Market Gopher

Curious Possibilities

In a quick, non-campaign figurehead-related follow-up to my last post, I have recently become pretty curious about the World of Neuro…  There are blogs and articles alike popping up everywhere on “neuro-economics”, “neuro-marketing” and even “neuro-merchandising” it seems.  They cover new techniques where behavioral study at the neurological level and directed by university-level scientists is applied to economic theory, market research, branding and a host of other related topics anchored in confusing and often contradictory human decision-making habits.


With advances in understanding the brain and identifying patterns as regions light up individually or in symphony in response to stimulus, scientists are getting better and better at pinpointing the true nature of a response without the individual having to confirm what they felt, thought, etc.  Combine that knowledge with the results of a brain scan taken from someone watching, say, a commercial and all of the sudden you can map out where they paid attention, where they were put off, where they were confused and how strong an impression was left in memory.  It’s a pretty tasty dish when you consider how often people’s actions diverge from their statements and their statements diverge from coherent.


Informative Addresses: Center for the Study of Neuroeconomics (CSN) at George Mason University, The New Yorker article “Mind Games: What neuroeconomics tells us about money and the brain.”, Neuromarketing (the Neuroscience Marketing blog), Time Magazine article “Marketing To Your Mind” and New York Times articles “There’s a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex” & “Is the Ad a Success? The Brain Waves Tell All”.


Commentary Anyone?
September 11, 2008, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In my continuing effort to look at current market and “brand” trends through the lens of Sarah Palin, I’d like to invite comments here on what personal priorities influence those who side with or against her.  And I’m happy to hear from everyone—left, right, center, male, female, resident or foreign.


Regardless of my own background (not a perfect fit for any mold) my primary interest is to see what’s driving people one way or the other with Palin.  More specifically, I’m doing research to see which tactics from either campaign are proving most successful among voters from a behavioral perspective.


All I ask is a dose of respect from and for all and an honest opinion.  Thanks!

Post Scriptum
September 10, 2008, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Curious that John McCain wasn’t more offended at being called a stinky old fish.  Who else could Obama have been talking about if Palin was the pig?  It would have been a great way to rally the AARP set.

Lipstick on Eggshells

Continuing Palin chatter has produced a new dichotomy for voters to decide on this morning.  With the comment by Obama about “lipstick on a pig” and wrapping up “an old fish in a piece of paper”—contextually confirmed as referring generally to McCain/Palin politics—now everyone is in a whole new kind of tizzy about Palin’s image.  Is she the hardboiled state-level politician who can hold her own or is she a delicate conservative flower who needs protection from all the sexist liberals?


Never mind the democratic record on progress for women or the fact that McCain himself used the same phrase to refer to one of Hillary Clinton’s policy plans (the same Hillary who just ran against Obama for the top spot on the democratic ticket), it still seems the republicans have cast Palin as some sort of untouchable totem.  She can let loose whatever she comes up with but anything that could possibly be construed as a personal slight from the left (al la the Hillary bashing engaged in by legions of conservatives) is treated like blasphemy.


It’s too bad we can’t collectively mind read to see what kind of internal tennis match is taking place as independent voters absorb all this stuff.  After all, people never give straight answers about why they like someone—they either do or don’t and can always justify themselves after they’ve made up their minds.

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome.

Sarah Palin and market research.  Her dirt has already been dug up, chewed over and thrown the Straight Talk Express in a slightly different direction than McCain’s camp might have expected.


So rather than toss in my two cents’ worth on who Palin is or what her Vice Presidential candidacy means, I’d like to take a closer look at that mountain of pennies she accumulating.


When it comes to the bread and butter of my shiny, new blog, I couldn’t have asked for a better opening topic.  Like Palin or not, the buzz she’s garnered has certainly eaten into the dinner-table and press chatter market share that Obama’s team has kept pretty much locked down over the past few months.  Everyone from Jon Stewart and Arianna Huffington’s crew to Bill O’Reilly and Pat Buchanan have the saucy, up-do sporting Alaskan plastered all over their sites—we’ll have to see how long it takes before she hits Oprah’s homepage.


The world which I inhabit is absolutely obsessed with having the freshest approach to what makes everyone tick… consumers, voters, whoever.  It’s kind of like baked goods:  If the stuff you’re selling wasn’t cooked up this morning with the apples your vender picked yesterday, it’s stale.  And luckily for us market gophers, there’re no shortage of fresh apples.


Advertisers will run surveys and focus groups on chewing gum, pollsters want to know whether you’d prefer your presidential candidates to eat corn flakes or oatmeal for breakfast, and now even academics with multi-comma honorifics are chiming in with behavioral studies on The Consumer (Voter) Mind.  So the question here is: What do all of Sarah Palin’s pennies say about voter preferences?


We already know that political contests in the U.S. are characteristically devoid of substantive discussion.  That’s just the way people seem to prefer it.  They want to see themselves in their candidate and most just don’t self-project onto policy wonks who like citing line items from congressional bills.  What’s left to be seen then is which of Palin’s characteristics strike a chord with the demographics she was chosen to sway.  Is she the bad-ass, gun-toting mama of the northern wilderness or is she the random chick that McCain picked only after being brown-beaten out of his top choices?  Or perhaps she’s the woman with family challenges like yours and mine… or the woman with too many distractions at home.


I’ll be on the look out for interesting posts and articles on this but, for now, I hope some of you out there will grace my page with a comment or two.


Muchos thank yous for visiting!