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Can You Quantify Emotions And Use Analytics To Understand Customers Better and Sell More – Sensum Say You Can!

Brands such as the BBC, Red Bull, Unilever, Jaguar and Cisco are gaining invaluable insights about how to interpret the emotional responses of their customers and use them to improve their products and customer experiences thanks to Belfast-based start-up Sensum Insights.

The emotions-based software solutions company announced today that it has launched a next generation version of its Sensum insights neuro-marketing solution, which they say is the first self-service platform ever to offer facial-recognition, eye-tracking, and implicit testing technology – all aimed at providing brands with a holistic, “360-degree view of their audiences’ emotional responses to their content, experiences and products.”

Sensum say that although brands and agencies have been aware for some time that “appealing to a person’s emotions enables them to better sell a product, create great experiences and shape brand loyalty”, until recently it has been nigh-on impossible to decipher which messages or products will create the emotional response brands crave.

But advances in science in technology are beginning to make the picture clearer, and that could spell the end of traditional market research methods such as surveys, questionnaires and hard data.

Sensum say these methods “only provide a singular point of view”, and are set to be replaced by “new research tools tools that weave in biometric responses that allow brands to build a real-time view of the customer’s emotional journey.”

This kind of analysis has been a long time coming and has traditionally been the reserve of a lucky few members of society with exceptionally high levels of emotional intelligence, but thanks to the emergence of technology like eye-tracking and facial recognition, and the sophistication of modern algorithms and machine learning techniques that can process thousands of data points in seconds, the competitive advantage of these Machiavellian marketers is being eroded – once again, it seems that until recently, when it comes to marketing insight, humans have been doing a machine’s job.

Sensum have described themselves as the “world’s first web-based and mobile enabled self-service platform” that combines traditional data gathering with data obtained from wearable devices, for example, or biometric sensors which brands can use to “engage their audiences in deeper, more personal emotive and exciting ways.”

The platform allows brands to measure their clients’ emotional responses to media, messaging, visuals and pricing, set up global research studies in a matter of minutes, use facial recognition, eye tracking and quantitative questioning in their market research, and even add additional data streams like sweat response (GSR), motion, heart rate, neuroscience and third party technology.

The data, the company says, can be instantly visualised, compared and contrasted, through analytical graphs and representations to enable users to take immediate action rather than watching in horror as an unsuccessful campaign starts to nose-dive.

Shane Keats, Director of Marketing, Media and Entertainment at content delivery network Akamai technologies praised Sensum for a recent investigation the firm carried out using their platform, in which Sensum were able reveal “the emotional impact of low and high quality video content delivery, and the associated impact on various business models”, which helped Akamai understand how “differing video quality made consumers feel rationally and emotionally.”

Says Gawain Morrison, CEO and co-founder of Sensum, “the ability to build a truly personalised relationship with consumers is what enables brands not just to survive but to thrive. We’ve specifically developed Sensum Insights to help marketers, creative agencies and researchers be able to do this in the most efficient, cost effective and in-depth way possible…which in today’s cut-throat world is invaluable.

In The Marketing Game Everyone Is Searching For The Smallest Advantage

Morrison is right to point out how competitive the modern marketing environment has become – with the likes of Facebook discovering more about its users than any agency there has most likely ever been; preferences, likes, dislikes, political persuasion, favourite colour – all without the subject ever realising the information is being taken from them.

If you don’t know what the product is, as they say…it’s you!

To date Sensum, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has raised $1.75m of funding over 2 rounds to develop their platform and “to understand how we respond and interact with the world around us and help shape a digitally creative and trusting world with this knowledge.”

It’s a nice mission statement, and certainly more honest and morally upstanding a position than Facebook’s (and doubtless other platforms too) occasionally nefarious psychologlical experimentation with users’ newsfeeds – without their permission!

The company has also appointed advisors such as Meabh Quoirn, CEO of the Foresight Factory and Dr Gary McKeown, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast.

It would be fair to say that as a species we have still much to discover about ourselves and our behaviour, and therefore an inspirational marketer is worth their weight in gold, but companies like Sensum are helping point the the way towards new, unobtrusive methods of measurement, and by providing actionable insights, demonstrating great faith in the methods they are using.

Marketers, however, and their bosses only tend to interpret results in one way – what’s it doing to the bottom line! Maybe they will catch on one day.


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