ARF Guidance: Selecting Neuro- and Biometric Market Research Methods

Biometric and neuro-scientific methods have been expanding their utility from clinical research to market research.  Life Science companies have been excited about the promise of obtaining scientific data for better evidence based decision making during product development.  The commercial teams are excited by the prospects associated with using additional techniques to better understand the emotional drivers of their customers without solely relying on verbal response data.
Many researchers and marketers have a difficult time deciding which neuromarketing methodology to apply because of the complexity of the science underlying the different methods that are available.  My colleagues and I have always tailored our recommendations to the objectives at hand and usually paired a neuro-approach with a more traditional method to ensure a comprehensive design.  In September 2010, I attended the kick-off for the NeuroStandards Collaboration at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) to contribute to a project that was envisioned to offer clarity behind the best application for each methodology.
The first phase results have been released, and there is no big surprise.  No new insights emerged on how to pair a specific neurological and/or biometric method to a given set of research objectives.  Additionally, the results suggest that neuromarketing should be employed as an addition to -- not a substitute for -- "traditional" research methods.  The use of an expert, well-versed in the different methodologies, can best pair objectives and methodologies. 

The second phase of the ARF NeuroStandards Collaboration Project is called NeuroStandards 2.0 and I will be able to share more details this summer when the strategy for this next iteration is publically available.   These standards will help make the convergence of brain science and life science more mainstream and attempt to shed more light on the effectiveness and limitations of different neuromarketing techniques