Episode 13 – Emotional Creatures, Occasionally Rational – Dr. Carl Marci – Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience


We have a transatlantic feel to this episode as it features a conversation with Dr. Carl Marci, the Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience who I met in the freezing city of Boston, Massachusetts, I’m pretty sure it has thawed a little by now. You’ll know how cold it was if you’ve seen my recent video that was posted, filmed just outside City Hall, where you can see the statue of one of the greatest basketball players of all time Bill Russell, now I filmed this on purpose, as what you can’t see is that this statue is surrounded by plinths depicting what Bill champions. On each was a different statement – teamwork, craftsmanship, imagination, commitment, words to inspire and motivate and this reminded me of why I started this podcast in the first place. I am passionate about what I do and the profession of Marketing, so if I can inspire one of you commit to developing your skills, dream bigger than you currently are, work harder to perfect your craft or build a culture around you that allows people to thrive then this would be more that I could ever have imagined would be possible for me to achieve with this podcast, and this is what I aim to do in the valuable time that you have allowed me access, so thank you.

We will also cover where the hell should you start in terms of preparing to tackle a CIM Assignment and we’ll take a look at a Dec2018 Level 4 Digital Marketing CIM Assignment question – 2 (a).

Back to Dr. Carl Marci (taking a deep breath here as his accolades extensive) – A BA in psychology, an MA in psychology and philosophy, before becoming a Doctor at Harvard Medical School. But that wasn’t enough as he went on to train in biometrics and the neuroscience of emotion and now is a provider of consumer based neuroscience using biometrics, and other technologies for measuring non-conscious processes related to media and marketing and how they effect consumer behavior and decision making.

– Our emotions are very complex and what we usually see is the expression of emotion, a smile or a frown, but there are actually four outcomes in response to our surrounding environment – verbal, gesture, behavioural and the final is the one we don’t think about but is vitally important – storing an emotion for later use – which in the field of Marketing and consumer response is why it is so vital to build a relationship and consider all touch points within a customer journey and the emotion that is created and stored.

– Our subconscious affects our buying behavior and there have been studies to show that there is a link to emotions and pricing, working out the pricing structure for any product and service will have a detrimental effect on the end result. This is why, in some cases reducing prices is simply a race to the bottom! Dr. Carl mentioned the Williams-Sonoma Bread Maker Price Case Study, which you can find a link to in the show notes

– Follow you passion. I hear it time and time again. Dr. Carl started by saying he ‘fell in love with the brain’. But don’t just follow it, look for the differentiator, the element that will make you stand out above the rest, your cutting edge. And remember, if it feels like work, it probably isn’t your passion (yes there will be times where it is hard, or testing, but would you be doing it even if you didn’t get paid? Yes, then this is your passion!

– In addition to this, get a mentor…or two. One that is where you would like to be to show you the way with the ‘big picture’ stuff and another, that can advise you on the tactics, actions and everyday stuff that will lead you to your goal. The CIM have a mentoring program which I don’t think is talked about enough, which can be found at https://www.cim.co.uk/more/mentoring/ and again, the link is in the show notes

And one final thing, a big thank you to Danielle Kolberg Senior Manager in Marketing at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, who help to arrange this interview and schedule in a time when Dr Carl would be available. Thank you.

Top Tip – How to Tackle a CIM Module
Where the hell do I start, that is a question I often get asked by students that haven’t tackled a CIM Assignment before. So here are a number of different ways to tackle each module. It depends on how you work best and feel comfortable learning but if you can take something from the following then you are heading in the right direction:

1 – Study Guides
Your study guide (if your accredited study centre provides you with one, which they should and if they don’t, have a word) is a great place to start as it covers all the syllabus topics that you will need to understand in more detail, in order to pass your exam / assignment. There will also be more and more resources available online both from your study centre and the CIM, so definitely check these out.

2 – The Syllabus
You can also check out the syllabus for each module which will give you an indication of what areas you are expected to cover within your answers. These are available from the CIM website and are a must if you really want to get to grips with the fundamentals of the module you are studying.

3 – Core Text Books
It is always recommended that you get hold of the text books that are in the recommended reading list for each module, but they can be quite expensive so I would suggest starting with the core text book and if you feel you need further reading material to fill in any blanks then purchase any of the others on the list at this point, but please note that the text books are not written with your assignment in mind and although I am an advocate of wider reading, try and focus on what you need to understand in terms of what is on the syllabus and the questions in your assignment. – oh, pro tip – check ebay out for any second hand books.

4 – Workshops
Workshops, if offered, are also a vital studying tool. A tutor will cover all aspects that are required to be covered per module and will allow you to ask any questions you may have regarding topics, your own assignment or elements of the syllabus you are unsure of. If they are any good at tutoring they will also discuss, in detail, your actual assignment from the key words in each question to the relevant topics that should be covered in each task and the written structure for each answer. If they don’t, then ask them to, that is what they are there for!

So to recap:
Study guide, core text books, the syllabus and workshops.

Assignment Question – L4 Digital Marketing (2103) – Dec 2018 (2a)
This question is looking for a succinct and well-researched answer. In general you will have to do your research into the key marketing communication activities used by your chosen organisation, both online and offline. Something to bear in mind though, if your organisations activities are to broad, then narrow it down and be specific in terms of the market, product or service you are discussing. The narrower you go, the better your answer will turn out to be.

The questions posed is looking for the strengths and weaknesses of these communication activities as the question is asking you to assess, not discuss , define or describe so you’re going to have to be critical here. Don’t be afraid to point out current weaknesses, if you don’t this will turn into a weakness in your answer – self-fulfilling really.

But how do you assess effectiveness, well firstly you must know the communication channels you want to assess and secondly how these integrate with each other.

Some questions to think about are – where are the gaps in this integration and where is a seamless customer journey evident? Is this through an online source driving an offline action or vice versa? …….Or perhaps it is a weakness that your organisation is not integrating these two marketing practices? And if so, what effect is this having? There is the potential that mixed messages or a conflicting call to action is prohibiting consumers reaching the end conversion goal.

Happy Marketing Everyone!

Music Featured on this Podcast:
Sleepy in the Garden
Lobo Loco www.musikbrause.de
Creative Commons License


Nielsen Neuroscience: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/solutions/capabilities/consumer-neuroscience.html

Williams-Sonoma Bread Maker Price Case Study: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Williams-Sonoma-Pricing-Tactic-Grows-Sales-for-Bread-Machine.html?soid=1102052405533&aid=JioWyC1Fesc

CIM Mentoring Program: https://www.cim.co.uk/more/mentoring/

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Technology Products to Mainstream Customers:

New York Times:

Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny:

Bill Bradley: