I used to love to participate in focus groups. Because of what I do for a living, I can’t do that anymore. But I used to love to see how researchers would use focus groups to figure out how to brand, price and market a product or service.
Now The Boston Globe reports that we’re moving way past traditional focus group into the realm of biometrics and even beyond as researchers try to figure out what are the most effective messages for advertisers to use.
It’s gotten to the point that you can actually be a human guinea pig if you’re willing to submit yourself to “neuromarketing” studies. That where you may be hooked up to diodes, or they may use digital cameras to follow your eyes or use EEGs to record brain wave activity when you’re exposed to certain ad messages.
There’s a certain creep-out factor with neuromarketing. The ad industry’s justification is that they’ll be able to take the info collected in these studies and streamline the ad experience to reduce clutter for everybody.
But some call it an extreme invasion of privacy. I don’t feel that way. If I am willing and they’ll pay me to figure out what appeals to me, I chose to take that money in return for being a guinea pig. It’s not like they’re taking a pint of blood. They’re only trying to figure out which messages are effective and which are not. And to me, that’s just smart business.