22
Nov

Neuromarketing: Market Research’s Magic Bullet?

neuromarketing: market research's magic bullet?

By Artem Violety, Vice President

Exciting new techniques are emerging within the advertising and technology industries, creating fresh disrupters in market research and opening new doors to more opportunities and insights than ever imagined before. However, as with most new findings, additional research and confirmation is needed before these techniques become relevant and widely accepted.

One new field of study that has emerged is “neuromarketing research”- an attempt to leverage learnings from neuroscience to better understand the brain’s responses to marketing stimuli, and thereby better understand consumer behavior. I had the pleasure of appearing on a panel discussing the topic at the ad:tech conference in New York, held November 2-3, 2016.

The panel discussed how face recognition software could uncover consumers’ emotional states; how biometric markers, such as skin conductance, heartrate, and respiration could be used to detect non-conscious response to stimuli; and how brain imaging techniques, including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) could potentially uncover consumers “true” reactions to marketing stimuli by measuring actual brain activity.

These techniques are obviously very attractive to marketers. Imagine being able to peer into a consumer’s mind and see how interested they are really in a product, or which of two marketing messages better resonates with them, all without having to rely on what they tell us.

Neuromarketing’s focus is on consumers’ “unsaid” thoughts, so in essence, their inner, unedited, potentially unconscious thoughts and feelings. This is generally called “System 1” or “Fast” thinking, and it refers to a consumer’s automatic response to a given stimulus; it’s a potentially vital aspect in decision-making but by no means the only one.

In contrast, more traditional market research focuses on what is explicitly reported by a consumer. This is called “System 2” or “Slow” thinking, and refers to the more deliberate, logical or conscious aspects of decision making.

As one can imagine, both types of responses are worth considering when trying to understand how the consumer feels about a product or service. Unfortunately, the excitement that usually accompanies a discovery of a new set of tools or techniques often overrides not only previously accepted learning but even basic logic.

For example, the notion that there is a metaphorical “buy button” in the brain that can be accessed via neuromarketing is promise boldly made by some practitioners. However, this claim is akin to those made by proponents of using hypnosis or subliminal messages in commercials – highly attractive but without much merit. Since the brain is an organ that evolved over a much longer period of time than humans have engaged in commerce, there wouldn’t have been an opportunity for a “buy button” to be part of the biology of the brain. There are surely “approach or avoid”, “fight or flight” functions built in, but those reflect a need for basic survival, not the desire to buy a shiny new phone or another pair of shoes.

In order to be useful, neuromarketing research must be placed in the proper context – it’s a tool that can be used in conjunction with other traditional techniques, but it’s not a panacea for all marketing questions. As neuroscience evolves and is able to better explain human cognitive abilities, it will surely play a larger role in how we all conduct marketing research. However, it is unlikely it will ever completely replace  the need to actually talk to people in order to understand them, something we humans have a good deal of practice doing.

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26
Jul

Pokémon Go Consumers, You Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Pokemon Go Consumers, You Gotta Catch 'Em All

By: Cory Kinne, Project Director

It’s 2016 and the Pokémon craze has struck again, this time in the form of a mobile app called “Pokémon Go”. As of July 21, Over 30 million downloads have occurred since the app’s release earlier in the month, and the hype doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Not surprisingly, many Pokémon Go players are adults, since Pokémon first came out more than two decades ago. It’s nostalgia for many in their 30s and 40s and the game’s social features appeal to most millennials as well, not to mention teens.

Because of this broad appeal, Pokémon Go presents retailers with an opportunity for free promotion. No matter how big or small a business may be, welcoming Pokémon Go players to their shops and restaurants, or malls and boutiques has little downside.

Simple in-game purchases can be made by businesses in order to draw more customers through the doors. Items like “Lures”, which draw Pokémon to a certain location, can be purchased for as little as $1. New customer bases can be reached and the return on investment is promising; one New York pizzeria is boasting huge returns by investing only $10 in the Pokémon “Lures”, causing a 75% increase in business over the course of a single weekend.

Businesses can also be a “Pokéstop”, a place where players (or “trainers” as they are referred to in the game) go to receive items like “Poké Balls” and “revives”, or a “gym”, a place where players battle their monsters to become leaders. You literally have to be within a few feet of a Pokéstop to take advantage of the bounty of items within.

Such features of Pokémon Go draw players to the area, and businesses can up their marketing prowess by offering incentives such as discounts, prizes, or a free gift for players stopping by to increase interest in their products or services.

Our research and technology partner Qualtrics had some interesting statistics from Pokémon Go trainers they surveyed. See some fun and interesting infographics here.

For any retailer, it’s an opportunity they can’t afford to pass up. Engage customers in simple e-marketing campaigns, inviting Pokémon players, and informing them of nearby gyms or announcing your status as a “Pokéstop” is easy to do and costs little more than time. You literally have to be within a few feet of a Pokéstop to take advantage of the bounty. Better yet, business owners, managers and even employees should download the app and play the game to become familiar enough to converse with customers about it.

You may not get to level 30 in Pokémon Go, but chances are many of your customers have that as a potential goal. If your retail location hasn’t started using Pokémon Go, you don’t want to miss out.

For further insights contact the Morpace Retail team at ckinne@morpace.com. When we’re not catching the Wild Rattata lurking in our hallways or checking out the three nearby gyms adjacent to our Detroit headquarters, we’ll be there to answer your questions on how to take advantage of this craze. After all, you gotta catch ‘em all (customers that is)!

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2
Dec

Online Communities: A Powerful Media Relations Tool

By Jason Mantel, Vice President

A strong selling point for Market Research Online Communities is the ability to collect information quickly, sometimes instantaneously, from community members.  The theory goes that having members is exponentially more powerful than having respondents – members are engaged in your brand, eager to share, will be brutally honest in sharing the feedback your brand needs to hear. They are also available to you when you need them. Paper

As a primary market research firm, this is the line we use to promote MROCs.  Too often, though, these amazing tools are not leveraged for an amazing benefit: speed.

Morpace was contacted by Automotive News for thoughts on the electric vehicle market.  We host a MROC in this space, called My Driving Power.  The request came to our team at 4 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and some of the questions were on topics where we had limited feedback.  Our first inclination was, “we’re missing that data!” And then suddenly, we remembered what we tell our clients – that MROCs generate fast results. (Really, it took time for this to sink in!) One of our analysts posted a few key questions immediately to our members.  And they didn’t let us down.

By 7 a.m. the next morning, we experienced a nearly 30% response rate, and robust results we could share with the publication.  We were able to answer specific questions, with statistically relevant figures, and pages of valuable comments, literally overnight.  I can’t recall another instance in my research career where that was possible, let alone with such a targeted audience.  (And many of our clients who host communities are yet to leverage their members for this type of benefit.)

I can imagine the value of this result in just about any corporate suite.  Even though I knew how it was supposed to work, I was simply amazed when it did.

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27
Oct

Give Consumers The Right Instruments So They Will Become Your Ideal Co-pilot

CopilotBy Julie Vogel, Vice President

Okay, so here’s a true confession for you:  There were times during my years managing brands for The Quaker Oats Company when I felt uncomfortably in the dark about the sales impact our multi-million dollar marketing programs would have once we launched them into the consumer-o-sphere. And there were times we flat out made mistakes and missed opportunities because of an understanding gap between us and our consumers that seemed impossible to bridge.

For example, I’m thinking of the time I and my brand team launched a wrongly-named Hispanic tortilla mix in Southern U.S. markets.  The name meant ‘dirty wet dough’ in Spanish.  (And wrapped in a paper bag, too!)   But no one on the team spoke Spanish, and we couldn’t afford research, so the packaging department did some fancy guesswork.  But they guessed wrong, and that product was on the shelf for years – with our target likely chuckling away – until a Spanish speaker fortuitously joined the team and alerted us of the mistake.  The product was renamed, package redesigned, and sales jumped.

With the clarity of 20-20 hindsight, our blind-spots stemmed largely from a lack of immediate, back-and-forth communication avenues available at the time that would enable us to sustain the consumer understanding we needed to feel confident in our actions.  Sure, we surveyed, ad-tested, conducted groups, and at times fooled ourselves into believing we could actually think like the target.   In truth, we were just getting isolated ‘dipstick’ reads on certain topics, among certain consumers, at certain intervals, under certain conditions.  There was no way to truly hear the right group of consumers share their motivations, experiences and actions as they went through life and interacted with our brands over time.  Or to let them give us a heads-up if we were considering a silly name for a product.

Roll the tape forward, introduce social technologies that empower us – and our consumers—to exchange information almost any time, anywhere — and brands can now virtually make consumers their trusted co-pilots  at the go-to-market controls.   In particular, I have been astounded by the level of sustained, authentic insight and spot-on direction brands can obtain on a host of decisions large and small by setting up their own private online market research communities.

In my work building online market research communities for global brands, I have seen the peace-of-mind marketers can get from having a small (100s) or large (1000s) pool of ‘consumer-advisors’ virtually camped-out, at-the-ready to work together to resolve critical, time-sensitive decisions.  These are often decisions that need to be nailed-down and gotten right, fast, to ensure successful in-market programs

Okay, so I admit:  I am downright jealous of brand marketers today who have access to social technologies that empower them to take much of the guesswork out of who their consumers really are, and what they want from the companies they buy from.

After all, it’s downright embarrassing to be on shelf, or on-screen, with a proposition your audience finds ridiculous.  But without the right tools in place, it can happen to the best of us.  Better to do a reality-check with your audience before you hit the stage.  And today, this is eminently doable for forward looking brands serious about getting it right.

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