consumer preferences. In neuromarketing, neuroscientists interpret consumer reactions, brain waves, oxygenated blood responses or any other physiological data, thus, giving a complete and accurate picture of consumers’ preferences.

The science of neuromarketing is not new. There are technologies available for marketing companies to apply this science to better their marketing strategies but they have not. Despite questions of ethics and a lack of trained professionals accomplished in neuromarketing execution, the true barrier is the exorbitant cost associated with neuromarketing analysis. Even though the results are excellent, neuromarketing is still a dream for many organizations due to the high price of execution. The marketing industry will await for the time till the benefits of neuromarketing are greater than or equal to the cost incurred.