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Sales and Marketing Software

How is Neuromarketing shaping up in Latin America?

Pop on a piece of headgear, hook yourself up to the right equipment, and wait for the data to flow as you’re treated to a range of different stimuli. This is Neuromarketing, the practice of applying different forms of brain tech to understanding what makes people buy products.

The practice of neuromarketing can cause quite a strong reaction from many. Some people hate it and find it so morally bankrupt it leaves them biting and spitting blood and feathers. Others become aerated simply because they’re so sceptical.

However, like most technology adoption rates the reaction it receives varies around the world. In the US and particularly Europe, neuromarketing is adopted with a strong scientific approach, says Juan Pablo Rodríguez, CEO of Eye On Media a Latin American eye tracking organisation “while in South America, it is still a flashy show of technology”.

“I think in the US the perception of Neuromarketing is very mixed but still open and interested, while in most countries of Europe there is moderate interest and a huge barrier of scepticism and criticism,” agrees Robertino Pereira, Senior Sales Consultant of Acuity ETS Ltd, who has spent eight years working in the field across both Latin America and Europe.

“The interest in neuromarketing in South America is higher than the rest of the word,” though says Rodríguez who still believes, none-the-less that it is a “complement to traditional market research methodologies”.

How is it used locally?

“Neuromarketing is supposed to be science applied to marketing or market research,” says Pereira “However, people start seeing flashy lines, heat maps and just go crazy starting interpreting things without really understanding them.”

Many organisations do not invest in training, he adds. And although data collection and the cost-effective availability of hardware and software is not the problem it once was, people often fail to put as much time as they ought into designing a decent methodology and properly interpreting the results.

“That’s pretty bad and often results in bad research, which then makes people sceptical and in turn makes it more difficult to do real neuromarketing.”

The main technique used in South America – both academic and commercial – is eye tracking, says   Rodríguez. Face reading comes in second, followed by Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) – the electrical charge on the skin, and then Electroencephalography (EEG) – the electrical charge on the scalp. 

“I think we just passed the innovation gap and slowly,” says Rodríguez. “Now market research companies are realising that they have to offer applied neuroscience insights to their customers,”

“Sadly, in South America the concept of ‘milk the cow as much as you can’ applies way too much.  Market research companies won’t change until clients demand a change,” he concludes.

 

Here is Pereira’s overview of the state of neuromarketing in different parts of Latin America:

Argentina

There is a lot of interest but due to import restrictions Argentinians struggle to get the technology. “There is a company doing fMRI in Argentina, and they are using a MRI scanner in a hospital.” We have also been trying, for nearly 10 months, to get a piece of eye tracking equipment into the country for one of our clients and it is still not out of customs.

Brazil

Brazil is starting to show an interest, but again due to import taxes, systems like eye tracking, EEG and GSR are double the price they would be in Europe.

Chile

Chile is a bit technologically agnostic. Academic research is doing quite a lot but commercial research hasn’t really taken off yet even though there is sporadic interest. “I believe people are sceptical even though we have proven on several occasions that for the same price as ‘normal’ studies, we provide better and deeper and more correct insights.”

Colombia

Everyone is doing neuromarketing in Colombia – this has the most widespread interest. “Everyone knows it and they want more and more technology, but very often you can see that people use an EEG and have actually no idea what they are doing. But since there are so many universities and commercial clients working with neuromarketing some do a good work, but also quite a lot of snake oil.”

Peru

Peru is just picking up. There is huge interest and they are keen on starting, but there is still a bit scepticism for the moment. “Since traditional research is so much cheaper there – due to low labour costs – adding Neuromarketing makes things expensive.”

Ecuador

Ecuador hasn’t really started to do this at the moment. The limited studies and sales suggest that they are starting to develop an interest though.

Central Americas

Central America is somewhat interested and we have noticed more research there, and more interest than in Peru, but also much more scepticism.

Mexico

Mexico is a huge market and there some companies offering neuromarketing, but it is massive and a bit stuck in traditional ways.

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