by Robin Gurney

According to Clayton Christensen, father of Disruptive Innovation theory, a New York Times best-selling author and professor at Harvard Business School, there are over 30,000 new consumer products introduced every year, and 95 percent fail. Professor Inez Blackburn, University of Toronto, claims the failure rate of new grocery store products is 70 to 80 percent.
Why is that? Was in some cases the market research pre-launch somehow flawed?

There is an 80% correlation between a brand’s familiarity with consumer neuroscience and revenue growth.
94% of progressive market researchers believe that consumer neuroscience will either complement (64%) or replace (30%) traditional market research techniques (Source: GRIT Report 2018).
So why is there still significant reluctance from many brands to experiment or investigate the area more deeply?

Being customer-centric isn’t just a nice-to-have attitude, it’s become an essential part of marketing.
Combining neuromarketing (implicit) insights with explicit data from traditional market research gives a fuller, holistic view of the consumer. Neuromarketing, behavioral science and cognitive psychology (persuasion sciences as I call them) help you understand the WHY of consumer behaviour.
Why do they buy your product, or not?
Why did that campaign succeed or fail?
Why is that app or website delivering or not?
And so on.

However the pain or reluctance felt by those exclusively or overly reliant on traditional market research methodologies is both real and understandable.

How can they adapt at speed and learn how to integrate or utilise persuasion sciences to improve their businesses?
They are also concerned about the growing competition from “online tools” and at the same time, perceived, by some, as too purist, too reactive and too slow.
Perhaps they are worried that ultimately technical companies and consultants will replace them?

“Some experts estimate that 90% of the typical tasks carried out in market studies could be automated in 10 years [Dirk Huisman] and that the probability of teleoperators, data transcriptors and encoders disappearing is 99%, while the probabilities of interviewers and market research analysts disappearing are 94% and 61% respectively [Benedikt, C. y Osborne, M. A.].” Source: Bitbrain 2018.

It’s natural they (the traditionalists) want to protect the status quo (just as traditional media valiantly tried and failed to resist the internet in the early days or how media buyers didn’t take online CPC and CPA advertising seriously – just look at Facebook and Google’s market share of advertising now).
Of course the data & insights from persuasion science research must provide business growth. Evidence is needed.
That evidence exists for those that seek it.
I know. insights database has plenty.

The neuromarketing industry shares the blame for slow adoption rates.
Market education of brand managers and market researchers showing public evidence is patchy and relatively rare. This is partly because the companies who do use neuromarketing etc. are reluctant to make the know-how behind their gains and “reduced pains” public and therefore visible to competitors. Understandable. Who wants to give away an advantage as soon as they have got it? Nobody.
And secondly the neuromarketing industry is largely populated by scientists who, being non-marketers, have not, let’s face it, marketed neuromarketing all that well…yet. Their focus has been on investigating and proving the awesome potential of persuasion sciences, rightly so, but that’s has left growth to come largely, but not exclusively, from word of mouth – at least that how it appears to me.

Fortunately times are changing, ultimately all brands will want to understand WHY consumers behave the ways they do and the marketing research future will be lead by those brands and agencies who are smart and agile enough to blend traditional market research data with persuasion science insights.

The champions that emerge will be the brand marketers and market researchers who become educated change activists, this time for the persuasion sciences – in the same way yesterday’s evangelists of the internet and mobile are winners today.
For those people, and the companies they work for, the future is bright.
Welcome to the new world of market research.
My advice? Find or appoint a persuasion science ambassador in your business now and start investigating, read up on the insights, results and recommendations that have been published so far at At worst it’s future proofing, at best you will gain significant advantages in your sector.


Robin Gurney is Director at TIPTOP INSIGHTS OÜ (

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