Jake Stauch was always somewhat of a wunderkind; in high school he earned local recognition for scoring a perfect 2400 on his SAT while fighting a mean case of bronchitis. When college came around Staunch chose to study neuroscience at Duke, and a particular experiment caught his attention. When test subjects were put through a fMRI and shown images of boxes of chocolates along with different price tags, certain neurons lit up when they were more inclined to purchase the chocolates while others lit up when they were more turned off by the image or price. While the study was interesting, the technology was very involved and not very applicable to the marketing landscape. Staunch focused his brainpower on changing that, combing through hundreds of articles and studies to determine how the science of the mind could be applied easily and effectively to mass marketing. Via Popular Science:
[Stauch] founded NeuroSpire, a Durham, North Carolina-based business that gives marketing companies everything they need to conduct their own brain scan-based marketing tests. “Somebody with no training whatsoever could be set up in minutes to run a brain imaging research study,” he says. The guesswork of advertising is turned into numbers that purport to help companies get a window into consumers’ heads: to see if They’ll buy it, or They won’t. That might help explain why ad agencies such as McKinney–which counts Samsung and Sherwin-Williams among its clients–have signed up for NeuroSpire, despite that the scientific merits of such services remain murky.
So at 22 Stauch entered the small but competitive world of neuromarketing. Although the field has its skeptics (those who insist that brainwaves in a lab don’t accurately predict consumer behavior and incentive in a storefront situation) plenty of corporate entities are willing to overlook the naysayers to take advantage of this unique chance to get a look inside the mental processes that lead to buy it or leave it decisions. But for all but the largest corporations neurmarketing is far to expensive to be a regular affair, as the cost of buying or outsourcing MRI machines is astronomical. However, all that changed with NeuroSpire’s Emotiv EEG Neuroheadset – Stauch’s invention that promises to change the way marketers read minds.
The headset comes programmed with a custom EEG test that allows marketing professionals to conduct batteries of tests while monitoring consumers’ brainwaves without massive, complex, and overly expensive machinery. The headset transmits signals picked up from the test subject’s brain waves to Stauch and his team of neuroscientists at NeuroSpire, where they analyze and translate the information into easily readable data. Depending on how much the company pays, this data can range from simple charts to full fledged neurological analyses. And even at the most expensive NeuroSpire’s EEG test only costs about $5000. This may seem like a lot, but it is truly minimal when considering the fact that a single normal EEG can run a company anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000. Stauch and NeuroSpire have made the marketing of the future a reality today.