Neural Sense is a Neuromarketing agency with our feet planted firmly in Cape Town, South Africa. In a city so beautiful, who could blame us. However, we find ourselves in a very interesting and evolving landscape, as market research constantly adapts to the ever changing African context. Neuromarketing has allowed us to address these changes and really deep dive into the African context where traditional market research sometimes struggles. We often get questions about how Neuromarketing is positioned to address market research in the African context, especially the growing informal economies and its emerging markets.
To answer your questions, we sat down with our marketing mastermind, Mark Drummond, to discuss Neuromarketing and its future in emerging markets and informal economies.
Check out what he has to say about breaking the barriers in the developing world:
Neuromarketing is still considered a fairly new concept in the developing world. What are some of the barriers you experience when pitching to South African brands?
“The first barrier is knowledge. We spend a great deal of our time educating marketers about what exactly Neuromarketing is (and more importantly what it isn't) and how it can be leveraged to achieve their business objectives. We also offer complimentary Neuromarketing 101 training sessions to help marketers develop expertise in applying neuroscience within their marketing strategies. It's a quick 1 hour session that works through the fundamental concepts and principles, demonstrates the technology, as well as explores real world case studies that bring these all to life.
The second barrier is complacency. South Africans are generally quite conservative, especially those operating within the market research space. They've grown comfortable with ‘tried and tested’ traditional market research methodologies, and are somewhat intimidated by the academic and scientific nature of Consumer Neuroscience. The adage ‘If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got’ couldn't be more true in this case. The reality is however that the field of Neuromarketing is incredibly intuitive, easy to understand and apply.
Neuromarketing also allows marketers to truly measure, understand and affect human behaviour and decision making - providing insights that are richer and far less biased than traditional research. We've found that we've had the most success with brands that are open to innovation and change, and are actively looking for better ways of doing things - so we actively pursue these types of companies.”
Digital platforms have captured the attention of most audiences causing businesses to reassess how they position themselves online. How has Neuromarketing evolved to assist companies with their online or digital strategies?
“Neuromarketing has refined the various technologies at its disposal to optimise online strategies. For example:
- Eye-tracking technologies to determine what grabs and maintains attention,
- Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Facial Coding to measure the type and degree of emotional and affective responses, and
- Electroencephalography (EEG) to understand optimal cognitive flow, motivation and engagement throughout an online user journey
Neuromarketing offers holistic insights into the user experience and provides actionable insights for the optimisation thereof. These technologies can also be used to assess any online platform with any device (be that on mobile, laptop/PC or tablet). The technologies used to conduct Neuromarketing research are also now completely wireless and mobile - meaning research fieldwork can take place at any location, at any time. This means that turnaround time can be extensively shortened.
Lastly from a user interface perspective, the field of Neurodesign, which has emerged from the field of Neuromarketing (which uses best practice derived from academic research on the human visual system and the psychology of vision), provides marketers with a new set of tools to craft more effective online designs.”
Digital marketing requires a strategy in and of itself. What common mistakes have you seen companies make when it comes to online development in South Africa?
“For any online development, an agile process that includes iterative user testing is paramount. We've often seen companies commission the development of an entirely new website only to test the finished product with users at the very end, at which point it's too late or very difficult to make any significant changes. More often than not, the designers and developers are not the end user, and they do not know how the end user will engage with the website, app or chatbot they have created.
Iterative testing allows them to test your assumptions and validate their thinking at key developmental milestones with real users. Neuromarketing enables you to go one step further and assess both the emotional and cognitive experience of the user. This means a researcher can examine what exactly grabs the user's or consumer's attention and how they visually navigate the user interface. In addition, it allows researchers to track the aspects of the user experience, in terms of what frustrates and aggravates them, and what aspects truly engage them throughout the user experience.
Armed with this in-depth insight, the design and development teams can then make more informed decisions during the build and spend less time re-designing and re-developing functionality that may have been inherently flawed to begin with. It helps them to focus their energy on further optimising the user experience so that it is a meaningful and emotionally engaging one.”
Give us an example of how Neural Sense has successfully assisted a client with their digital strategy in the past:
“Neural Sense was tasked with helping Liberty to optimise the development of a chatbot through iterative consumer neuroscience testing. Liberty ‘Short Term Insurance’ needed to know what the chatbot should look like, what personality it should possess, and the tone and register it would use when communicating with clients. In addition to this, we helped to optimise every aspect of the chatbot's functionality during the end-to-end user journey to ensure that the experience of the user or consumer was smooth, effortless, user-friendly and intuitive.”
What are your predictions for Neuromarketing in the developing world? Are there trends you foresee taking off in the next year or two?
Neuromarketing is fast becoming the gold standard in market research in developed markets, specifically in Europe and the US. I believe the field of Neuromarketing will become more wide spread across the developing world as local companies begin to realise the potential of this growing field, and begin demanding this level of research and consumer insight within their home markets.
Consumer Neuroscience technologies will become more cost effective and as a result more scalable. These technologies will also become integrated into everyday life as different technologies converge. As an example, we've already seen the likes of Apple acquiring the Facial Coding platform Emotient, so we could very well have Facial Coding embedded into all Apple products going forward - so your MacBook could be recommending you products and services based on your emotional state in the future. This will provide marketers with unprecedented access to real time biometric data about their consumers experiences, which can then be used to make more informed business decisions.
I also think Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will have an enormous impact on the field of Neuromarketing in the years to come. We're already seeing the rise of predictive techniques that reduce the need for larger sample sizes, some of which don't even require human respondents. This increase in automation will increase both the speed and accuracy of Neuromarketing insights going forward.”
Neuromarketing may be a developing field, and Africa a developing market, but both have immense potential to disrupt their developed counterparts (traditional market research and the developed world respectively) - and we're happy to be part of that journey.