“You could dramatically transform the landscape of market research.”
As a publisher who has spent decades producing magazines like the Journal of EDM Finance, I am excited about the almost limitless potential of a device invented by NeuroFocus Inc. that will allow the company to take its pioneering work on using the science of the brain for market research out of the lab and into real-life settings.
NeuroFocus, which is wholly owned by the Nielsen, unveiled Mynd, “the first dry, wireless headset designed to capture brainwave activity across the full brain today” in March. Mynd tracks electrical impulses from the brain, using neuroscience, to interpret them and to test responses to brands, products, stores, advertising, websites or videos. (See pg. )
“Whenever you experience a product second by second, your brain is parsing that experience,” says Dr. A.K. Pradeep, the chief executive officer and founder of NeuroFocus. “If we have access to how our brain reacts second by second to that product experience, we are able to isolate what works and what doesn’t work.”
While our story and others have emphasized Mynd’s use in marketing products, our interest was piqued by the developer’s suggestion that it could be used to shape content. “Content” is what goes into magazines like this, websites like those we create and various other media.
Interest in “neuromarketing” peaked after a 2004 study at Baylor College of Medicine validated its use in testing brand associations with Coke versus Pepsi.
More and more, NeuroFocus plans to use this science to create products, not just to study existing products. Such wisdom, Dr. Pradeep says, “could enable product designers or content designers to avoid standard pitfalls.”
This is promising news for print media that live under constant predictions of our demise. Cyberspace is increasingly competitive too. My company, Cox Matthews & Associates Inc., produces content in both worlds. It would be a radical breakthrough if media could rely on science, rather than increasingly outmoded notions, to tell us which headline, which color or which picture will sell more copies or attract page views.
If Mynd gives us answers, then attracting investors for new media ventures and advertisers to keep them going would become easier. Investors, in turn, would reap a healthy return.
With Mynd headsets on real people using media in real time, Dr. Pradeep says, “You could dramatically transform the landscape of market research as it pertains to enjoying and viewing things at home.”
NeuroFocus also has applied neuroscience to learn what motivates the brains of various demographics — mothers, women in general, men and baby boomers to buy. For the media, such data could assure that we reach target audiences by providing irresistible content. With its wires and sensors, Mynd may look like a headdress Medusa might wear, but it appears to have a bright future.
Elsewhere in this issue, we are pleased to report on several developments that should benefit NAIC members over the long haul: the combining of the National Association of Investment Companies with The Marathon Club, (See pg. 26), the growth of an NAIC partner, the Association of Asian American Investment Managers., (See pg.16) and expanding opportunities at the Small Business Investment Company program at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (See pg. 0).
All of these are encouraging signs for the EDM community, and we take pride in keeping you up to date on these issues.
William E. Cox Publisher