Prof. Dr. Ale Smidts: The Future of Neuromarketing

On June 3, 2012
The first Neuromarketing World Forum 2012 (Amsterdam) gathered around 100 people interested in neuromarketing from an academic or business point of view, from top neuroscientific researchers to commercial parties that discussed the key challenges and opportunities of using neuromarketing tools to enhance and add value to market research.
Thanks to Neuromarketing Science & Business Association, this is the 4th released video material of the Neuromarketing World Forum 2012 (the first one included the presentation of Professor Richard Silberstein on Messages to the long-term memory of the audience, the second one was Dr. Stephen Sands on Recording Brain Waves at the Supermarket and the third was Christophe Morin‘s presentation on Neuromarketing Ethics).
So below you can find the presentation of Prof. Dr. Ale Smidts (Professor of Marketing Research at Erasmus University Rotterdam) on The Future of Neuromarketing:
Prof. Ale Smidts, the one who coined the term “neuromarketing” in 2002, presented what new insights we can expect in the new future from neuromarketing research and how will the field develop and integrate as a discipline on the business floor. He emphasized that in the last 10 years, there was an enormous progress in understanding fundamental brain processes underlying preferences and choice, recommending Paul Glimcher’s book “Neuroeconomic Analysis”.
Prof. Smidts said that neuromarketing is clearly in the take-off phase and it is becoming serious business, as in May 2011 Nielsen acquired NeuroFocus, a leading neuromarketing company. He stated that the goal of neuromarketing is “a better understanding of the customer and his reaction to marketing stimuli by measuring the processes in the brain (neuroimaging and biometrics) and including them in the development of both theory and stimuli”. Marketing stimuli include products, ads, sales person behavior, webpage design and so on.
As for the brain processing underlying celebrity effects in advertising, he discussed how familiar faces attract attention and will cut through the advertising clutter. Also, marketers should make sure that there is a believable link between celebrity and product in order to improve memory encoding of the product and induce trust to the product leading to higher purchase intent. Giving expert advices, marketers maximize physical attractiveness, likability, trustworthiness and emphasize identification / role model. Research shows that there is a transfer of affect from celebrity to product at the level of Medial Orbitofrontal Cortex.
While Marketing 1.0 was product centered, Marketing 2.0 consumer centered, Marketing 3.0 is human values centered. Prof. Smidts also presented a research conducted on anti smoking ads (using an fMRI and 16 different “quit smoking” ads) and one on predicting consumer preferences. He stated that most companies use EEG, as it is cheaper and easier to use than fMRI, has a high time resolution (but not so sensitive to ‘deep brain areas’) and high claims (but needs more objective testing of the claims). Prof Smidts emphasized that we need to do much more work into theory development and testing in order to prosper, as neuromarketing is ‘here to stay’ (academic and applied research rapidly growing). He also presented how neuromarketing research could help creating a better world, supporting a healthy life. He said that insights should help in creating more favorable and sustainable consumption.
Prof. Smidts stated that in terms of understanding the brain, understanding the neurobiology of choice (integrating neuroimaging, biometrics, hormones, genes) and advances in neuroimaging methodology (Multi Voxel Pattern Analysis and predictive classifyers).
As neuromarketing is where science and practice meet, a collaboration between the two areas has to be assessed objectively in order to develop sound methods and quality standards and to provide objective evidence for the added value of neuromarketing methods, above and beyond current methods. Concluding, he stated that NMSBA (Neuromarketing Science & Business Association) is the ideal platform to stimulate this collaboration and develop research agenda

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