Marketing Insights: ARF To Establish NeuroStandards Project
As the promise of neuro-marketing research continues to intrigue marketers, many still feel a sense of uncertainty about how to best tap into the field. Looking to provide some guidance, an Advertising Research Foundation initiative wants to put an info-bank in place.
The NeuroStandards Collaboration Project, run under the aegis of the ARF, said it plans to establish an "expert review network" that will have scientists and others delve into the strength and viability of certain neuroscience methods. Those range from a type of MRI scan to tracking what altered heart rates and sweaty palms mean in terms of viewer engagement.
One goal of the "network" is to inform marketers and networks as they decide what type of neuroscience research is worth their investment.
"None of us in the research field is really qualified to understand all of that," said Horst Stipp, a former NBC researcher and now an executive vice president at the ARF. He is involved in overseeing the project.
The Collaboration Project is also hoping to establish some standards for neuro-marketing research, which could help a marketer determine what results mean.
The promise of the field -- gauging second-by-second reaction to an ad rooted in brain activity -- is immense. It's a very different arena than focus groups or more traditional methods. The ARF recommends that neuroscience be used in addition to -- and not as a substitute for -- traditional research.
The Collaboration Project has completed an initial study to gain some insight into the neuro-marketing landscape. That involved eight marketers -- including Chase, GM and Hershey's -- having one ad apiece tested by using groups of 18-to-49s on three continents.
Eight neuro-marketing firms, including MSW/LAB, Neuro Insight and Sands Research, were called on to use their methods to gauge reactions to the ads. ESPN, MTV Networks, NBC and Turner Broadcasting joined the marketers in the project, being interested parties in learning about the emerging field.
Duane Varan, who has been involved in the Collaboration Project and helps run a Disney media and advertising research lab, said neuro-marketing offers a wealth of new tools, but is "still a nascent science."