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On Neuromarketing, Cristina de Balanzó the Main Nut of Walnut (III/III)



This is the third part of the interview “On Neuromarketing”, Cristina de Balanzó the main Nut of Walnut (III/III)


I want to start to read beginning from the first part of the interview


ES:  In management, for last thirty years or so, we have seen fashions like Top Quality Management (TQM), 6-Sigma, Re-engineering…

CdB: Yeah a lot of buzz words.

ES: Yeah a lot of buzz words! The question is: Is Neuromarketing another one? another buzz word? another trendy stuff? or Neuromarketing is here to stay?

CdB: I think it’s here to stay, obviously is here to stay. And I think it will become mainstream and this is something that may be standard currency. Unilever said a few years ago. I think it is here to stay, is stronger, is getting stronger, technology it catching up. It will become mainstream, but we need to keep pursuing what we want, and I think the whole industry must to be aligning into what is needed to succeed. You know, clients are getting on board.  The thing is that is a nice thing to have, it is not that mandatory yet. And these nice things to have, makes that thing not mainstream yet, and it is not a massive number of projects. But we are getting there slowly, but we will make it. I like there are many years we have been working in this industry. For more than seven years, it’s not a hype definitely, I think it is a hope.



ES: In a nutshell, what is the current state of Neuromarketing and what can we expect of the Neuromarketing in the near future?

CdB: I think it there is a subject that we need to better, it is a subject for a whole industry not only neuroscience: It is to be able to integrate all the different sets of data into something meaningful. You know, I’ve heard the other day about a blog, saying that one single method is not going to give you the answer. So how you mix these methodologies and put them together, is a challenge. So for Neuro has to be able to find its place. Where you need to use neuroscience? How to use the others in order to make a meaningful story to your client. I think this is a big challenge for research in general,

S: to find a way to combine them.

CdB: Yeah.

ES: So it’s a thing to expect for the near future, find a way to integrate…. Good,



ES: Cristina, to finish, do you have something you would like to say for the people who is interested in the community of Neuromarketing?

CdB: I think probably is to be brave, you know to experiment, to be open and to give it a try. Because neuroscience can provide probably new answers, but if we are going to use neuroscience to test the same boring stimuli, we are not going to make marketing any better. So I think neuroscience doesn’t give the opportunity to be a little bit more creative, so sometimes test a bunch of things and crazy things, because it is just a way to do it.  Probably just to be brave and give it a try and don’t be scared of the different answers that you can get



ES:  Cristina, thank you very much for sharing your time with us as well as your knowledge .

CdB: Thank you very much,

ES: Good

CdB: All right.





On Neuromarketing, Cristina de Balanzó the Main Nut of Walnut (II/III)




This is the second part of the interview “On Neuromarketing”, Cristina de Balanzó the main Nut of Walnut (II/III)


I want to go to the first part of the interview


Edgar Sánchez (ES): Nowadays, we are living in a world where the access to knowledge is bigger than ever in human being’s history. On the other hand, the Neurotechnologies such as eye-tracking, EEG and so many others are getting like prices going down. Like the prices are dropping down. So technologies, as time is going by, are becoming cheaper, at least not that expensive as before. So we have not that expensive access to technology in some cases. So it’s kind of easy to claim that a person is doing Neuromarketing. They have read a couple of books, couple of posts in a blog and they’re claiming they’re doing Neuromarketing, with not necessarily a strong background. The question is: What are the aspects that a good Neuromarketer has to identify it, or to be prepared to become a good Neuromarketer like training, skills…


Cristina de Balanzó (CdB): Yeah, exactly. I think the important thing if the whole speech is summarized into technology, neuroscience is not going to make Marketing any better.


I’m saying this means this not about technology, is how you use this technology to embrace the questions and answers to marketers and help these marketers to bring their brand to another dimension


I don’t think that if this has this technology background, actually if you are not able to read and know about marketing, brands and what is needed and targets and all of these knowledge, technology is not providing you anything, it is just pointless.


Keeping that you need to look forward when you want to go ahead with a project that involves neuroscience, is to get good people with a tech profile, you need to read this data to have good algorithms and good quality of data, and but at the same time you have to be with consultants that have to be able to take this data into something actionable something you can use, otherwise would have been largely criticized about this: so what? What can I do with that, you gonna play up and down, what does it mean from your brand, this is a challenge that we need to face up ardently and I think now we are getting better at this understanding.


I think now that I’ve come to this NSBA or ESOMAR, I think there are big organizations that have been trying to put a little bit or all of these accreditation, process that companies have to go through. I’m gonna leave some of cowboys that have been appearing, and you know, from time to time to leave them apart because they aren’t following any quality standards.


Obviously we to know a lot about research because everything depends on how you design the experiment. And to do that, I have a team of people, very prepared for really design how these. I think you need to know a lot research, basis of research, apart from neuroscience, apart from marketing. That’s why my team has different backgrounds, you know, cognitive neuroscientists, with a person with a degree in psychology, myself with cons background. I have been a consultant for a few years. and this neuroscience is important, this is a mix.


And I think this is holistic, the whole thing, also how you approach the things have to be multidimensional and I think one single metric cannot answer the whole thing.



ES: So, if I understand well, there are warnings, not to necessarily in one person, in a group, like the detective profile people, research people, the neuroscience people and as well people with experience, with expertise in a field, with a brand and product.


CdB: Exactly, as a Neuromarketer, you need to speak your client language and to translate all these scientific parameters into something that can explain the metric, the KPI’s, you need to explain this in a language that makes sense for them, relevant for their brand, that’s why a mix of people is important you now when you are in a project like this.



Third part (out of three), Coming Soon…




On Neuromarketing, Cristina de Balanzó the Main Nut of Walnut (I/III)

Edgar Sánchez, Senior Neuromarketing Consultant, Ph.D. Neurosciences

Carolina Castioni, Junior Consultant




Edgar Sánchez (ES): Hello, I am with Cristina de Balanzó the main Nut of Walnut Consumer Neuroscience Consultancy. Christina thank you very much for taking time for this conversation.


Cristina de Balanzó (CdB): Thank you, Thank you.


ES: Cristina, let’s go to the basics first. What is Neuromarketing?


Cristina: I think you can find many definitions about what Neuromarketing is, but I think the most important thing is to understand how the power of the unconscious in the decision making processing. I think this is our fundamentals. You know, we exist because unconscious importance. Therefore, we need to understand this, if we want to predict, understand or change behavior. This is for me, I mean obviously we can overcomplicate the definition and say this well is something that comes from the cognitive neuroscience to understand, marketing activities, this is something that describes. I think this is the essence of what Neuromarketing is, is to understand the power of unconscious and decision making process.


ES: Great. What are the complexities of Neuromarketing?


CdB: I think we have many complexities. Since we have started. Talking this got a lot of detractors and people that cannot see how Neuromarketing can be there, in the center role of these new tools. The big challenge is actually to we as an industry is to make all these insights into something actionable. I think this is a key challenge that we have, you know, like first to give a role in this. I think we have been listening all these speakers [In the Neuromarketing World Forum] talking about importance of integration. I think integration is key because maybe when Neuromarketing was started, we were talking about replacement [of the traditional Market Research]. I think this was quite wrong, so now we had to tweak to reposition ourselves in the industry. Enough to be relevant for the added value that we are offering, because at the end of the day it’s gonna be more expensive because we are adding something. So the key challenge is to really provide to the client the evidence about the added value of our work.

ES: And that’s a complex thing

CdB: Yes, It’s very complex.



ES: So, your conception of Neuromarketing is a complement to the traditional of market research.

CdB: Yeah, I am always saying this. On this I don’t have to make my mind. First time I started in this field. I have been always saying the same: we are working for integration and not replacement. I know so because I think neuroscience is having a dimension that was hidden before, but to understand human beings, and it’s the complexity, we still need to observe what people do, to describe this behavior. at the same time to talk to these people and to get these… I think this is the way we humanize the data, as well, you know like the emotional way has all been something that just people can’t articulate, but then neuroscience establishes these facts, you know things that you want to talk about based on something. So that’s why the whole paradigm makes sense.


ES: Good, what’s the way to measure the success of Neuromarketing projects, is there any kind ROI, the return of investment?

CdB: Well, depending on the metrics of the client. This is going against you, you can establish, you know, how to measure, how you’re going to measure the effects of the investments, of the return of investment of every single project. You can go both project by project, you know, you can help them to optimize a piece of communication, you know, to see if these are particular piece of coms has worked better, you know, is the way business decisions, the things the Neuro has to be able to achieve, being this client or to have a role and a voice about brad decisions. This is a thing what needed to do. But I think in every, in a project basis, you have to establish this ROI you are looking for, and anyone any other kind they are looking for as well.


ES: Ok, good. Talking about methodology, one piece of methodology of Neuromarketing, how big should be a sample for a Neuromarketing study? on the one hand, and on the other what would be the composition of the sample for the study?

CdB: Well, I think we come back again to the business objectives and the sample you need to look at. I mean, in terms of generally you need depending on how homogeneous is the sample. With EEG, you need a minimum of 40 people in order to have a splits in terms of gender or use it- People are talking about 30 to 40 and you are able to split this data. I think depending on the question and how robust, you know, you want to go for, you need smaller samples, I would say. But there is depending on which techniques you are. I am talking on the EEG and GSR. If you are talking about Eye-Tracking, you can do a qualitative work just ten. But then you can have a massive quantitative study of Eye Tracking, that means 200 people visiting the store. Or in Implicit Testing, normally we have samples, this goes online, and for reducing the noise, you need a kind of 130 as minimum in order to proceed. But again I think we can answer sample size restrictions according to the technique that we are using and then how homogeneous is this sample- Because for instance you go from consumer to health, the sample is much more homogeneous and therefore we can go for if we normally need these 40 people, we can go with 15, because these doctors, you know. health practitioners like hematologists are quite homogeneous and therefore we can go with much more sample size.



ES: Anything is perfect, Neuromarketing is not an exception, so what are limitations of Neuromarketing?

CdB: Well, I mean, I think there are many limitations, and neuroscience is something that we are getting close to the answers, like how advertising works, you know, that is a massive question with no answers I think neuroscience is adding an additional insight to this kind of questions that no one has been able to answer. So I think neuroscience effectively is helping to understand this, you know, has put on the table many things that before. just we could maybe test by our intuition, you know, it’s like this like this is gonna work because these are some elements while now we have an evidence like our faces, as our colleagues are saying, are important as to stories that put our culture into work, that’s why helps to get the engagement. So I think now that we have started to have a little lot of brand learnings and we are getting a kind of body of knowledge, you know, to have this intuition to something that has been scientifically proven. So neuroscience can make tangible, you know, what, many many years ago meanings as well, many people as well have been saying, you know, how this element is actually giving the whole engagement. This rational level, it didn’t make any sense, but now it can make it tangible, and I think neuroscience is what is good at, you know to show scientifically a proof that this is happening.


I want to continue reading the second part







Neuromarketing, Interview Steve Genco, leading author “Neuromarketing for Dummies” (III/III)




This is the third (and last) part of the interview about Neuromarketing with Steve Genco leading author “Neuromarketing for Dummies”


Go to the first part of the interview where we talk about the definition of Neuromarketing, and other things such as perception and sample size.


Edgar Sánchez (E.S.): Somehow you’ve already answered my next question. In a nutshell, what is the current state of Neuromarketing? and what we can expect for the near future?


Steve Genco (S.G.): Well I can have a minor review on this topic, I may think Neuromarketing is not really the focus needed to kind of move the marketing forward. I think that we need to have, like Carla [Nagel] said it in this morning, she said it, we need to go from Neuromarketing to new marketing and I call it intuitive marketing. But what is the style of marketing that is appropriate, given what we know about the human brain and the consumer’s brain and what we’re trying to accomplish in our relationship with consumers. The old models are very one way we tell you much about our product and here’s the reason why and we want you to pay attention to the advertising. There’s a whole bunch of practices that come from a time period before we really understood that the brain operates on all these different levels: conscious and unconscious. So marketers were serious about understanding and leveraging the brain as a whole, what would marketing look like? I think that is the operative question, so the operative question is not what Neuromarketing would look like, but what will marketing look like.

And I think that what we’ve learned about the brain tells us that marketing might be different and less intrusive and less focused on persuasion, less assuming that people don’t want to do what we want them to do. And I think that it opens up the possibilities for  a more really like a kind of congenial relation between consumers and marketers. But I think marketing could be less intrusive, less disruptive, less overwhelming in terms of demands in our attention and in our time, but still achieve you know the goals that the marketers have, I think that’s a really big change in the future.


E.S.: And this is what you call intuitive market, a very interesting concept.

E.S.: To finish, do you have something you would like to say to the community? to share to the community? A wide open question as that. Something you think it’s important to say beside this prepared questions.


S.G.: I think these are great questions and I’m really interested in what kind of responses you’re gonna get from various people that you’re talking to. I think there’s lots of different perspectives on where this field is going. I think we’re all kind of lucky to be involved in this field at this point in time because you don’t really get an opportunity to kind of be involved in what is really a kind of scientific revolution and have a lot of things come together for something like Neuromarketing to come on the scene. So it’s exciting to be there, it’s like a lot of bumps in the road and challenges but still it’s really, you know, the amount that we know about the brain it’s accumulating. The scientific knowledge is accumulating at a tremendous rate. We have this technology now, we have a computer sitting on the desktop who has a processing power who only ten years ago it needed a supercomputer in order to do. So we can process this massive amounts of data better required if you’re measuring these different kinds of signals.

We have, you know, algorithms that predictive algorithms, machines, all these wonderful things, and we still have a world in which there’s a need to understand marketing and advertising better. The old saying is still true: Half of my budget is wasted, I don’t know which half. All money that is spent millions of dollars, maybe trillions of dollars a year is spent probably on advertising and marketing. We spending a trillion dollars a year and we still don’t quite know what we’re getting for. So the combination of those things, the brain, the science, the technology and the business need are creating a really unique moment and it’s great to be here. Great to participate and eventually evolve.  I really don’t know how it’s gonna go.


Steve, thank you very much for your generosity sharing your time as well as your knowledge with us.


S.G.: My pleasure,


E.S.: It’s been pleasure.




Neuromarketing, Interview with Steve Genco leading author “Neuromarketing for Dummies” (II/III)




This is the second part of the interview about Neuromarketing with Steve Genco leading author “Neuromarketing for Dummies”


Go to the first part of the interview where we talk about the definition of Neuromarketing, and other things such as perception and sample size.



Edgar Sánchez (E.S.) : Anything is perfect, Neuromarketing is not an exception, what are the limitations in Neuromarketing?

Steve Genco (S.G.): Well, you know there’s a lot of limitations. The first one is that most people don’t even like the term Neuromarketing. In the field before people realized that It was a confusing term, Neuromarketing implies a different  type of marketing. Marketing to the neuro, marketing to the brain, we are all marketing as Neuromarketers. The idea of Neuromarketing is more manipulative, more threatening, it’s, it’s …making us do things that we might not want to do. In fact that’s what marketing ….I mean what marketing is. Marketing is persuasion, you persuade, influence, seduce or seduction…you know to do, what you want them to do and apply various techniques and already get you to do it. Neuromarketing is simply making measurements, measuring different things in order to see how effective efforts and influences are. So it’s not a method of influence itself, it’s a measurement I think to get you out from the wrong track.

What are the other challenges with neuromarketing? I’ve read some things about this and I think I remember…uh..some points I’ve made , I think that scalability is a big issue so to be able to handle the needs of very large companies who want to do research all over the world and turn around over night, you know scale and speed are challenging, the more sophisticated  methodology, the harder is to meet those demands.

I think Neuromarketing needs to move away from this black box, a secret methodology and knowledge, you know. I have a secret formula that’s gonna give you information that’s better than anybody else’s gonna give you. I think the quality that the competitive advantages of Neuromarketing, companies do not come and have secret methodologies, that’s particularly incredible, it comes in having insights and in having methods and procedures that have produced consistent quality results.

I would go with a vendor, who I know. If they do ten studies for me, those ten studies all would have the same high level of quality so I can rely on the results. That’s a much more of the competitive advantage than talking of some secret algorithm.

So I think that the important thing is, the really  big issue is that Neuromarketing speaks the language of science and marketing speaks a language of insights and consumer needs and we really have a kind of a goal between these two ways of talking about things.

So I’ve noticed when I talk to people that are on the insight teams  in marketing sitting around the table taking about what kind of insights will we develop to add to the value of our product to make consumers feel more, you know, willing to use our products to increase the size of their market shares and so on, they’re speaking a completely different language than Neuromarketers. Neuromarketers say I’m measuring Attention and Emotion and Memory and the marketers and insight team  say how is that related to sales and loyalty and other factors that we’re interested in and there’s a gap in the language, in the terminology. Actually I think that both sides need to move together, I think marketing needs to take full advantage of Neuromarketing and Marketings needs sometimes to ask different questions Neuromarketers need to be providing the answers that are more relevant to the needs of Marketers. They can meet in the middle . So that’s the picture.



E.S.:  It’s quite a multi-disciplinary job, trying to construct a common language to…


E.S.: Nowadays, we the human beings, are living in the biggest accessibility of knowledge era. Either it is very cheap or free to ask knowledge, on the one hand. On the other hand in the context of Neuromarketing as time’s going by, the price of the technology surges because there is more competence and many other factors are going down. So we are facing a context with these two characteristics, more accessibility to knowledge and more accessibility to technology, as time is going by. I have meet, read people claiming that are doing Neuromarketing with not necessarily a clear background. What are the characteristics, the requirements to become a good Neuromarketer or to identify a good Neuromarketer. Somehow you said about the scientific background, the scientific training. Is there any other important feature to search or to prepare in order to become a Neuromarketer?


S.G.: Well, to be fair, we don’t have the two trends go together, you can learn from the scientific production of others. You don’t have to do every experiment yourself. On the other hand you need to be able to distinguish between things that are a sort of achieving. Achieving is acceptance in the scientific community and things that may better one-off study. A lot of times you will see folks that are not scientists themselves will say, I’ve just read a study in science daily that said if you use these three words, if your solicitation on your website will increase conversion like 43%. That’s one study. You need to understand: was that a novelty or was that something that was inconsistent, unreliable. So you can develop a repository of knowledge. There are some things that scientific results can be replicably used in situations where you kinda know they’re gonna work. They worked before, there’s an expectation they’re gonna work again, you can use that knowledge to make a prediction, I think what’s gonna happen here, is this is gonna be the result, and, you know, if that’s based on scientific knowledge, it’s useful information to the person that you communicate that too. So you don’t have to do a study every time, but you do have to know what is a kind of a really solid replicable results. We know something like for example processing and fluency, the human mind prefers things that are easy to process so if you have an advertisement that is very busy, there’s all kinds of visual things all over, multiple fonts and little isolated pictures, very busy very complex, that it’s going to be harder for the human brain to process than something that’s much simpler. So if you asked me which of these two will be the best ad, I could say this one because it’s simpler and the brain prefers simple and probably I’d be right, so if you go to do the study you’d see that’s the result but you need to know which of those things are kind of solid, predictable things and which are one-off, might happen in one study, but we don’t really know what we have or which is expected to happen in other boundary conditions around which it remains valid maybe outside those boundary condition is not….


That means, again, is somehow a scientific training to have the possibility to distinguish the boundaries, the possibility to extrapolate.


S.G.: If you’re evaluating Neuromarketing vendors, there should be a scientists around…they should be….maybe they’re …you’re not going to have a world class PhD neuroscientist on your project but you want to know that the intellectual property of the company is being developed by and is being run through the scientific knowledge of some scientist…who knows, who has the background and the experience to help that company be accurate  in what it’s presenting.


E.S.: In management, in the last thirty or forty years, we have seen fashions such as Total Quality Management (TQM) such as Six Sigma. Is Neuromarketing another fashion, another trendy thing? Or is it more permanent?


S.G.: If it is, it’s not a very successful one, because we haven’t really had the kind of massive adoption that Six Sigmam Reengineering, many of  the other management facts we’ve come across. I think Neuromarketing is real, but it’s counter intuitive it in the terms of  the way a lot of people that have had abandoned the marketing field for a long time in other way than they think. Ironically, one of the lessons of Neuromarketing is that if you’re really comfortable and familiar with one way of doing things, it’s really really hard, you kind a chuck up over the shoulder and say I’m starting to think about it this way. So, I think Neuromarketing has a growth curve and I think as I talked before. This may be a generation of change. There’s resistance, so in Neuromarketing guys have to come in, and explain what they do and explain some of these questions that you asked about sample size is real and so on and I believe that people that are coming out of business school today, and they are being subjective to more learning, which regard to what we know about the brain as part of their education as they move in to their positions of power they’re gonna demand that we don’t have a limited view of how we understand Neuromarketing thinking about the whole view. So there will be a more gradual transition and there’ll always be room for a kind of bit classic , subjective kinds of data and information because what people think they think is important. Even if there may be a discrepancy between what they think they think and what they actually do , you wanna know what they think they think as well. So, that’s not gonna go away but I think that a larger proportion of the research project is gonna be like spent on some of these new kinds of measures and integrate them in new kinds of measures.


I want to continue reading the third part (final part)




Interview with Steve Genco leading author “Neuromarketing for Dummies” (I/III)



.Neuromarketing. its complexities, methodological and other neuro-points



Hello, I’m Edgar Sánchez (E.S.). I am with Steve Genco (S.G.), leading author of the book “Neuromarketing for Dummies”.

E.S.: Steve, thank you for taking time to join this conversation about Neuromarketing.

Steve, let’s begin with the basic things, What is Neuromarketing, what is the definition?, your definition of Neuromarketing?

S.G.: Well, Neuromarketing is basically the study of consumer behavior in terms of the process of the human brain and applying a huge amount of knowledge that has been developed over the last couple of decades in the brain sciences which I include Psychology, Neuroscience and also Behavioral Economics. The application, those insights which those include topics of Marketing in Consumer Behavior, Consumer Decision Making, and basically looking at the consumer as kind of full picture of the consumer brain that we have today as opposed to the kind of limited models that we used to have before this new information became available.

E.S.: Great.



E.S.: What are the complexities of Neuromarketing?

S.G.: There’s a necessity for Neuromarketers to have a pretty strong scientific background. It’s not a do it yourself kind of certain methodology. There is a whole specter of methodologies. Some which are very detailed require Ph.D. level, scientific training in order to do and some others that are easier to perform and to understand how do they operate the data and still get a pretty strong background. So I think the biggest complexities of Neuromarketing, you have to be serious about is the science. Neuromarketing is a field that at least today people come into from other fields where they’ve already established credentials and scientific knowledge and to apply that knowledge to Marketing and Consumer Behavior.



E.S.: Generally speaking, what is the way to measure the Neuromarketing projects, is there anything like a ROI ( Return of Investment). What would be those measurements, those successful measurements.

S.G.: Ultimately, Return of Investment is kind of the ultimate measure marketers need to justify the cost to companies that they worked for. Measurement is a piece of marketing, ultimately its marketing itself is an effective or non-effective cost to testing , marketing pre-testing, post testing and monitoring. Any large product company or small product company for that matter needs to determine how it’s going to allocate it’s spending, it’s expenses in order to maximize the overall ROI. So that’s the kind of long sophisticated answer.

In fact, companies tend to measure their research results I think in a less quantitative or precise manner. And it’s often a kind of a satisfying sort of model where things are going on ok. You know we’re selling, increasing share or maintaining share, and as long the boat is kind of floating along, at an appropriate level. If something bad happens and then is a flurry of activity. What will we need to do, what will we need to adjust and then you might see a lot more research. And then you might see changes in terms of how the company has whole response to the marketing situation.


E.S.: Talking about the methodologies, I would like to ask you about the sample size. On the one hand, how big should be the sample size? and on the other hand, how important is to have a representative sample for the studies?

S.G.: I think sample size is actually somehow overrated problem. I think that a lot of times marketers and market researchers are more comfortable talking about sample size because it’s an issue they have to deal with in every kind of research. So the issue the same sample size in Neuromarketing  is something they can correspond to and talk about. But in fact sample size is a matter of statistical power. Sample size is not, there is no number that it is appropriate, sample, you need to know the strength and the effect that you are measuring and then you need to be able to calculate, you know,  power calculation or to determine what is the sample size in order to extract that signal. You know, from the noise of the data.

So for some kinds of effects, brain effects they are very prominent signals to noise ratio and because of that, in order to identify them, you don’t need a big sample.

Now, the second part of the question. The important issues are which is what is the population that your sample is represented. It may be the case that a signal can be identified with twenty or fifteen people but if you’re interested in what that signal represents in terms of a kind of consumer’s behavior or the kind consumer’s response, and you’re interested in the response of particular segment of the population then you have to be sure that the people that you’re testing are in the right sample, are in the right group.

Second, but a lot that we’re interesting it is comparing segments. So, the sample size issue kind of goes away, if you want to compare so say, that in order  to determine the presence of a signal in twenty people let’s say for EEG or some  other kind of methodology, well so you need 20 people to determine the straight signal, in a particular group, say pair of men and women you have to go to 40 people because you have 20 men and 20 women, because  each of those sub-segments used to have an adequate number to be able to identify the signal.

You also need to be able to do young and old, now you’re up to 80 because if you take each other’s groups you take young men, young women and older men, older women and you got to eighty people. So, it’s really easy to get the sample size up, if the comparison that you want to make require comparing different groups, product loyalists versus product diagnostic. New users versus long term users, every time you want to compare any of those groups you have to double the samples. That’s a limitation because unlike survey methodology where you start off  with a big sample, you can slice the dice according to maybe identifying an interesting distinction in the sample for people who live in a certain sized city, in a certain region, shop or a certain store, they seem to have an interesting characteristic, you can cut and tease that out of the data.

But in experimental research you have to predefine  those groups, you can’t find them afterwards so that’s how often something that focused to survey research has a little trouble understanding the data pre-specified and you can’t just slice the dice of data. You have to create an experimental protocol that gives you, each self one study, for comparison you have to have more people to have this statistical power to do the comparison.



E.S.: The first part of the question was because I have read somewhere that the golden number for a sample size in Neuromarketing is 30. And that’s why I’m asking you this.

S.G.: For some kinds of study to identify some kinds of patterns, 30 may be perfectly adequate, but 30, of who? 30 women, you want 30 young men, you want 30 buyers of a product that buy it at least 10 times a year. So you often find that the most powerful research has some kind of built-in comparison. An absolute measure does not mean very much, if you gonna have a general population and the general population, the amount of attention allocated to this ad, is whatever the number is, that’s much less helpful than the amount of attention allocated to this ad was 47 and this ad was 39 and given this sample sizes, you know that is statistically significant difference. Now you know something as opposed to a general level.


E.S.: The second part of the question was because I’ve read again somewhere that it’s not important the composition of the sample. If you do Neuromarketing study in Sao Paolo Brazil, you can extrapolate to people in the UK or Finland. Some people are claiming so because they say the idea they claim, that the brain does not have so much variability among people and they are claiming those things.


S.G.: I think it’s a kind of misnomer, I’m aware that these claims have been made and I think it confuses a couple of level of analysis. It’s the case that if you get excited about something, and I get excited about something and we get excited in the same way, so we may have arousal, skin conductance increase, frontal lobe symmetry, that’s the way our bodies and our brain process being excited about something. But you may be excited about something completely different than what I’m excited about. It’s not a machinery of excitement that it’s relevant. It’s what is exciting to you, and that very significantly there is a lot of very interesting research coming out now, cultural differences, even perception the way in which some Asian  cultures and Western cultures perceive the scene. They are using eye-tracking, where they’re focus on the scene, literally the way in which, what seems to be a very hard wired perceptual function can be different in different cultural context, in which people learn how in our culture we absorb information. So there’s a lot of really interesting differences. So the idea in defense  and resilience, Spaniards all respond in the same way, at one level is true, all of our brains work pretty much the same, but what we respond to can be very different.

E.S.: Okay,


I want to continue reading the second part…

Neuromarketing, Interview with Elissa Moses (III/III), IPSOS Executive VP of Neuro and Behavior Science Innovation Center

This is the third part of the interview about Neuromarketing with Elissa Moses is Executive Vice-President of Neuro and  Behavior Science Innovation Center at IPSOS


Go to the first part of the interview.


Edgar Sánchez (E.S.): In your vision, in a nutshell, what is the current state of Neuromarketing and what are the things that we can expect for the near future?

Elissa Moses (E.M.): Well, I got into this area, very early I did a pioneering kind of things, and try some things for the first time and what I first got involved about ten years ago everybody was like ‘what are you  talking about?” and “this is crazy” and “why do we I need this?”  and “why should I believe this” and we’ve evolved. And there was a big debate between conscious and non-conscious measurement and that was a ridiculous debate and we got pass that. And what we see now are new stages in the field, maturity. And that has to do with better cooperation, we’re creating a better learning community, like we are here in this conference NMBSA and we are finding that we have more in common with each other than  we have differences. Some people may prefer different tools and different applications. The truth is most neuro-tools get some emotional response engagement, the only tool is a little bit different is “Implicit Reaction”.

We’re finding that clients for instance and users are asking different questions, they are not saying: should I be taking this seriously? should I be using it? But which tool is best for which application. Which venue has the greater added value of understanding their implications of their work have to advise me. Where can I get the best cause? Where can I get the best scalability? Where can I get the best service? And so the dialogue has change, and the most exciting thing side of things is that we’re coming to the point where we are getting pass the fundamentals and we’re starting to really combine our learning to have a meta-understanding of how advertising works and how consumers respond in different situations.

At this conference for instance, in one of the papers I presented had to do with sound versus vision in advertising. Other people have talked about different aspects of creativity, we’re just raising our game, with the learning that is becoming common knowledge.



E.S.: Good! Yeah, we are in the context of Neuromarketing World Forum in Barcelona, you gave a talk yesterday. I was about emotion  a common topic in almost all the talks. What is the way you define emotion?

E.M: Well, I think about it a number of ways. There is a technical answer that has to do with  a physiological reaction that starts deep in the center of our brain and radiates through our body  like a chain reaction and the effects are heart rate and our sweat, and you know, our pupils and our facial expressions, it’s just a whole physiological reaction. It leaves an effect on us, it leaves a residual impact. That’s different from what you may call feelings, feelings are when you talk about poetry and literature and taking those emotional reactions and putting them together in a concept in an idea, but the first is very physiological reaction and happens very fast.

E.S.: So, emotion is like a fear..

E.M.; Yes surprise, disgust happiness, all kinds of things…

ES: A feeling if I understand well  could be like love, generosity…

E.M.; Yes,  concern, doubt, envy, feelings are a little bit more complex.

The other thing to think about is…I think that feelings are like cords, musical cords, you don’t necessarily have one feeling at the same time, there’s bitter sweetness, pleasantly surprise, you could be surprised and horrified, you know so different signals can be happening at the same time.



E.S.: Elissa to finish. Do you have something you would like to share with people interested in Neuromarketing?

E.M: Yes, I want people to be open to understanding that there is new knowledge that is available. I recommend this wonderful book everyone starts with it is “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. It is a great primer but there are many other books out there. But if you are Neuromarketer or not, we are all humans, we all make decisions everyday we all try to change our habits and all this kind of learning is valuable at a personal and professional level.

E.S.: Great!. Elissa, thank you very much for sharing your time and your knowledge, for showing to us your generosity. Thank you very much,  it’s been a pleasure.





Neuromarketing, Interview with Elissa Moses (II/III), IPSOS Executive VP of Neuro and Behavior Science Innovation Center

This is the second part of the interview about Neuromarketing with Elissa Moses is Executive Vice-President of Neuro and  Behavior Science Innovation Center at IPSOS


Go to the first part of the interview where we talk about the definition of Neuromarketing, its complexities among other things.


Edgar Sánchez (E.S.): Nothing is perfect. Neuromarketing is not an exception. What are limitations of Neuromarketing?

Elissa Moses (E.M.):  Well, first of all it covers the non-conscious. Second of all, it’s a newly developed science, so have all of the questions, we don’t completely understand how the brain works,  by we I mean academia and the medical community. It’s the last great mystery of universe. To understand how the brain works, and we’re getting closer and closer, exponentially every year, more and more, but there are a lot to learn and still an exciting time to be in this field.  All you have to do is to get involved to be part of discovery, part of learning.

E.S.: Yeah we have a brain and we use it  everyday  but sometimes we tend to forget, that is the most complex system we have ever faced as human beings as a race. So yeah this is one of the limitations and complexities of these things.



E.S.: Nowadays we the human beings have access to knowledge as never before, the access to knowledge is quite big, either is it cheap, very cheap or free, on the one hand. On the other hand, the technologies such as EEG or Eye Tracking are dropping their prices as with any other technology, the prices are going down, that means, as time is going by, they are becoming more and more accesible. We have access to knowledge, access to technology. Based on those things, I have met, heard or  read people that are doing neuromarketing with a kind of suspicious background, to use a kind adjective for those people. The question is:    What are the aspects, the characteristics a good Neuromarketer has, or should have  in order to indetify it as it or for a person who wants to become a good Neuromarketer? Training, Skills, Knowledge.

E.M: Well, you know a little bit like market research in general. A couple of years ago you could could had asked me about people doing surveys themselves in Survey Monkey. All become so accessible.  Knowledge is spreading and so there are certain fundamentals that  people who need to understand to apply aspects of Neuromarketing. It helps to work for people who have great experience or knowledge or expertise in a field.

The good side of what you’re talking about is that a vision of some of us share is coming to fruition, might not thought possible ten years ago. Because this is the biggest industry change in marketing research. I think in our life time is that  we are taking now non-conscience measures into consideration, typical research study, so my prediction is that the majority of research studies as appropriate will have both conscious and non-conscious measurements together.

It won’t be a question of “should I do a neuro study?”. It would be a question of which methodology should I use in my study to make sure that I cover the right non-conscious response in addition to the questions that I asked. And it’s quite to become a standard. The  people would become better trained and certain knowledge should be conventional wisdom as part of the practice. So, I think we’re on the right path.




E.S.; Well, in this way, the question is do you think the Neuromarketing is here to stay or it is a new trendy thing, a new fashion thing such as the last 40 years or so we have had in management trendy things like such as “Total Quality Management”, Re-engineering, Six Sigma jus to mention few.

E.M: I think the nomenclature may change. A lot of people are talking now about behavioral sciences, behavior economics, putting new phraseology on top of the same kind of thing, and that is what the same kind of thing has to do with understanding human motivations particularly on the non conscious or conscious side of things and how they affect decisions and behavior. That’s not going to go away.

If we have legitimate learning that is useful by its value, we’re going to take that with us until get something. So nomenclature will change but the quest understand, the decision process, the price behavior is not going to go away unless price is going away. And it is marketing.


Go to the third part (final part)

Neuromarketing, Interview with Elissa Moses (I/III), IPSOS Executive VP of Neuro and Behavior Science Innovation Center


Hello, I am Edgar Sánchez (E.S.), I am with Elissa Moses (E.M.) in the context of the Neuromarketing World Forum in Barcelona



Elissa Moses is Executive Vice-President of Neuro and  Behavior Science Innovation Center at IPSOS



Edgar Sánchez (E.S.): Elissa  thank you very much for taking the time to be with us talking about Neuromarketing.

Elissa Moses (E.M.): My Pleasure

E.S.: Elissa, let’s start with the fundamentals. What is Neuromarketing?

E.M: Neuromarketing is really a new subdivision of Market Research and of Marketing and really was born out of the fact that Neuroscience has developed so much more understanding about how people make decisions, how emotions are processed and that learning has filtered into the whole marketing research industry. So it’s embracing of these new kinds of understanding. Particularly they are described as a System 1 by Daniel Kahneman and primarily refers to non-conscious response.



E.S.: What are the complexities of the Neuromarketing?

Elissa Moses (E.M.): They are many. Partly or fundamentally are struggling with a deep science and so a lot of people don’t have the experience with this science and sometimes they misunderstand things and they get only part of the story right, they embrace tools they may not understand and it really does help to have a some kind of the guide that has neuroscience understanding, experience and can be a real practitioner in terms of knowing what to do it. It’s not just about knowing the science, it’s about knowing how to apply it to the research and marketing world.



ES: What is the way to measure Neuromarketing projects, the success of Neuromarketing projects?

E.M.: The success of a Neuromarketing project has to do with the value that is perceived, to be derived from it by the clients and the people that are working on it. The most immediate value comes from diagnostics. Understanding depending on what you are measuring and what the objectives of study are, understanding if you lose emotional engagement in a certain point of a commercial. If the visual reaction upon seeing a new package or experiencing a new product is negative, that’s really important learning. And so because of the specificity of knowledge that comes from Neuro-mesurements you have the ability to have great detailed learning about how people are reacting unconsciously beyond if they can maybe  put it into words. That’s the beginning.

E.M.: Over time we are seeing more and more empirical evidence about correlations, and certain patterns of neuro-response in market success. I think as the sub-industry evolves we are going to see much better modeling in predicting value once these neuro-tools are combined with conscious tools and we have a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of consumer’s patterns.

ES: I understand that you think that Neuromarketing is a complement of the traditional marketing, research marketing tools and practices

EM: I think that they both go hand in hand and given that we know so much of the importance of emotions and unconscious of how me make decisions and what guides our behavior, we would be very foolish not to include that in our investigation of consumer response. At the same time, cognition and intention matters and so you really need to have precisely the equation.



ES: Talking about the Neuromarketing methodologies, I would like to ask you  about the sample in the Neuromarketing studies. This means two things: what is the sample size? in one hand. And What is the importance of the composition of that sample size? I’m asking you because on the part of the sample size, I’ve heard or read that some people are claiming that 30 is the golden number of the sample size . On the one hand. On the other, some people are claiming that the [potential] extrapolation of the results is quite high that means that is you do a marketing study in Brazil, Sao Paulo,  you can extrapolate that to people in the UK or in Finland. In terms of the size. Does Neuromarketing work require a big sample size, a representative one?

E.M: Edgar this a very complex question because it has a lot of different elements and aspects of it and I have a very firm point of view of this. We’ll take it in pieces.

First of all, the rules of statistics do not change just because you are using neurometrics. So, if you want to be projectable, if you want to do significant testing, if you want to be representative of a sample, the same rules apply, quantitative research as quantitative and qualitative research as qualitative.

There are more factors involved as well. If you ask me questions about a stimuli, I’m looking at the stimuli responding and trying to be rational when looking at the stimuli. If you’re passively measuring my response to something so to say bio-metric, E.E.G.[Electroencephalogram], even Eye-Tracking, there could be something inside that can be a stimuli, a thought that I have. There is no way for you to know. But I think, I forgot to do something my boss asked me to do…Oh my God!, I’m not showing to you on my face because I can control my facial muscles, but inside something’s upsetting me. You’ll never going to know that. You look at the bio-metrics and go Oh my God! something happened, there was really an event here. That is why you need enoughable quality of a sample to be able to take out those outliers. So the majority of a sample response at a certain place in a response to a major stimuli, you have a good probability of believing that is a reaction to that stimuli. If you’re doing it with too few people, you don’t know.

Now, one of the things that I have concerns of what really small sample size is, is that it’s not very repeatable in many cases, I’ve done studies in my previous job working with E.E.G. we would have a much bigger sample taking groups of thirty, how they responded to an add from the same homogenous sample and it didn’t necessarily imply the same results. I think that there is an exaggeration of the example of smaller sample sizes, because it’s wish fulfillment, it’s much cheaper to have smaller sample sizes. I think you could no more project how people will going to react in Argentina in extrapolate that to Japan and you can if you did a 30 person survey and tried to project it to Japan.

I really think it’s a fallacy. And if in fact 30 is enough, what we are seeing is that diminishing returns with some of these metrics at sample. Eye-tracking is one that doesn’t require many, because it’s much more of a just of sort of universal physiological response, tracks your eye It means that you’re measuring very blunt effects. But if you try to measure something that has to do with how someone really feels about something there is contextual. It has to do with cultural references, personal meanings, bigger the sample you are going to need Otherwise, I think you’re measuring a very blunt effect like pain. I don’t have to have a big sample to know if I pick people with a pen, it’s gonna hurt One or two people.

I used to work for a boss, he was brilliant, he said I only need to stick my arm out of the window to know if it’s raining. I don’t need a really big sample. If something is the universal effect, then the smaller, but if something has to do about how do I feel about luxury, how do I feel about the category, how do I feel about the brand, let’s get serious we have to have a bigger sample.


Go to the second part (out of three)