Counselor Commentary: Leap Into The Future

What if you could know for sure what potential customers were thinking? Imagine how that would change what products you decide to pitch, how you spent your marketing dollars and what technology you invested in. It sounds like a fantasy, doesn’t it? But this kind of groundbreaking information is actually available today, in large part due to a start-up firm called Brainsights.

The Canadian company – through a small headset that tracks brain activity – can measure how people respond to a stimulus, like a presentation, an ad, or even a promotional product. “Specific mental states have been associated with brainwaves,” Kevin Keane, the co-founder of Brainsights, told The Globe And Mail. “The specific mental states that we track are attention, personal connection, and encoding to memory. You can see how that might be of interest to marketers.”

As an example, at the recent digital marketing conference Dx3, Brainsights used its technology to look at how people reacted to TV ads. Through a device, which resembles a gaming headset, Brainsights can tell unbiasedly what viewers really think about a commercial. Was the punchline effective? Is the product memorable? Are the visuals, music and messaging interesting or dull? Questions like these – and many others – can be asked and answered, as Brainsights collects and analyzes real-time data. This type of neuro-marketing technology has advanced to the point where brands like Microsoft and Coors are dabbling in it as they consider their brand strategies.

In time, focus groups may never be the same. Instead of having people laboriously fill out questionnaires or surveys, participants can feel a T-shirt, write with a pen, or sip from a mug and just react. The data can give almost instant insight into what they think about colors, fabrics, design, functionality – you name it.

Sure, it takes some out-of-the-box thinking to buy into this technology. It’s different, it’s leading-edge, and it’s not something everybody else is doing. But that should be the attraction for your company. In fact, there are all sorts of new-age options out there right now that you could use to further your brand and offerings. Drones can be used as promotional vehicles at live events; holograms can welcome visitors to your trade show booth; 3D printers can quickly produce small, custom orders; and wearables tech can be used to help clients launch wellness programs. If these concepts sound foreign to you, or just too extreme for our industry, be warned the tide is turning. The days of just selling products are nearly over. There’s more to be done.

If you’re ready to embrace some new ideas, emerging tech will be a focus of the upcoming ASI Power Summit in Dana Point, CA. All of the aforementioned technology will be on display, giving you an up close look at what your future could well be.