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do you need to bee a brain surgeon ? (clic for the texte)size 100x120

  Do marketers have to be brain surgeons?
After all, didn't the head of the TV station TF1 say he 'sold brains to advertisers'.

Can learnings from the world of neuroscience be applied to the world of marketing? Well, two French researchers believe they can, and they've laid out their argument in a new book called 'Selling to the old brain', says the Belgian magazine Trends.
You can measure if a consumer likes an advert or if she remembers it", they say. "But knowing if it helps to sell the product is a lot more difficult.

Trends devotes an article to the work of Patrick Renvoisé and Christophe Morin, who believe they have found a way of unlocking (some of) the secrets of marketing. They call it 'neuromarketing'.

Neuromarketing: how to successfull close sales by applying the rules of neuroscience

The duo's book, 'Selling to the old brain', is already available in English and a French-language versoin is planned for next year. It is based on an analysis of advances made in brain science and particularly those achieved by Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, winners of the 2003 Nobel Prize for medicine
Techniques developed by these two allow the brain to be photographed in a 3-dimensional space, Trends says, with great precision. In addition, the brain's activity can be monitored and recorded. "The quality of the new MRI machines effectively allows you to know what's going on in someone's brain", says Renvoisé, "when they are making a decision, such as when or what to buy".

Daimler Chrysler, Ford, Delta Airlines and others are all said to be interested in the technique, but the most well-known example, Trends says, is of Coke and Pepsi. In blilnd tests of the two drinks, an analysis of brain activity shows that trialists prefer the second drink to the first one. When the two drinks are clearly identified, however, the results are the other way round. The conclusion: the brand image enjoyed by Coca-Cola is so powerful as to be able to change perception of the product. BrightHouse, said to be the first 'neuromarketing' agency in the United States, was set up in Atlanta - where Coca Cola has its headquarters - two years ago. Is it any coincidence that, just a few weeks ago, Patrick Le Lay, head of the TV station TF1, say that his job consisted of 'selling brains to advertisers'?

Patrick Renvoisé explains that while our brain is made up of three main sections, only one of them takes the decision whether or not to act. "The reptilian brain is so primitive that it only reacts to six stimuli", he says. Those are the very senses which can help to determine the probability that a product will sell.

In brief, those six senses consist of egotism (the subject thinks only of himself);  reacting only to situations of contrast (noise/silence, for example); an understanding of only the basic elements; concentrating only on the beginning and end of messages; high dependency on visuals (the nerves of the eye take in 25-times more information than those of the ear); and a reaction to very emotional signals.

In marketing language, Trends says, that means that in a presentation, advert or other commercial approach, you have to start from the needs of the customer - including his frustrations - and not the characteristics of the product. The essential information should be placed at the beginning and end of the message and one should be as concrete as possible, for example by using client statements. One should go straight to what's essential and avoid digressing.

This all seems like common sense and it's hard to see how one needs to resort to neuroscience to apply such techniques. That may be the case, Renvoisé says, "but the science is helping to validate them".

Not that 'neuromarketing' is without its critics, however. An article in the newspaper Le Monde some weeks ago quoted a neuroscientists, Oliver Ouiller, reminding readers that this is still a developping technology. According to Ouiller, there is no scientifically-recognised study which has established a clear link between the workings of one part of the brain and so complex an act as the purchase decision. Then there are ethical questions. Can one use medical research for purely commercial reasons? Well, according to a judgment made by the American authorities in February, it appears you can.