If you’ve been following neuromarketing, you know that the whole reason the technology was developed was because of studies that showed people were incapable of predicting their own behavior very well. So focus groups, while very politically correct sounding, just don’t work according to the science. That doesn’t mean focus groups will become obsolete – but the methods need to evolve to account for the cognitive biases in self-reporting, and to work with new technologies, not against them.
The post highlights the general unease traditional marketers are feeling about the topic of neuromarketing. Historically new technologies replace old ones, and those who aren’t riding the new wave can get left behind. Neuromarketing feels threatening to traditional marketing because it’s not an easy technology to evolve into.
There’s no easy way in. Brain scanning equipment and software would have to be purchased, and though affordable EEG headsets are being developed, the learning curve feels out of reach for most marketers. And if Neuromarketing and Behavioral Economics are showing that focus groups are ineffective, what then?
- Stay close to the topic, watch for more accessible technologies for small firms, and be prepared to move on it.
- Stay close to the topic so when that big client wants to test your marketing creatives with some brain scans, you know what to expect and you can work with the results.
- Stay close to the topic so that you can learn from what neuromarketing finds and publishes.
- Don’t push the panic button while clinging to out of date methods. Learn how to evolve your services so that they are in alignment with new technologies. For example, if you DO offer focus group market research, learn how to ask questions in a way that gets past cognitive biases and let your clients know you’re evolving your methods. Even better, learn how to create focus groups that work in alignment with neuromarketing. Few companies rely on neuromarketing alone.
Resistance is futile as they say, and denouncing new technologies while propping up old methods that the new technology has more or less debunked is not the best strategy. Peruse the history archives and you’ll find many a business that became obsolete because they were unwilling to evolve.