Blog: David Drain 
David Drain (bio)
Executive Director
Digital Screenmedia Association
Tuesday, 02 October 2007

At the In-Store Marketing Expo in Chicago last week, I attended a session called “Measuring and Continuously Improving Digital Sign Network ROI.” The presenters were Brian Brooks and Kelly Canavan of 3M.

Brooks, with PhDs in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, has taken his knowledge of how the brain works and applied it to measuring the effectiveness of digital signage. To make his case, Brooks laid the groundwork by reporting on experiments that were done to measure what is going on at the brain level as it relates to branding.
 
In a blind taste test, consumers were asked to describe the Coke or Pepsi they were given versus a “generic” brand. What they discovered is that the taste testers thought that the Coke or Pepsi tasted better than the generic brand even though in fact the “generic” was really Coke or Pepsi. “Branding doesn’t just change our emotional experience, but literally our physical reaction,” he said.
 
Brooks and 3M claim to have developed a method, using “vision science technologies,” to engineer a physical environment to achieve the desired results. In other words, 3M says they can take what they’ve learned in the lab – with humans wearing special goggles detecting eye movement – and apply it to real environments without humans and goggles.
 
As an example, Brooks showed a picture of a typical big box store and with numbers, showed the first four places the eyes would look. In this case, to a static sign on a table, then on to other static signage. The next picture showed the same scene, only this time a digital sign was added. Since the digital sign had a brown color on the page, the eye traveled to other places first and the digital sign last. But once the color on the digital sign was changed to yellow, the eye went to the sign first.
 
As Brooks would explain the science, Canavan would interject or interpret how it was relevant to the business world. When we walk into a store, “it’s not that we’re trying to decide what to look at, we’re trying to decide what to ignore,” explained Canavan.
 
Canavan went on to present case studies of hotel and foodservice environments which benefited from the implementation of digital signage. In the first pilot, a hotel was looking to increase sales at its restaurants. Sales increased 15-35% per day when digital signage content was used to promote the restaurants.
 
In the second pilot, the objective was to drive foot traffic to a specific station in a corporate cafeteria. When that station and a particular product were featured on digital signs, 27.8% more consumers went to the desired station and sales of the featured product increased five times.
 
With these vision science principles and tools, 3M asserts you can determine the best sign location and creative content for those screens. By conducting experiments in the field and analyzing the data, Canavan contends, you can determine the cause-and-effect relationships and make methodical adjustments for improvement.
 
We all know there’s an art to effective marketing, but now there’s a little more science to it.
Posted by: David Drain AT 01:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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