Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Neuromarketing: Is Campbell in Soup?

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Marketing Management

Neuromarketing: Is Campbell in Soup?

Article excerpt

Companies that rely exclusively on traditional measures, focused only at the conscious level, are missing a critical component of what drives purchase behavior. The vast majority of brain processing (75 to 95%) is done below conscious awareness. Because emotional responses are unconscious, it is virtually impossible for people to fully identify what caused them through conscious measures such as surveys and focus groups (Jennifer, 2010).

- Dr. Carl Marci, Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Scientist, Innerscope Research, Inc.

They (traditional market researchers) are too cortex, which means that they think too much, and then they ask people to think and to tell them what they think. Now, my experience is that most of the time, people have no idea why they're doing what they're doing.1

- Clotaire Rapaille, Market Researcher and Author of The Culture Code, 7 Secrets of Marketing in a Multi-Cultural World

It's wrong to use medical technology for marketing and not for healing...

- Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert, a Non-Profit Organization

Condensed soup has been a slow growing category where the price-conscious consumers have almost abysmal patience with price increases. Faced with a challenge to increase the sales of its soup, Campbell Soup Co. (Campbell) took two years to study the customer preferences and buying habits. Instead of going the trodden path of marketing research, Campbell adopted innovative marketing research techniques that fall in the realm of 'neuromarketing' techniques. Using biometric tools, neuromarketing helps to track very sublime consumer behavior. While neuroscience has been around for decades, it is only in the recent times that it became a part of marketing lexicon. While there is no definite judgement on the efficacy of this marketing research approach on Campbell's soup, the verdict on the ethicality of this approach is even more intriguing.

Neuromarketing: Marvels of Medical Technology in Marketing

Neuromarketing is the application of cognitive neurosciences to the realm of marketing and market research. This field of study uses a brain-mapping/neuroimaging medical technology, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to study hemodynamics (cerebral blood flow and blood oxygenation) in the neuron-activity of consumers at the time of selecting and buying a product. Neuroscience is the study of nervous system. With its origin in ancient Egypt, this field of study gradually evolved over the centuries. The development of molecular biology, electrophysiology and computational neuroscience in the second half of 20th century helped to understand the working of neuron-networks in brain that cause psychological responses such as emotion, cognition and intellectual behavior as well as resulting physiological responses. An attempt to delineate the neural bases of mental diseases like psychotic disorders (e.g., mania, schizophrenia), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease or addiction propelled the scientists to study the physiological and electrochemical processing of signals transmitted by neurons.

Over the years, neuroscience propagated into several branches and one of them was cognitive neuroscience which basically looks into the capabilities of human being, such as attention, awareness, cognitive control, cognitive genetics, decision making, emotion, language, memory, motivation, action, perception, sexual behavior and social neuroscience. Some cognitive scientists published several keynote papers attempting to apply the neuroscientific research techniques such as fMRI to understand the neural correlates of buying instincts and buying decisions of the people, so as to help the companies spend fewer amounts of time and money on promoting their brands and products (Exhibit 1). With the technological developments in neuroscientific equipment such as specialized Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans in the backdrop, various fMRI facilitated-neuroscience research organizations such as NeuroFocus, BrightHouse Institute for Thought Sciences (BrightHouse), etc. …

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