How much do emotions sell? Marketing strategy with guts

Author of two iconic advertising books, The Advertised Mind and The Branded Mind, Erik du Plessis, Chairman at Millward Brown, South Africa, was interviewed in Amsterdam by Ana Iorga, Managing Partner at Lemon Studio, a Bucharest based advertising agency, and a neuromarketing expert.


Autor a doua carti de referinta in advertising: “The Advertised Mind” si “The Branded Mind”, Erik du Plessis (foto, dreapta), Chairman Millward Brown, Africa de Sud, vorbeste exclusiv in adplayers despre viitorul marketingului intr-un interviu luat la Amsterdam de Ana Iorga (foto stanga), manager al agentiei Lemon Studio si specialist in neuromarketing.

Marketing works at the intersection of a wide range of disciplines, starting from behavioral economy, psychology, anthropology and ending with neurosciences. Marketing schools cover complementary areas that enable students to broaden their perspectives, offering them a general overview of the factors that influence consumer behavior.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to interview Erik du Plessis about the future of marketing, during a conference he held in Amsterdam to talk about Emotions in Marketing.

Erik is the Chaiman of Millward Brown, South Africa and the author of two iconic books on advertising: The Advertised Mind and The Branded Mind. He also taught neuromarketing at the Copenhagen Business School.

Interdisciplinary approach

Erik was the first one to emphasize in his book the necessity of an encyclopedic-like or even holistic approach in marketing. However, he thinks it would be healthier if professional information was delivered by experts: ‘Marketing departments use the services provided by research companies, advertising agencies, media companies that all together contribute throughout their expertise to the marketing process. For the moment, a great part of the marketing activity is outsourced and I believe this tendency will continue.’

Neuromarketing research has become one of the most useful resources that can accurately evaluate consumers’ perceptions of a brand, using neurosciences techniques (EEG, GSR, fMRI) and eye-tracking glasses, together with implicit testing.

‘Implicit reactions could help the creative teams of an advertising agency gather some valuable insight or some practical directions on which to build the concept and story. However, I don’t believe EEG or GSR could help them too much, as these techniques are used at the end of the process and cannot generate insights.’

The neuromarketing expert believes that, even if the EEG and GSR research can only be used to confirm or infirm a certain direction, it can save a lot of money invested in developing new products or in buying media space for campaigns.

Marketing 3.035

According to Erik du Plessis, marketing has rapidly evolved from Adam Smith’s Homo Economicus to behavioral psychology that introduced the irrationality of the decision making process. Dan Hill later introduced the concept of Emotionomics and Kotler came up with Marketing 3.0, aiming beyond emotions, towards the consumers’ spiritual values.

Erik considers neuromarketing to be even more than marketing 3.0; it is actually its 3.035 version, because the input goes beyond the arousal level that can be measured by observing the fluctuations in the brain’s normal activity; marketing 3.035 also takes into consideration consumers’ states of mind, such as moods or personality, that are generally more difficult to measure.

‘In a psychiatry department, physicians don’t scan patients’ brains with MRI in order to diagnose them, but resort to large scale, well researched and certified inquiries.’ Thus, Erik supports a more complex marketing research approach, which can encompass the results of both surveys and neuromarketing.

Well-guarded secrets

A huge disadvantage of the neuromarketing industry nowadays is the ultra-competiveness and fight for market share, that prevent laboratories from revealing the software and algorithms they use for their measurements.

‘I find this repulsive. I have founded a marketing research institute, but I don’t just go to clients with graphics. They know I interviewed so many people, they know where I interviewed them; they know I’ll put that into SPSS and have a regression analysis. They can go to any university and study regression analysis; they can ask any Professor what regression analysis is. In fact, when I pitch my business, if they don’t know what a regression analysis is, I explain it to them. If my competitors run regression analysis and I look at the reports, I know what my competitors have done. So, that is pretty transparent. The right thing to do is to be really open. Now, these guys are hiding behind the algorithms.’

Erik hopes that, as soon as this new field develops and the number of agencies that work with their own algorithms increases, transparency will become mandatory – it will stop being about who has the software, but about who has the best software. And in order to prove that yours is the best, you’ll have to show it to the client.

We can therefore conclude that in a couple of years there will be research agencies that will use neuro techniques together with the classical research methods, in order to bring added value to the final result. And, as these agencies become more experienced, the technique that works best will stand out.

(This article was originally published in 
Marketingul opereaza la intersectia unui larg spectru de discipline, pornind de la economie comportamentala, psihologie, antropologie si pana la neurostiinte. Scolile de marketing au cursuri din domenii conexe care ofera o privire de ansamblu asupra factorilor ce pot influenta comportamentul consumatorului.

In urma cu cateva saptamani am avut ocazia sa vorbesc despre viitorul marketingului cu Erik du Plessis, in cadrul unui interviu pe care i l-am solicitat cu ocazia conferintei sale despre Emotii in marketing care a avut loc in Amsterdam. Erik este Chairman Millward Brown, Africa de Sud, si autorul a doua carti de referinta in advertising: “The Advertised Mind” si “The Branded Mind”, si a tinut cursuri de neuromarketing in cadrul Copenhagen Business School.

Abordare interdisciplinara

Erik este primul care subliniaza, in cartea sa, necesitatea unei abordari enciclopedice in marketing, insa considera ca este mai sanatos ca informatiile de specialitate sa fie livrate de specialisti: “Departamentele de marketing se folosesc de serviciile companiilor de cercetare, agentiilor de publicitate, companiilor media, care contribuie, prin expertiza lor, la intreg procesul de marketing. In momentul de fata, se subcontracteaza o mare parte din activitatea de marketing, iar eu cred ca aceasta tendinta va continua”, spune el.

Cercetarile de neuromarketing sunt acum una dintre cele mai folositoare resurse pentru a evalua corect perceptia consumatorului asupra unui brand, folosind aparatura specifica neurostiintelor (EEG, GSR, fRMN) si ochelari cu functie de eye-tracking, impreuna cu teste online implicite.

“Reactiile implicite i-ar putea ajuta pe creativii din agentiile de publicitate, pentru ca le pot da directii concrete pe care sa poata construi conceptul si povestea. Pe de alta parte, nu cred ca EEG-ul si GSR-ul i-ar putea ajuta prea mult pe creativi, intrucat se efectueaza la sfarsitul procesului si nu pot fi generatoare de insight-uri”, spune Erik.

Specialistul in neuromarketing considera ca cercetarile pe baza de EEG si GSR, chiar daca nu fac altceva decat sa confirme sau sa infirme o directie, pot economisi foarte multi bani investiti in dezvoltarea de noi produse sau in cumpararea de spatiu media pentru campanii.

Marketing 3.035

Potrivit lui Erik du Plessis, marketingul a trecut rapid de la “homo economicus” al lui Adam Smith, la psihologia comportamentala care a introdus factorul de irationalitate a deciziilor. A urmat “emotionomics” – termen desemnat de Dan Hill, si mai apoi marketing 3.0  al lui Kotler, care tinteste dincolo de emotii, catre valorile spirituale ale consumatorilor.

Neuromarketingul este, din punctul lui Erik de vedere, versiunea marketing 3.035, care ia in calcul nu doar nivelul de stimulare, masurabil prin fluctuatiile in ritmul de baza al creierului ci si “starile de fond” ale consumatorilor, cum ar fi dispozitia sau personalitatea, stari mai greu de masurat.

“Intr-o sectie de psihiatrie, medicii nu scaneaza creierul pacientilor cu fRMN pentru a afla diagnosticul, ci apeleaza la chestionare bine realizate si garantate de numeroase teste efectuate inainte de aplicarea lor pe scara larga.”, spune Erik, care militeaza pentru o abordare mai complexa in cercetarea de piata, in care sa poata fi corelate rezultatele chestionarelor cu cele ale masuratorilor specifice neuromarketingului.

Secrete sub cheie

Un mare dezavantaj al pietei de neuromarketing la ora actuala este ultracompetitivitatea, care determina majoritatea laboratoarelor de neuromarketing, aflate intr-o lupta stransa pentru marketshare, sa tina secrete softurile si algoritmii pe care ii folosesc in astfel de masuratori.

“Mi se pare respingatoare aceasta abordare. Eu am infiintat un institut de cercetare de piata. Insa nu ma duc la clienti doar cu niste grafice. Ei stiu ca am intervievat atat de multi oameni si unde; cunosc faptul ca introduc datele in SPSS si ca efectuez o regresie. Ei pot foarte bine sa consulte explicatii cu privire la regresie; se pot adresa universitatilor sau profesorilor pentru explicatii suplimentare. De fapt, atunci cand le prezint business-ul meu, daca nu stiu ce inseamna o regresie, le explic. Daca am competitori care fac regresii si studiez raportul, imi dau seama ce au facut pentru a obtine datele. Prin urmare, procesul e transparent. Practic, tot ceea ce faci este transparent. Insa oamenii despre care vorbeai se ascund in spatele algoritmilor”.

(Puteti citi continuarea articolului pe

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