Barbara on May 30th, 2007

Market researchers are turning to neuromarketing — aka brain scans — to understand secret reactions to advertising, media and product packaging. The goal is discovering what triggers your brain’s pleasure center, spurring that purchase instinct. Dr. Joshua Freedman, a neuropsychiatrist at FKF Applied Research and professor at UCLA, has used brain-scanning technology to test the effectiveness of political campaigns and Super Bowl ads over the last two years. Is he pioneering a new era in market research?

The brain scan technology is a form of MRI, called functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI. According to the company’s website:

“The fMRI allows us to view what is going on inside the human brain while subjects watch, listen, talk or think. Using the data generated from the fMRI, our analytical methods help uncover previously hidden or suppressed thoughts and emotions. The insights gained into human decision making are both startling and actionable.”

“Looking beyond the spoken word provides immense and actionable insights into a brand, a competitive framework, advertising and visual images and cues. ”

Dr. Freedman says top ad agencies and Fortune 100 Companies are already embracing brain scanning technology as part of their market research. He will discuss how fMRI displays the brain’s reaction to ads, brands, and packaged goods, and accurately predicts what consumers will buy in the store, during PROOF. PROOF is an annual event for the packaging industry put on by the Institute for International Research. Find more at

During a segment on ABC last month, Dr. Freedman explained that, as a rule of thumb, focus groups and surveys are inaccurate because people say almost the opposite of how they’re responding. It is not a case of misrepresentation — people tend to like ads that don’t activate their brains at all. Neuromarketing shows actual brain activity and thus reveals which ads might trigger a mission to buy.

Find more about fMRI, Superbowl and election advertising studies, ethics, and more at the FKF website link below. Find the ABC Catalyst story, “Why We Buy — the science of shopping” [here].

If the ABC report is accurate — that 50% of all ads incite no brain activity whatsoever — it’s likely that brain scan optimization will become a lucrative segment of the market research and consulting industry as fast as you can fry an egg.

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Barbara on May 11th, 2007

The May 2007 meeting of the Institute of Industry Analyst Relations (IIAR) Forum will feature Forrester Research. Guest speakers are David Metcalfe, a senior vice president at Forrester, and senior analyst Kevin Lucas. The meeting is open to current IIAR Forum members and a limited number of first-time guests. Seating is limited; RSVP to the IIAR secretary.

The meeting will start at 4:30 p.m. on May 17th, at BT’s offices.

The IIAR has been established to raise awareness of analyst relations and the value of industry analysts, promote best practice amongst analyst relations professionals, enhance communication between analyst firms and vendors, and provide opportunities for AR practitioners to network with their industry peers. Membership is open to everyone in the analyst relations community.

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Lots of very smart people like to point out what’s wrong with the industry analyst business. Yet, few engage in a constructive conversation about what it’s going to take to revitalize the industry analyst business — so that it plays a more valuable link in the IT procurement chain going forward. Chanting lies-damn-lies won’t do the trick. To foster a more useful and informed public debate, I’m supporting a new speaker series at the Computer History Museum. Here’s some insight into my thinking, and my personal thank you to some inspiring individuals and organizations also helping to promote this event, albeit each for their own reasons.

To recap the CHM event: The Computer History Museum is presenting Gideon Gartner, in conversation with Neill Brownstein, on May 15th. It’s free; a $10 donation at the door is suggested (if not a CHM member). Find more information and register at the CHM website.

Recently, I surprised James Governor at RedMonk by pointing out that I see many parallels between RedMonk today and Gartner’s early days. If you know him, you can guess just how pleased he was. But here’s my point: as a company, Gartner was a innovator and a disruptor in the industry analyst marketplace in the early 1980s. It changed the rules about information and advisory delivery, sales models, business culture, and more. Gartner was not the only innovative company at the time, nor was it the last. However, many its innovations became standard practices. Most of the analyst companies we see today are interpretations of this earlier period of innovation — despite the fact that as early as 1995, Gideon Gartner himself characterized the 1980s business model as outdated and out of sync with the market.

That, in a nutshell, is why this Computer History Museum speaker series is worthwhile. It provides an opportunity to hear personal insights and stories about a successful cycle of innovation — including the challenges, wins, frustrations. It’s an opportunity to understand the human story behind what it took to disrupt and innovate. What could have been done differently? What will it take to reinvent the analyst business again, today or in the future?

Starting up a new cycle of innovation is never easy in any industry. The analyst business is no exception. Independent analyst businesses — and analyst-like business divisions — are springing up all over the world. Most present very little change in the old business mission, model, culture or mechanisms. It seems apparent that any significant impetus for change must created intentionally.

Several individuals and organizations are engaging in meaningful discussion about new dynamics in high tech market influence. I want to thank those who have stepped up to help promote the CHM event — most notably, the Society for New Communications Research and Hewlett-Packard’s Carter Lusher — and also:

I hope to see you at the Museum on May 15th.

Reprinted from Tekrati

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Northern Light today introduced MI Analyst(TM), an automated “meaning extraction” application designed specifically for market intelligence and market research. By combining free-text searching with advanced text analytics, MI Analyst speeds and improves a researcher’s ability to analyze reports from internal and external sources, identifying the strategy issues and suggesting the business implications of the analyzed content.

MI Analyst adds value by extracting meaning from search results, mining market research content for relevant competitive intelligence and market trends. For example, MI Analyst highlights threats and opportunities regarding products, market share, pricing, new technologies, marketing partnerships, and corporate strategy.

MI Analyst can read all the market intelligence reports and articles a company creates or licenses from third-party sources. The application then can tell the researcher what is in the documents, suggest what business issues they address, and direct the researcher to the documents that are most interesting based on their meaning rather than on their statistically-derived search relevance.

In addition, MI Analyst can discern the tone of content - for example, assessing which market research reports and research analysts reflect a positive sentiment and which ones demonstrate a negative sentiment about a company and its competitors. Such sentiment scoring can be particularly useful in an analyst relations setting where marketing personnel need to monitor and influence analyst coverage. Using entity extraction, MI Analyst also calls out business-critical facets of searched content, including companies, venture funded companies, technologies, markets, job titles, business issues, government agencies, identified phrases, and market research vendors.

“At Northern Light, we are defining the future for the automated analysis and discovery of business meaning from large stores of market intelligence content,” C. David Seuss, Northern Light’s CEO, said. “Search engines must evolve to have in-depth understanding of the searched material, what we call meaning extraction.

“MI Analyst is available immediately from Northern Light as an added-value option for SinglePoint(TM) enterprise market research portals. SinglePoint is the only turnkey enterprise search application that provides centralized search, analysis, and access for diverse sources of internal, external, and licensed market intelligence. Offered in a secure, hosted, user self-service portal environment, SinglePoint is customized to the precise market research and competitive intelligence purposes of each of Northern Light’s enterprise clients. Unlimited enterprise-wide access to MI Analyst starts at $48,000 annually. There is also a one-time set-up fee starting at $36,000 for customization of the solution to a client’s requirements.

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