About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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March 6, 2004

Neuromarketing Not So Hot, Yet...

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Either corporate America doesn't believe the hype surrounding neuromarketing or their marketing departments don't understand what "neuromarketing" means. My bet it is more the latter than the former. Regardless of the reason, the lack of interest in neuromarketing caused the first neuromarketing conference to be cancelled this week:

Thank you for your interest in Neuromarketing 2004. Unfortunately, the interest expressed about this meeting exceeded the actual number of participants who signed up. This number was too small for the meeting to be economically feasible. We expect this nascent field to grow quickly, and hope to have sufficient participation to support our meeting next year.

Conference organizers had even put together an all-star group of neuroeconomic researchers that included:

-P. Read Montague, PhD - Director, Human Neuroimaging Lab, Baylor College
-Steve Quartz, PhD - Director, Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Caltech
-Kevin McCabe, PhD - Prof. Economics and Law at George Mason University
-Paul Zak, PhD - Director, Center for Neuroeconomics,Claremont Graduate U.
-Brian Knutson, PhD - Assistant Prof., Psychology and Neuroscience at Stanford
-Colin Camerer, PhD - Professor of Business Economics at Caltech
-Samuel McClure, PhD - Fellow at Princeton University
-Ronald Fisher, MD, PhD - Director of Nuclear Medicine, Baylor Hospital
-Clint Kilts PhD - Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the Emory University School of Medicine

If you really think about it, how many marketing or advertising executives do you know that have a background in neuroscience. As I've said before, as brain imaging advances, neuromarketing will become a significant growth sector in years to come as the trillion-per-year advertising and marketing industries leverage brain scanning technology to better understand how and why people react to different market campaigns. If you know any highly energetic, experience business executives with neuroscience degrees, have them give me a call. I've got a few companies that are interested in talking with them.

Update: What Brand Are You? My first brand was "Pro-Performa" which means "hitting the wall" my second was "Tenax" meaning "calm chaos collectively collaborated".

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuromarketing


1. Rob on March 7, 2004 8:18 PM writes...

People just don't get it when it comes to neuroscience. I don't understand why. You can talk all day about studies that show humans don't make rational purchasing decisions, and people will say "hmmm, that's interesting." They never think it applies to them and it never causes them to question their own decisions in any way.

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2. Christine Dobbin on March 9, 2004 7:25 AM writes...

Although i can understand how neuromarketing could be used, (if marketing professionals can ever get their heads out of the consumer and status obbsessed cloud), it is not a good thing surley. Why should anyone bother to urge it forward? Is their not already enough comsumerism encouraged? Why push it? The people who are dissapointed should leave thier arguments be. Why give knowledge of such to a multinational corporation? Have you really got anything to gain? Would any amout of money account for the fact you helped brainwash millions into buying a burger? It is an unnessesary part of society which is designed to make people feel like they are lacking something personally, and if they are it can all be fixed with whatever product. I urge you, it needs no encouragement.

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3. Peter Kenning on March 11, 2004 5:27 AM writes...

That the Neuromarketing 2004 was cancelled is really a pitty. As an active researcher in neuroeconomics I know that the persons listed above are really excellent researchers and speakers...

However - for me it is really hard to sse, why there is so low attention on this reserach area in the US. Taking into consideration, what kind of influence just the few results of our german reserach team on the economic practice here in germany have had - espicially in marketing....

Nevertheless I wish you the best for the next conference in autum 2004. Perhaps we will see us before on the 2nd Conference on Neuroeeocnomics? For details see:

Regads Peter

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4. Rob on March 12, 2004 4:05 AM writes...

I think you are only seeing one side of the equation. Yes neuromarketing raises ethical issues, but it is no different than anything done now, it is just on a more focused and intense scale. But on the flip side, it is a way to maximize customer happiness by targeting the message, and isn't that what we are ultimately after?

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5. Becky on March 29, 2004 1:06 PM writes...

It's nice that you can rationalize putrid, manipulative advertising techniques to make yourself feel better, but what if the customer doesn't want to deal with this kind of thing, period? Advertisements just make me feel depressed. Do you honestly think that whichever company has the ability to spend the most on the best advertisers, has the product that will make the customer happiest? How many products are useless wastes of third-world labor, gimmickry, and bright, shiny packaging with commercials and advertisements to impart a feeling to the item that is so sorely lacking? Sad, sad world we live in..


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6. Ali Moazed on April 7, 2004 2:51 PM writes...

I agree that neuromarketing is a fascinating concept and seems to be the wave of the future. As such, I'm considering a career change to get on the leading edge of this technology. This would require a return to school for me. Can anyone tell me whether this would be more the focus of neuroscience or applied (marketing) psychology and whether you know of academic programs that are starting to focus on this? I'd like to approach it from the neuroscience side, but I don't want to end up doing 4 years of PhD. work followed by the usual 5 or 6 year post doc in neuroscience, before hitting the jack pot.

Thanks for your feedback.

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