We don’t actually make decisions. At least not the way we say we do.
That’s what marketers at Kimberly-Clark have found anyway. By researching people’s eye movements, they were able to detect what customers actually look at longest before buying, despite what consumers self-identify as most important in buying a product.
“This allows us to find the most effective way to get their attention,” June DeValk, Senior Director of Global Marketing Research at Kimberly-Clark, told The Daily Caller in an interview.
“It gives us quantitative information to cement our marketing decisions, especially if it’s a new product,” she said.
The odd part of shopping, as reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal, is that people don’t often recognize what really influences their decision to buy a product.
Steve Posavac, professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, told the WSJ that “there’s often a big disconnect between what people want to do and what they say they want to do.”
Julie Sedivy, professor of psychology and author of “Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You” told TheDC in an interview that “we grossly underestimate the extent we make decisions unconsciously.”
But marketer’s don’t. DeValk told TheDC that Kimberly-Clark not only has been developing eye-tracking technology since 2004, they have an entire virtual reality store to map out everything from shopping cart patterns to shelves.
DeValk said that no one single tool provides a perfect picture, but the “mix” of everything from eye tracking to ethnographic questions allows researchers to “get insights into the consumer.”
“This type of technology is basically inevitable, given the way our cognition works and that marketers and advertisers have a vested interest in our decisions,” Sedivy said. She believes the such advances give companies better targeting for what “they’ve already been doing for decades.”
DeValk said the technology adds a quantitative component to what experienced advertisers have known intuitively.
She concludes, “These ads aren’t more intrusive in your life, they’re just more efficient.”