Market research has always been regarded as an integral component of the business strategy for organizations that desire to drive information about their target markets. Traditional market research has been on the forefront in this quest. It normally involves assessment of the overall market for a good or service, conducting focus groups to ascertain the responses of consumers regarding a new product and surveying consumers regarding their dislikes and likes (Krishna, 2011).
However, traditional market research is becoming problematic. This is because there have been indications that it is not very reliable. 9 out of 10 new products tend to fail in the market. This is despite the relevant organizations conducting their research and ascertaining that everything is in order.
The shortcomings emanating from traditional market research might be as a result of the irrational behavior demonstrated by consumers. People conducting the research have to rely on data coming from consumer self-reports. This means that it is more subjective rather than objective (Genco et al., 2013). People tend to be influenced by emotions while making decisions, hence presenting the opportunity of being irrational. Focus groups and market research are no longer convenient in finding out what consumers really think. This is because people’s irrational minds are filled with cultural biases rooted in the upbringing, tradition and other subconscious factors (Buylogy 10). Neuroscience has indicated that there is always a mismatch between how people make decisions and what is running their brains. Many are the times that people engage in behaviors that they do not have clear-cut or logical explanation (Buylogy 10).
The answer to the problem presented by traditional market research might be neuromarketing. According to Genco et al. (2013), “neuromarketing is simply the study of how the human brain responds to marketing stimuli. This helps marketers understand the underlying reasons as to why consumers make the purchasing decisions they do.”
Neuromarketing would be more effective compared to traditional market research since it removes the aspect of ambiguity and subjectivity. It has the ability to derive hidden information that consumers are not speaking out loud. This is because it uses metrics such as emotional engagement, respondent attention level and memory storage (Żurawicki, 2010). Many companies would benefit from knowing the consumers’ subconscious desires and needs. This is because they will end up bringing more meaningful, useful products into the market. “After all, don’t marketers want to provide products that we fall in love with” (Buyology 5)?
Despite its prospect of replacing traditional market research, neuromarketing also has some disadvantages. Among them is that it might be expensive since it uses technologies such as EEG and MRI (Żurawicki, 2010). Some people also consider it as being manipulative based on how it is being used.
However, people tasked with managing organizations would argue differently when it came to the cost aspect. Neuromarketing might be expensive for small organizations, but not for large organizations. This is because large organizations tend to spend a lot of money in traditional market research. Their product development is usually costly so they want to ensure that they are investing in the appropriate product or service. If neuromarketing was used in place of the traditional market research, such companies would stand to save. Buyology (61) has provided examples of products such as Segway PT that were highly hyped before their introduction. The product was even hyped by prominent personalities in the business world. However, upon introduction, the product did not live up to the expectations. Based on the people that were hyping the product, it is evident that a lot was spent in market research, but the product did not materialize. Using neuromarkteing in this scenario would have saved some of the costs.
It is safe to say that a manager in a large organization would find neuromarketing cheaper, while that in a small organization would find it as being expensive.
Genco, S. J., Pohlmann, A. P., & Steidl, P. E. (2013). Neuromarketing for dummies. Mississauga: Wiley.
Krishna, A. (2011). Sensory Marketing: Research on the Sensuality of Products. Routledge.
Żurawicki, L. (2010). Neuromarketing: Exploring the brain of the consumer. Berlin: Springer.
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