Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Neuromarketing

Scanning through some older discussions of neuromarketing, I ran across Jennifer Rice’s Neuromarketing Not So Hot entry in her Brand Mantra blog. From the title, I expected to see either an ethical attack on scanning brains for crass commercial purposes or doubts about whether such scans were reliable indicators of preferences or behavior.

Instead, Rice agrees that brain scans may produce more effective ads, but warns that some companies will treat the technology as a panacea for everything wrong with their marketing. Who can argue with this? No single-dimensioned marketing strategy is likely to be successful. Nevertheless, a company that expects to be competitive needs to optimize every major aspect of its business strategy. Brain scanning for analyzing ads and messages is still far from universal, but it seems certain to grow as managers realize its accuracy is better than self-reported surveys and focus groups.


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Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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