Two of the most important aspects of digital marketing strategy development are understanding consumer behavior and how consumers will respond to your marketing communications materials. Have you ever sat in a conference room and decided which ad, brochure, landing page or website design to approve for production? If you have, how did you arrive at your decision? How did you know that the materials you were approving actually communicated the strategic marketing message you intended? Did you conduct consumer market research or did you simply go off your gut?
Every day, millions of marketers just like you are sitting in conference rooms making the same decisions….so what if I told you that up to 50% of them might be wrong?
The Gestalt Principle states that a single pattern of black and white dots (simple images) can simultaneously convey two distinct and different meanings to the viewer of those images. If you’ve ever seen an image like this, you’ve experienced the Gestalt Principle in action. Whenever I share an example of the Gestalt Principle in presentations, regardless of audience size, without fail, 50% of the audience will see one version of the image with the remaining 50% seeing the alternative interpretation. If you didn’t click the image link – go do so now and see which version of the image you see.
Why does this matter to you dear marketer? It matters because images do and will continue to play an important communication role in offline and online marketing. As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words — the problem is, most marketers don’t know what those words are.
That’s why marketers have historically fielded focus groups and other qualitative market research techniques to understand what consumers think an ad or an image on a landing page (for instance) is “communicating.” While most marketers probably don’t realize they’re testing what is essentially a more complex version of the Gestalt Principle, they do understand that just because they believe an image communicates a specific marketing message, the viewer of that image may not, and that can spell disaster for a marketing campaign.
Relaxation or Escape?
Look at this photo (without scrolling down to read the answer) and ask yourself, do the images displayed represent RELAXATION or ESCAPE?
If you answered Relaxation — you were wrong. This is a photo collage from a study we fielded 10 years ago. This collage was crafted by 30’something, married couples with children who were asked to select photos that represented an Escape.
Surprised? Don’t be — over the last 10 years, I’ve never had an audience guess correctly. And that is why Visual Palette Research is so absolutely necessary. We are not our consumer and we shouldn’t assume that we can read their minds. But we also shouldn’t limit the consumer’s research frame of reference to our own predisposed ideas.
This is where Visual Palettes and Pinterest enter the equation.
Using Pinterest For Consumer Marketing Research
Like all forms of consumer research, using Pinterest to conduct visual research has its limitations. The Pinterest user universe is not statistically representative of the US or World population (it over indexes against women), not every consumer is a Pinterest user and thus not every consumer has an equal opportunity to participate in a Pinterest Study and of course, this approach favors digitally connected consumers.
That said, Pinterest is an incredibly cost efficient platform to field directional creative research to aid content creators, ad and website development teams in strategic concepting of marketing materials, websites, banner ads, etc.
There are certainly other executional issues associated with using Pinterest as a research and research analysis platform — I speak in detail about these issues, how we dealt with them and our recommendations for overcoming them in your research during our free How To Conduct Pinterest Research Webinar I’m offering to share with you below.
But first, why do we name this consumer research process Visual Palettes? That’s an important question.
Like a painter’s palette, the resulting data set isn’t a single visual solution, aggregate or answer. Instead, the results are a visual recipe to create better marketing materials. Just as you can hand several painters the same painting palette and they will produce different paintings, this approach arms creatives with a palette of photos to be mixed and matched in different, yet equally effective ads, website designs, etc. What really sets this consumer marketing research approach apart from other marketing research processes is that the goal isn’t to restrict your creative teams but to empower them.
Additionally, because you’ve tested for the Gestalt Principle, there is no need to “test” the resulting marketing materials to understand how the consumer will decode the message because you’ve already performed this testing prior to creative development.
How To Conduct Pinterest – [Research Webinar]
Prior to today, the Visual Palette consumer research process has been a proprietary tool offered exclusively to Converse Digital’s clients. However, as I included aspects of it in my book, The Invisible Sale, and in the interest of improving the science of consumer marketing research, we’re making our marketing research available to everyone.
Today, I’m really excited to announce that we’re releasing the ENTIRE How To Conduct Pinterest Research Webinar that we give our clients to introduce them to the Visual Palette research process — all the results, all the mistakes and most importantly, step-by-step instruction to create your own Visual Palettes — and all of this information and insight is absolutely 100% FREE.
Our hope is that you will view the on-demand webinar and decide to launch your own tests of our marketing research process. Ideally, you’ll play along and share your results publicly at some point. But even if you don’t, you’re still welcome to learn how to apply this exciting and inexpensive new research process for the one time cost of ZERO.
Just ask to receive your copy today.
To receive a link to the results presentation, which explains the model development, the historical context (the original Visual Palette study was done 15 years ago) and the jaw dropping results of our experiment, simply complete the form below. You’ll receive an email with your link to stream the complete study presentation, which includes a step-by-step breakdown of the entire research process — including key notes of caution to assure your effort is a huge success.
Once you’ve viewed it, we’d love if you’d stop back by and give us your thoughts.
Watch The Webinar Today!