News

Sensum 3 minute read
February 8, 2017

Why isn’t traditional market research enough to keep brands alive anymore?


Mobile devices mean consumers’ spaces are swamped with a constant barrage of branded content vying for their attention and business. While certain tools can tell firms WHERE and WHAT their target market is searching for and getting up to online, they cannot explain WHY they are doing this.

Back in the day, traditional market research used to be the solution. Marketers relied solely on conscious data provided by their customers, employees and the general public in order to develop and improve future business strategies. Undoubtedly, methods such as surveys and focus groups will provide brands with feedback from their target market are helpful to an extent. But does conscious data explain the deepest truth behind why a customer behaves the way they do? No. To this we need to be able to access and include their nonconscious reactions.

This is where and why emotional market research comes into the equation. It helps brands and marketers finally gain a true understanding of consumers’ behaviours and emotions that they’ve always wanted to learn about but not always been able to measure. With the development of emotional response technology, firms can now gather subsconscious data and quantify emotions that consumers don’t necessarily know they are feeling!

Different pieces of non-conscious information can be gathered through different types of technology:

1) Eye tracking - measuring the eye activity of consumers allows brands to understand where they are looking, what they are ignoring and whether their pupils react to certain pieces of stimuli. Using Sensum Insights, our clients can truly understand what specific parts of their media consumers find engaging or not engaging.

2) Facial recognition - this type of technology can analyse a human’s emotion through their facial expressions. With facial recognition tech included in Sensum Insights, it can detect even the subtlest signs of emotion and determine whether a consumer is feeling joy, sadness, anger, disgust or surprise.

3) Galvanic skin response (GSR) - measuring the changes in microscopic sweat levels of a human is inevitably measuring the changes in their emotional responses. When a consumer sweats more, it tells us that they are more emotionally involved. For example, our work with the Gadget Show showed the sweat levels of participants watching a horror film in VR were much higher than those watching the film in 2D, evidently suggesting VR content is much more immersive.

4) Heart rate - it is important to measure as the more emotionally engaged consumers are, the more adrenaline they will release which will lead to faster heart beats per minute. Using MIO link sensors, our team has worked with clients all over the world to show that the likes of VR, Pokemon Go and midnight runs can get our hearts racing!

By combining this information with traditional conscious market research methods, we’re able to build a much more accurate 360 degree picture of consumers emotions in real-time. Something that’s never been possible before. The better a brand understands a consumer’s emotions and behaviour then the better they can develop strategies that will truly satisfy customers’ needs, improve B2C relationships and increase sales.


Market research will always play a key role in maintaining a firm’s long term success, but traditional methods are no longer enough. It’s only by digging deeper with emotional techniques and technology that organisations will be able to understand and engage audiences in deeper, more personal, emotive and exciting ways.