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)