BIONEWS   August 24, 2021

Design the Perfect Package with Biometric Eye Tracking

Sure, Big Companies employ old-school focus groups to help them understand what consumers gravitate to in package design. How many folks passed around the Tide Pods container in a conference room while people in white lab coats took notes?

But we're living in the Age of Technology! We use intel from cameras tracking eye movements as test subjects stare at computer screens to design websites. And emotion-tracking technology can capture every detail of a consumer's experience with a package. We measure heartbeats, watch brain activity, and analyze facial expressions. And let's be honest, good packaging elicits an emotional response. I've bought way too many products based on the packaging alone to convince myself otherwise.

But wait a minute. Do we need all that tech? Can't we simply deploy surveys, questionnaires, and interviews to measure how people think and feel about things?

Sure, we can. And do. But there's a wider margin for error when humans are involved. The trouble with anecdotal responses is that participants may not be as honest as you'd like them to be. Not that they would purposefully lie, but any sociologist worth their salt will tell you there's a whole host of peccadillos at play when dealing with humans. They might want only to say positive things (or negative if they're "that guy.")

But with biometric research, it's all science.

Eye-tracking glasses make it possible to see where a consumer's eyes travel when deciding to purchase one item over another. You can measure how long they looked at a particular detail or how long it took them to read a line of copy (or if they did, indeed, read that line of copy.) All of which help pinpoint which elements of a package design are working and which aren't.

A recent study at Clemson University used facial analysis software to study the effect of label colors on the taste of kombucha tea. The participants sampled the kombucha placed in front of bottles bearing different colored labels. While the survey data generally reported positive flavor experiences, facial analysis software revealed that some colors elicited more negative experiences after tasting.

Perfect packages with biometrics

Turn Healthcare Observances into Marketing Events

Are you looking for ways to build relevance into your practice marketing? Look no further than healthcare observances. Every part of the body has at least one. And the eyes have dozens, from UV Safety Month (July) to AMD Month in (February), and Diabetic Awareness Month (November). In addition, you'll find holidays connected to specific conditions, like glaucoma or cataracts.

Now what? Using a principle called borrowed interest, to boost awareness and gain new patients by associating your practice with something larger that's in the use, say healthcare observances. Every month is an opportunity. In October, for example, you can observe Halloween Safety Month with a minimal budget. Print professionally designed flyers to post around the office. Develop a list of safety suggestions and email it to your patients and share it on social media. And don't forget your local TV news stations and newspapers. You can usually find one that targets communities where your patients live.

These stories are mini-Evergreens, stories that retain their freshness for an entire month. The media desperately needs these for slow news day. So set yourself up to be an expert on the observance du jour. Call a local editor and make your pitch.

Did you know that October is Halloween Safety Month? It's the perfect time to warn your community about the dangers of decorative lenses – or cornea tattoos. Any editor with a pulse should jump at that one!

Don't be shy about contacting the media. They need you and your story ideas to cover topics important to their audience, like Halloween Safety.

Tying into an event, like a screening, also makes your event more telegenic for photographers and videographers.

Have fun with your healthcare observances and choose a few you can make your own.

See both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Institues of Health websites for their comprehensive calendars.

Healthcare observances

Maximize Web Conversions with Personas

Have you always wanted to become a fiction writer?

Now is your chance by writing marketing personas. Personas are fictional characters you invent representing a portion of your audience.

Demographics are stellar for numerically describing a customer. Still, they don't offer insight into who they are or their motivations for making a purchase. To inform your personas, you'll want to gather input from the people in your company who have direct contact with customers and all the data you can get your hands on. It's a great exercise in the planning stages of a web project, but you'll find your persona's handy to consult across all marketing.

A good marketing persona reveals the business and home lifestyle of the person and the pressures in their life and their work, and what makes them tick.

Let's try one together. The people we're targeting all visit a medical association website. Our job is to increase web traffic with all the organization's key personas. Here's the outline we'll use.

  • Who
  • Snapshot
  • Motivation
  • Search Intent
  • Your company's response.

Defining the persona

Say your key audience is physicians. Find a way to segment them. For the sake of discussion, we'll break our audience into: new physician,Jennifer Ellsworth, 29; resident, Matt Singer, 32, starting a new practice; and (Sally Stewart, 55, medical researcher.

The Snapshot

Imagine the main factors in your persona's life:

Sally lives in Philadelphia. She has a busy schedule juggling the demands of her teenage daughters, the responsibility of leading a team of researchers, and private practice. She enjoys keeping in touch with her colleagues from medical school, and she's always on the lookout for people to join her research team.

Sally will zero in on the association's site to keep up with colleagues and research and take names of possible candidates for her lab.

Search Intent

Search intent reveals the motivation of the person initiating the search. It tells you something about urgency and how close they might be to making a purchasing decision. For example, "psychiatry researchers" are much different than "psychiatry research." In this case, there's a world of difference between "research" and "researchers."

In Sally's case, she doesn't know the site's name, so we need to intercept her content-based searches. For example, "Who are the top experts in my specialty?" "Research in "Biotechnology," or "Sheila Jackson Pediatric Surgeon, Texas"

Your Marketing Response

The ultimate goal of the website is to have a visitor become a member of the association. The content is the lure for someone like Sally. So, how can we optimize the site for her? For example, create a Doctors in the News Section organized by state or specialty, and this should surface on the home page.

As you write your personas, you'll find that they stimulate ideas for content and events. Look for opportunities where all your personas have an interest and start there.

Personas by the Numbers

  • Top performing companies have mapped 90% or more of their customer database by persona.
  • 56% of companies develop higher quality leads using personas.
  • 24% of companies gain more leads using personas.
  • 36% of companies achieve a shorter sales cycle using personas.
  • Targeting cold leads with persona-based content is 58% more effective than targeting warm leads without using persona-based content.
Increase web conversions with personas

Yogic Box Breathing Fights Anxiety

Are you feeling anxious in a crazy world? Yeah, us too. It's been that kind of month, year, decade, millennium. And lately, it's been hitting many of us even harder. Thanks, COVID-19.

There is a slew of remedies out there to help us combat anxiety. Yoga, meditation, exercise, two fingers of scotch served neat, and more prescription medication than any medicine cabinet can hold. But one of the easiest (and one you can do almost anywhere without getting the side-eye from passers-by) is Box Breathing. Plus, it's free, and you don't need a prescription or your stretchy pants to do it.

So, what the heck is Box Breathing?

Box breathing is a calming technique originating with breathwork called pranayama practiced in yoga. Not into yoga? You don't have to assume the lotus position to take advantage of its calming effect. It's called box breathing because it consists of four equal parts, like the lines of a box, and works by slowing your breathing, so you relax, increase your oxygen levels, release tension, and stimulate your vagus nerve, which starts in your brain and runs the length of your spine.

How to box breathe

  1. Set a timer for five minutes.
  2. Sit straight in a chair with your feet flat or cross-legged on the floor with your spine straight.
  3. Close your eyes and inhale for a count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  5. Exhale for a count of four.
  6. Hold for a count of four.
  7. Repeat until the timer dings.
Like any good habit you're trying to develop, the more you practice this, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes, the more you'll do it. And the more you do it, the more benefits you'll get.
four-square breathing

Carl Sagan's Tips for Critical Thinking

Okay, we all know the world is currently aswirl with rivers of bogusness. Social media is a cesspool where the ignorant and ill-informed think their opinions are as relevant as facts. Talk radio blasts us with ludicrous statements masquerading as the nightly news. New news networks pop up overnight, drifting off further and further into the whack-o-sphere. And pseudo-science tries to replace actual science--those crystals aren't healing anything. Oy. So how do we determine what's true?

  1. Noted scholar, scientist, and sage, Carl Sagan, had a few ideas on wading through the Shinola. Here's his method, as laid out in his book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
  2. Wherever possible, there must be independent confirmation of the "facts."
  3. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  4. Arguments from authority carry little weight — "authorities" have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science, there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  5. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there's something to be explained, think of all the different ways it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among "multiple working hypotheses," has a much better chance of being the correct answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  6. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours. It's only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don't, others will.
  7. Quantify. If whatever you're explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you'll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course, there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  8. If there's a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  9. Occam's Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
  10. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say —in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments, and see if they get the same result.

Source: The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

better proofreading with structure

Feeling Blocked? The FreeWriter App Can Help.

Freewriter is a nifty app that encourages a stream-of-consciousness type of writing. The kind where everything feels in the groove and effortless. Open Freewriter, and you'll see a translucent screen with the suggestion, "Start Writing."

As you compose, the words flow off to the left of the screen, so you're focusing on a sentence worth of copy at a time. If you pause while writing, the sentence turns gray and starts to fall to the bottom of the screen. Until you get into the flow, this might make you feel panicky. Where did my words go? Fortunately, you can pop open a revision window where you'll find everything you've written.

At the bottom left of the screen, a timer counts down from five minutes, which encourages you to write in chunks. At the end of the session, Freewriter displays the percentage of time spent writing versus agonizing. So, those with a competitive bent can gamify it and reward themselves with chocolate bars as they become more proficient.

You won't want to write a novel with Freewriter, but it's a helpful tool to spur you to get started and break the ice. We use it to jump-start creative writing, to cut through all the numbers and ideas you have in your head and put something down on paper. Because that's what it's all about.

Download for free from Google Play and Apple's App Store.

better proofreading with structure