Neuromarketing articles in the mainstream press seem to come in waves, and it looks like we’re in one of the up cycles. Notably, TIME has published Marketing To Your Mind, a brief survey of neuromarketing. The article strikes a balance between enthusiasm and caution, noting,
For now, most of the research is purely academic, although even brain experts anticipate that it’s just a matter of time before their findings become a routine part of any smart corporation’s marketing plans. Some lessons, particularly about how the brain interprets brand names, are already enticing advertisers.
and concluding with,
That’s certainly music to advertisers’ ears, but, warn neuroscientists, it’s unlikely that our purchasing behavior follows a single pathway. Montague [P. Read Montague of Baylor College of Medicine], for one, is investigating how factors like trust, altruism and the feeling of obligation when someone does you a favor can divert and modify steps in the decision-making tree. “The capacity to use brain responses and relate them to behavior has accelerated at a breathtaking pace over the past four years and yielded an incredible amount of information,” he says. How marketers use that data to hone their messages remains to be seen.
As we’ve noted in the past, a dose of caution isn’t always a bad thing in a potentially over-hyped field like neuromarketing.