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euromarketing methods include the use of brain scans (typically fMRI), EEG, biometrics, facial coding,


eye-tracking and reaction-time testing. These offer an alternative to interviews or online questionnaires, which many market researchers now realise are problematic – not only because those answering have no real motivation, but also because people may not know exactly how they feel about a specific product or service, or may find it difficult to put into words. People are not rational when it comes to making a purchase, relying instead on emotions, feelings and intuition. Different neuromarketing methods


provide specific bits of information. If someone was asked to watch an advert, biometric measures could indicate how emotional they were; a brain scan could show the strength of their response; eye-tracking could reveal what got the most visual attention and facial coding could indicate what feelings they had. These technologies have been validated by thousands of academic studies, but


Dr Eamon Fulcher Head of research and development, Neurosense


each has strengths and weaknesses. Brain scanning was once considered the purest neuromarketing method, but in terms of the insights it can yield there are less expensive methods that are equally efficient. One of these is the implicit reaction-time test (IRT), which has its origins in cognitive psychology. It’s a relatively simple technique, but one that is very difficult to fake, and a powerful measure of gut reactions. Neuromarketing has a remarkably


broad reach in terms of the research questions it can address. Within the spa industry, these might include: What do ‘wellness’, ‘health’ and ‘spa’ mean to consumers? What do consumers expect from a spa? How can a spa’s brand image be improved? What are the emotional and psychological benefits of a spa


experience? How can you market your business most effectively? Most of these questions can be answered using IRTs. Typically, neuromarketing is more


expensive than traditional forms of market research, but the availability of online tests has dramatically reduced costs. And companies not using neuromarketing may be missing out on valuable insights: our clients tell us that our techniques provide them with a much deeper understanding of their brands than traditional methods.


Eamon Fulcher has more than 15 years experience in developing online testing and e-learning tools. Established in 1999, Neurosense is a worldwide neuromarket- ing research agency whose clients include the BBC, American Express and Coca- Cola. Details: www.neurosense.com


If a guest was uncomfortable during a spa treatment, they might not reveal that in a written survey, but a neuromarketing test might pick up on those feelings


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imply asking people questions in a survey doesn’t yield accurate results. This is particularly true for ‘why?’ and ‘will you?’


questions. Neuromarketing includes a wide variety of techniques designed to help us understand what customers are really thinking. While there hasn’t been a lot of academic research validating these techniques, this is starting to emerge. Temple University in Philadelphia just published a study showing that fMRI predicted the success of ad campaigns better than traditional methods. Neuromarketing can be used to evaluate


consumers’ subconscious reactions to everything from television commercials to print ads, packaging and even products themselves. In terms of how this might add value to the spa industry, deciding to go to a spa is based mostly on emotion – it’s not a necessity, like food or transportation, and there are luxury connotations. All this suggests that appealing to a customer’s


Roger Dooley


Author, Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing


rational side by advertising features and benefits will be less effective than an emotional appeal. Neuromarketing can be used to uncover the emotional drivers that are most effective. To my knowledge, neuromarketing has


not yet been used to measure customer responses to experiences, such as a hotel or spa visit. Most hospitality firms use a guest survey for this, but it would be interesting to add a neuromarketing study to compare results. Less expensive techniques such as facial coding or implicit-association testing might work well here. For example, if a guest was uncomfortable during a spa treatment, they might not reveal that in a written


survey, but a neuromarketing test might pick up on those feelings. With more providers and new


techniques now available, the cost of neuromarketing studies could be in the lower thousands depending on the technologies used. Return on investment is impossible to predict, as like any other market research project it’s totally dependent on the value of the insights obtained. But as costs come down I think more industries will add neuromarketing alternatives to simple consumer surveys.


Brainfluence author Roger Dooley is also the founder of marketing consultancy Dooley Direct. Details: www.rogerdooley.com


©CYBERTREK 2015 spabusiness.com issue e 2015 65


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