Neuromarketing – thinking beyond ad testing

Neuromarketing – thinking beyond ad testing
SHARE
THIS



Neuroscience provides us with deeper insights into how consumers think, feel and make decisions than ever available before, and these insights have the potential to revolutionize traditional marketing practice.  Neuroscience provides us with new directions when it comes to dealing with habitual buyers or to shaping considered purchase decisions, revitalizing a mature brand, designing a communications campaign that delivers results, priming the consumer along the path to purchase, or using disruption to gain market share.

But the application of neuroscience to these sorts of strategic issues – what we call neuromarketing – is not always understood.

For example – more and more marketers and their agencies are testing ads, logos, package designs and other collateral material in labs, typically by assessing the reaction of consumers on the basis of brain activity.  This is useful:  it can tell us if, say, an ad succeeds in activating emotions or leading to memory formation.  Importantly, we can assess memory formation in the nonconscious mind – something that can’t be measured by traditional research techniques such as asking about ad recall.

That's great!  But what does it really mean?

If we test a TV ad, it’s useful to know that certain frames or sequences lead to a drop in emotional engagement.  This may allow us to make some corrections.  It is also important to know that memory formation is being triggered – we don't want an ad that doesn’t shape existing or create new memories.

But none of this is particularly useful unless we understand the strategic context – what neuromarketing tells us about the role of advertising and, therefore, how to set appropriate communication objectives.

There are two types of memory that are relevant here, and neuroscience tells us that both require emotional engagement to be shaped, or formed in the first place:

  • The brand memory – the feelings, sensations, and attributes associated (consciously or nonconsciously) with the brand in the consumer’s mind, the most important of which is the belief that the brand has the ability to satisfy a particular consumer goal.

  • The advertising memory (‘ad memory’) – the feelings, sensations, and attributes associated (consciously or nonconsciously) with the advertisement in the consumer’s mind.

The purpose of advertising is to shape the brand memory in a way that primes future purchases.  This can be done either by associating the brand with new qualities or capabilities or by reinforcing existing associations. 

What does neuroscience-based ad testing tell us? Brain activity measurement may tell us that we have emotional engagement and memory formation, so that our ad might be creating an ad memory – but this doesn’t guarantee that the ad memory will be linked to the brand memory, in which case it will be ineffective.  If you think this is not likely to happen just consider that tens of millions consumers downloaded funny Budweiser virals, while the brand's market share declined.  There was a great ad (or viral) memory, but it looks like it had no impact on the brand memory, i.e., it did not prime the purchase decision.

Alternatively, we might have had an impact on the brand memory, but it may not be the desired impact.  Measuring brain waves cannot tell us if our brand memory has been shaped in the way intended. 

My conclusion is that lab tests' primary contribution is to weed out the worst.  They can tell you if you are just about ready to waste your media budget by airing an ad that clearly is not going to work for you.  But they cannot tell you if and how your ad will impact on the consumer's brand memory.  In other words, they can't tell you if the ad tested will actually help you to realize your campaign objectives. At the end of the day we need to look at lab testing as a useful initial screening stage rather than an assessment of an ad's effectiveness in the context of your campaign objectives. 

This is where neuromarketing (as opposed to neuroscience based market research) really comes into its own. By helping us to understand how consumers make purchase decisions, and the role of brands and advertising within that, we are better able to clearly define brand and communication objectives, as well as the strategies with the best chance of achieving those objectives.

Peter Steidl, neuroscientist 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Quiip Announces Raft Of New Business Wins
  • Marketing
  • Media

Quiip Announces Raft Of New Business Wins

Australian social media and online community management firm Quiip has announced a raft of new business wins and contract renewals. Publicis Worldwide (Australia), Sydney Adventist Hospital and the Museum of Australian Democracy have all recently enlisted the services of Quiip. The company has also had contracts renewed with VicHealth and beyondblue. Quiip is providing a […]

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.

businessman using tablet PC and information communication technology concept. IoT(Internet of Things). GUI(graphical user interface). paperless office.
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Smartly: The Future Of Martech Is Automated

Automated ad buying platform, Smartly was at the centre of the tech innovation stage at the Online Retailer conference 2018. Smartly head of ANZ Marta Bonzanini (pictured below) discussed the integral role automation plays in the future of marketers and creatives. “If an ad is not performing as well as planned, you probably have some […]

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games
  • Technology

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games

For the moments when we can’t be together IRL, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most. Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time […]

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo
  • Media

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo

Sphere snares Stockdale & Leggo business, which is a real estate group & not a simmer sauce as first reported on B&T.

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation
  • Technology

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation

With Aussie farmers facing so many challenges, could the answer be Blockchain technology? Ranking top 10 at this year’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurial Conference (OTEC), pitching against 32 other start-ups from around the world, Aussie start-up Agunity are leading AgTech innovation. Having won the right to represent Australia during Investible’s nation-wide pitch competition, AgUnity took to […]

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci

Facebook's Carolyn Bollaci is the latest to sup at B&T's truth serum we prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Vic Govt Unveils ‘Tafe + Jobs’ Via Fuel Agency

The Fuel Agency has launched the new ‘TAFE + Jobs’ campaign, aimed to promote and drive applications and enrolments for courses starting in 2019 There’s a lot happening in Victoria, with record investment in road and rail projects, and in the health, community and disability sectors. As a result, there’s greater demand for skilled workers. […]

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Rakuten Marketing Appoints New CEO

Rakuten has a new CEO. However, judging by the tired handshake photo, B&T doesn't have any new ways of illustrating it.

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising
  • Advertising
  • Opinion

Why Consumers Block Your Advertising

Who better to explain why your ads are getting blocked than a real ad blocking expert. As B&T has done right here.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jackie Crossman

B&T has spared no expense with today's top Women in Media profile, save for suit hire, corsage and dry-cleaning.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner
  • Technology

Kantar certified by Google as a verified Measurement Partner

The announcement designates Kantar as an approved third-party measurement provider for brands looking to verify their media spend performance on Google owned platforms. Kantar is approved globally to provide both Brand Lift Insights for evaluation of brand impact from campaigns and for independent measurement of audience reach from campaigns on Google properties. Kantar CEO Eric […]

THIS
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Final Call! B&T Late Entries Close Today!

B&T Award entries officially close at 5pm today! Good news if you've almost finished, bad news if you haven't started.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off
  • Campaigns

Australian Women’s 15s World Cup Bid Kicks Off

“It’s 2018”, is something you hear a lot when you talk to the players, coaching staff and fans involved in Rugby AU’s bid for the ‘Rugby World Cup Women’s 2021’ tournament. There is this sense that they are not only ready for a greater stage, but raring to go. As one player said “Ready?! We’re […]

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power
  • Marketing

Aussie Silk Brand Harnesses Kardashian Marketing Power

Shhh Silk is an Australian brand that quickly grew in popularity among celebrities like Gisele Bündchen and Kim Kardashian West. Shhh Silk has just received a $1.8 million order from a very large brand in the US, and CEO Olivia Carr’s projections is for this to be a $50 million business in five years’ time. […]