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  • Posted by Andrew Stokes
  • September 15, 2008
  • Articles

The Science of Observation

The Science of Observation

Published in PBIRG Perspective, Fall 2008 By Andrew Stokes, Director

All forms of marketing communications, from advertisements to detail aids, packaging to product websites, seek to meet the same fundamental objectives: Develop a compelling message… With high impact and standout That offers immediate brand recognition When testing whether materials meet these criteria, market researchers often use questionnaires as the “tried and tested“ method of finding out how the target audience is likely to respond. The only drawback of this method is that it can be subjective, since it relies on respondents saying what they think of the media, rather than letting their behaviour demonstrate how they really feel about it. This means that if respondents don’t answer honestly for any reason, or simply aren’t able to explain why they favour one thing over another, the results of pre-testing can be misleading and even inaccurate. Consequently, researchers have sought to find more objective methods of evaluation. The pharmaceutical industry was one of the first to try an innovative method called eye-tracking, which has its origins in the scientific community. Eye-tracking, which involves tracking movements of the eye as it looks at an object, was introduced as early as the 1800s in an attempt to understand, quite simply, the science of how…

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