Neuromarketing ? What next ?

31Mar04

Beware! Big Brother is not just watching…. He is getting ready to actually open your brain and look inside it to see the processes inside. And all in the name of research…. shudder, shudder….

Have been reading a lot about neuromarketing, the neurological study of a person’s mental state and reactions while being exposed to marketing messages. I keep writing (and ranting) about how marketing agencies are constantly in the search for ways and means of getting under the skin of their consumers…. And how research agencies keep coming up with fancy techniques that are increasingly intrusive and objectionable….

India as a market is still not so saturated and consumers here not so yet so cynical that marketers are thinking about such high-tech options…. We can make do with focus groups and surveys for a while…. But in the saturated Western markets, where reaching the consumer is a big big challenge for the marketer, it looks like anything goes….

Neuromarketing is the one of the latest such techniques…. Agreed, the good old focus group is passe….. Abuse and misuse has made it the F word of market research…. And most other techniques are still very subjective and limited in their effectiveness….. So, when all else fails, turn to science to unravel the big black box that is the consumer’s mind ?

And I am not even talking yet about the ethical issues behind peeping into a person’s mind, all for the sake of marketing….

Imagine a scenario when marketing agencies will no longer use the services of market research agencies but scientists for their research. And soon, we will have ‘professional respondents’ here too who have learnt to control and manipulate their brain waves to suit the research needs ?? The mind boggles at such thought….

Or worse, we will have market research agencies claiming to be experts in neuroscience, offering such services at ‘competitive rates’ to marketing agencies. In a scathing analysis, Jennnifer at brandmantra says, When people misuse low-tech options, it’s quite probable that they’ll misuse newer high-tech options. I’m not averse to new technology; I am averse to making it available to users who don’t often understand the basic principles…. Exactly what I mean….

The latest I read was at beyond-branding about neuromarketing being used on children….. ENOUGH !

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