Is there a spy window in marketing?
My son started nursery camp a few weeks ago. When I dropped him off (which was his first time being left at an unfamiliar place by himself), he was very brave and didn’t cry like some of the other two-year-olds. I, on the other hand, felt the tears welling up in my eyes, so I quickly said goodbye as the teacher ushered the nervous parents out of the classroom.
As I sniffled and walked away like I was completely okay with abandoning my baby (in a facility full of toys, Play Doh, and enough animal crackers to feed a small country), I was pleasantly surprised to discover just around the corner, a frosted glass window that I could look through and vaguely make out which two-foot figure belonged to me based on the color of his bathing suit. He was happily playing with Legos, having immediately bonded with the cute redheaded counselor (he hasn’t yet met a pretty 19-year-old he doesn’t like).
After watching him through what I now call the “spy window” for about 30 minutes, I could confidently walk back down the hallway and into my car, knowing he’d be okay for the remaining two hours of camp. This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great if there were a spy window for marketing materials?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know which parts of your website its visitors gravitated to, which panels of your brochure its readers’ eyes glazed over, which articles in your email newsletter made recipients click delete?
There are some tools that can help us get into the minds of our audience (Google Analytics and your email marketing reports for instance), and if you have the budget, you can even hire a market research firm to do really in-depth studies, like eye-tracking on your website to see how the visitor’s eye moves around the screen (I know a great firm, if you’re interested). If your budget is low or nil, you can take advantage of free or cheap survey tools (like Survey Monkey) to find out what information is important to your readers or what design styles your audience prefers.
When you’re working with adults and in fictitious circumstances (“pretend you are reading this brochure on your own in a doctor’s office and not as part of a research study…”), the results may not be completely accurate. It’s difficult for grown-ups to suspend reality. I may not know for sure where people’s eyes move first when they visit my website, but when I look through the spy window after each camp-day drop-off, I can know with certainty that my baby is okay.
How do you know if your marketing materials are working? Leave responses in the comments.