Big Ideas from the 1st Neuromarketing World Forum

Last week, the newly formed Neuromarketing Science and Business Association held the 1st ever Neuromarketing World Forum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The conference was a success and a great start to the organization. We had over 100 attendees from 29 countries (wow!) and we’re very proud of where we’ve come so far and are excited to see the organization continue to grow. I came back with more knowledge than I could handle and a total of 23 pages of notes to go through. I’ll continue to post other  articles on the conference as I make my way through my thoughts.

As the field of Neuromarketing grows and takes shape, I see a few important trends building. The first, and perhaps most important, is the coming together of many people and companies for the good of the industry. Groups who may be in strong competition most of the time realize that we need to have some common ideals for our industry to continue to grow in the right way. Some of the most often mentioned issues, both in speaker presentations and in the less formal social events, were ideas on what will help our clients and the neuromarketing industry in general. Standards for ethics, research rigor, participant safety, and thoughts on how those questions affect the future of the industry were frequent themes in conversations. It was also said a few times that while Neuromarketing can be very beneficial for the consumer and the producers, we cannot overstate the promises of using the research or exaggerate the claims made to clients and potential clients of what we can do.

Overall, the conference was a great time and a fantastic personal experience. I very much enjoyed helping with the conference, as well as meeting so many great speakers, Local Chairs, and talking with delegates from such varied places and viewpoints. I’m looking forward to the next Neuromarketing World Forum in March 2013!

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Less Than a Week Before the Neuromarketing World Forum!

With less than a week before I leave for Amsterdam, I wanted to update everyone on what the Neuromarketing World Forum is and what I’ve been doing for it.

The Forum is presented by the newly formed Neuromarketing Science and Business Association (NMSBA), and is the first industry-wide event they’ve done. We’ll have over 80 attendees representing 23 countries (!) in a 2-day conference on Consumer Insights and the Global Neuromarketing Industry. Some of the biggest players, most respected names, and earliest authors in Neuromarketing will be speaking, and it is sure to be a strong program.

I first learned about the Neuromarketing World Forum a couple months ago from a Google search. I first thought, “that’d be awesome to go, but the conference fees are a bit much.” Although I did save money before leaving my former career and I still had some residual checks still coming in, the registration alone would’ve been over $1,000, not including flights or hotels. After thinking it over, I realized that I was looking at the conference from a problem-based standpoint, and that I couldn’t continue with that type of attitude. A positive attitude always helps, so I started trying to figure out how I could get to this conference. I got in touch over Skype with Carla Nagel (Director of NMSBA) a couple weeks later and laid it all out. I told her that I’m looking for a job in Neuromarketing, went through a bit about my experience and how I’ve been networking, and said that I was willing to do anything to attend the conference. I reached out to every one of my Neuromarketing contacts to see if they would be able to make it, and I also kept in touch with Carla over the next few weeks. Since NMSBA is still a relatively small organization, and since this is the first conference of it’s kind, she (thankfully!) kept coming up with ways I could help. I don’t expect anything in life to come to me without work, and if it came down to scrubbing the convention center floors to get in – I would totally do it.

Thankfully, scrubbing the floors wasn’t the help she needed. Having me reach out to potential attendees and sponsors was the first thing she thought I could help with, and I was happy to do that. She then mentioned that she needed someone to help support the speakers and their presentations during the Forum. This requires me to be in contact with each of the presenters before and during the conference, and to troubleshoot and fix any technical issues that may come up with PowerPoint slides, audio, etc. When she mentioned this opportunity, she said, “this would require you to meet with all of the speakers before their presentations…” – fantastic! I am very excited to hear each of the talks, and this Forum will be a great opportunity to network in the Neuromarketing industry. I would also rather have responsibilities during the conference instead of just attending. If some of these people may be looking at me as a potential hire, I’d rather they see me doing actual work instead of just listening.

So far, working with NMSBA and the Neuromarketing World Forum has been an incredible learning opportunity. I’ve had the chance to talk with many of the speakers and learn about where their presentations are coming from. I’ve also heard about some of the challenges we’ve overcome both with the Forum and issues in the industry in general. This has been my first real exposure to doing business internationally, and it’s really exciting.

I’m also looking forward to getting back to Europe –  I’ll travel (especially internationally) with any reasonable opportunity to do so, and this seemed like the perfect chance! Many of my friends (knowing my travel bug) told me that I needed to get abroad before I found my career, because it would be harder to plan travel around a job. I could never disagree with them, but until learning about the conference I didn’t feel right about any of the trips I could’ve taken. It is important to always keep learning and stretch your comfort level, especially while on the job hunt. Traveling has always done that for me, and  the opportunity to combine travel with the chance to learn from tremendously smart people at this Forum is a perfect fit.

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5 Simple ways to use Neuromarketing in social media

Social media, as well as Neuromarketing, are here to stay and growing quickly. Businesses have realized the importance of their digital brand and the value of social media in getting the word out. Many consumers now expect you to be easily accessible on their favorite sites, and you may be left out if you’re not on top of it. Here are 5 of the top social media sites – and how to use neuromarketing to leverage your online presence

5) Blogs. Tell your story, because our brains love stories. Provide real value in your posts and your prospects will reward you. If you have material that is applicable elsewhere, links to your site will help your SEO as well.

4) LinkedIn. Employees have been using it for years, and more companies now realize its importance. It is considered one of the most credible social media sites, and a chance to show customers how they’re connected to your business. Make sure your employees know how important your brand is on their profile as well.

3) Facebook. People spend a ton of time here, and the more comfortable it is for them to find your page, the more exposure you get. This medium also provides the chance for social proof and community building– your current customers may not otherwise be outspoken advocates, but if they like your page their friends are more likely to engage.

2) Twitter. In all of human history, ideas have never spread so quickly. Exposure to the market can be vast, and this is also an opportunity to provide value and link to your material. Twitter can be a great chance to go viral, which can have a tremendous impact on your business. Because this site quickly builds communities around ideas, it will help you create and reach your niche market. Facts are often better understood in smaller chunks, too.

1) YouTube. One you have someone’s attention, the power of emotional engagement is tremendous. Video is great because the brain is biologically tuned to pay attention to visual stimuli and movement. We’re also wired to connect with our fellow humans, so show faces and emotions. Give your customers an easy chance to visualize themselves using your product and they’re more likely to remember your message when they have the chance to buy.

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Guest blog on!

Hey everyone! Please take a minute to check out my guest blog post on Roger Dooley’s neuromarketing website. I’d love to hear your feedback!

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How the job hunt is actually going

Beloved blog readers and job seekers! I seem to have missed my point a little bit. As I’ve posted here, I’ve realized that I haven’t given my readers much of an idea of how things have actually been going. I’m a logical person so I like to see how the big picture works before explaining things, but that’s not really the point of this blog. I want to tell people about it as I’m going through the experience, not just how it worked out after the fact. I’m approaching my job search differently than many – I’m networking and reading as much as I can, and haven’t seriously applied to any jobs online. (In person, yes – just not through online job postings, because over 80% of jobs aren’t posted online!)

After about 2.5 months of working with “6 Steps to Savvy,” here are the highlights of where I stand with my job hunt situation:

I’ve been referred to a number of jobs around Denver that I’m not interested in, so I’ve respectfully declined those upon hearing of them. I did get referred to a psychology based sales coaching firm inDenverand I talked with them for about a month. I met with them a few times, and eventually their President had me go through a few personality tests which apparently went well. I think they do very well and there are great people involved, but honestly I’m looking for something a little bit more neuroscience related than being in a sales role again. I respectfully rescinded my application there and told them I’d be happy to refer others to the opening they have for a new associate. Since I was introduced to the firm through a referral, sending my resume was basically a formality after meeting with them a few times. That seems to be a recurring theme.

There is another person I met around Denver (through Twitter, actually) who is helping a South American neuromarketing company expand operations to the US. She and I met for a couple hours in Boulder, CO, and she mentioned that they might want me to help out starting US operations in early 2012. It’s a young company, but both her ideas and that situation are intriguing for me.

One of the more important things I’ve done (other than following the “6 Steps” plan) was to go to Pubcon, a search engine optimization/social media conference in Las Vegas. A person fairly influential in the neuromarketing industry was set to do a few presentations there, so I decided to go and meet him. I booked the trip without actually talking to him first, and without knowing anyone that would be there. After a few attempts to contact him, we were able to set up a meeting over lunch at this conference. When we met, he suggested that I do a guest blog spot on his website and also referred me to the co-founder of one of the largest neuromarketing company in existence. However, my purpose of the meeting was truly to get his perspective on the industry, which was very helpful. One of the things that he mentioned was to not necessarily disqualify a company based on the specific technology they use, and to look more comprehensively about how they’re doing their consulting.

I also did my best to network all over the conference in Vegas. I ended up meeting (at least) 2 people that have been important to my job search. The first I met at a networking event the first night of the conference – I went up and introduced myself (I’m at a networking event, what else am I going to do?) and after a few minutes of conversation and communicating via email we decided to have coffee the next morning. He is actually this company’s director of operations, and we talked for about three hours over coffee. He then referred me to talk to some of the rest of their executive team, and his company is flying me out to their headquarters in Milwaukee and putting me up for a couple nights next week to take a look at their HQ. It sounds like a great business and has a way to work in the neuromarketing that I’m looking for. Again, the resume was almost an afterthought – after the flights were booked and the hotel chosen (they’re gracious enough to sponsor both) they asked for a resume just so they can give their other execs a heads up before I get a chance to meet them.

Another valuable connection came from a vendor at the expo hall at Pubcon. Again, I went up to him and introduced myself (probably introduction #100 or so that week) and we talked briefly. He mentioned that he has a neuromarketing connection in the UK that he’d be happy to refer me to. He also said that he was having a get-together at his hotel that evening, so a friend of mine and I stopped by the MGM to say hi that night. (Not all business connections have to be done in the “formal” sense) We all had a great time, and we were able to communicate after the conference. He introduced me via email to his friend, who is the founder of a neuromarketing company outside of London. This individual and I are planning on chatting via Skype next week. (I’ve always loved the UK and I have some family doing work over there these days)

All in all, I’d say things are going very well on the job hunt. I’ve turned down more jobs than I’ve applied for, and I’m talking with companies on 4 continents. I will only work with an opportunity that I’m extremely interested in. A challenge I have that I didn’t anticipate is that many companies that work with this sort of research tend to keep it fairly quiet, due to some public perception and fear of neuromarketing. I personally don’t believe that the fear is justified, but I can see why these companies would keep things on the down low. (Just makes it a little tougher to find things online)

If I don’t run across what I’m looking for within the next couple months, I’d rather bartend (or do anything short term) than to accept a job I don’t want just because it pays. I don’t consider myself “above” or too good for any particular job; I just have an idea of what I’d love to do. If I end up having to hold out a little while to find my dream opportunity, I’d honestly rather dig ditches to make money than to work with a company I’m not interested in. However, bartending has been one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had so I’d probably look there first. All in all, I’m not too worried about it.

Takeaways for job hunters:

1) Read and follow “6 Steps to Savvy”

2) Figure out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do

3) Build your brand and don’t rely on your resume

4) Network, network, network!

5) Follow up with referrals quickly

6) Stay positive! Have fun!

(p.s. – I keep names of individuals and companies here quiet because some of them want to keep things quiet on their end, so I won’t post any identifying information unless they have specifically granted permission)

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The Advantage of Drilling Down

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to help you and refer you in your job search. It’s human nature to help out our community because it helps our species survive. Problem is, most of the time people don’t know how best they can help, so they’d rather do nothing than to lead you in the wrong direction. If you don’t know what you want your connections don’t know what you want, either.

“So, what do you want to do?” If you’re looking for a job, you should hear this question just about every day. I believe that most people who ask this question want to help. If you were looking for water, what would you rather do: drill 100, one foot holes, or drill one, 100 foot hole? Many job seekers (and businesses) fail to achieve their goals because they cast too wide of a net and don’t specify their target demographic enough. This seems counterintuitive – traditional logic may say that if you want something (a job, a customer, etc) be as broad as possible to attract all possible matches. However, that doesn’t fit with how people actually think and make decisions. (You may have a few “holes” you’re digging but you get the point)

I’m looking to go into a fairly specific job market. Psychology/Neuroscience based consulting, somehow answering the question, “how can we do better business by understanding how the brain works?” is not a common company out there. (yet) There are around 15 neuromarketing companies in the world ( and some other psychology based consulting/coaching firms I’m looking at. The crazy thing is, the more specifically I can describe my purpose the easier it is to get referrals. In the last 4 days, I’ve heard back and scheduled meetings from the owners of 3 companies as I have further narrowed down my focus.

The majority of people you run across in your job search will wish you the best of luck but probably won’t have any referrals to throw your way. However, if they do know someone in your chosen field, their memory recall will be easier and they’re more likely to give you someone to talk to.

Lastly – while it is great to have a solid idea of what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to interview for positions that may be a little outside of your target, especially if it’s a company you’re interested in. In the last two months, 2 good friends of mine have found solid, well paying, enjoyable careers that came from interviews for lower level positions. One friend, an engineer, interviewed for a installer position at a company he was interested in (basically a construction gig) and landed a Engineering Project Manager position supervising 4 installers. Another friend knew that he wanted to be in a sales-related customer service type of position, and did well enough in his interview to be sent up to the brand new digital marketing division of this company. For both of these friends, the pay for the jobs they landed is about twice as much as the jobs they originally applied and interviewed for. Remember that since many companies don’t immediately post their jobs online, you may uncover some hidden gems by accepting interviews slightly outside of your focus and being aware of opportunities for upward mobility. You probably need the interview practice anyway!

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My Bucket List

Figuring out my bucket list was tougher than I expected! The 2nd step in Christina Lohman’s book 6 Steps to Savvy is to come up with your own bucket list. It’s very important, but easier said than done! Right off the bat, I could only think of 19 things. It took some serious brainstorming (and letting my dreams get bigger) to get comfortable with the 50 goals my list, and I also added rough dates for when I’d like to accomplish these by. I can’t say that this list will happen exactly the way its written or that things won’t change. (One of my goals was to meet Steve Jobs. RIP Steve) I know I need to be flexible in life and to continuously reevaluate my progress and goals. I would also love to have many of these happen earlier than I mention here, but the first step is to define what you’re aiming for in life.

The most important thing is to have defined, written, and actionable goals that excite you and ignite your passions. When you do this, your subconscious mind (the 90-98% of your brain processing that you are usually unaware of) will align with your goals and that’s why this activity is so imperative to accomplishing them.

always Go to as many of my family and good friends weddings as possible
2011  Meet Roger Dooley (
2012 Sign on with a neurmarketing/neuroconsulting or psychology based consulting firm
2013 Be a part of a billion dollar non-profit
2013 Visit Max Jaeger in China (M. Jaeger Trading Company)
2013 Go couchsurfing again
2013 Visit the Pacific Northwest
2015 Meet Timothy Ferris
2015 Meet Jay Z
2015 Meet Mark Zuckerberg
2015 Meet Seth Godin
2015 Get paid to give a speech
2015 Be in a non-violent flash mob
2015 Take my parents on a trip overseas
2015 Go back to South Africa
2015 Vacation in Amsterdam
2015 Throw networking events in Denver
2015 Be a neuroconsultant
2015 Get a skydiving license
2015 Meet Warren Buffet
2020 Give a speech to 10,000+ people
2020 Get married
2020 Own a house
2020 Go to Dubai
2020 Get a dog
2020 Write and publish a book
2020 Go to Somalia
2020 Go back to Israel
2025 Meet Peter Thiel
2025 Start a management consulting/private equity firm
2025 Have access to a private jet
2025 Have at least 1 kid
2025 Speak at a Southwestern Sales School
2025 Go to North Korea
2025 Own an investment property
2025 Own a ski house
2025 Fund a scholarship
2025 Win a Toastmasters national competition
2025 Get a pilot’s license
2030 Meet a current president
2030 Meet Richard Branson
2030 Meet Angela Merkel
2030 Buy a company
2030 Own property internationally
2030 Run a charity that promotes mental health
2035 Meet the leader of a communist country
2043 Have my kid(s) start a business before graduating high school
2045 Own a business on 6 continents
2050 Go on Semester at Sea again
2065 Beat my age on the golf course
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