Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th edition

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics It’s with great pleasure and a little pride that we announce Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat “4th EDITION” part is important. We know lots of people are waiting for Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation and it’s next in the queue.

But until then…

Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION is about 100 pages longer than the previous editions and about 10$US cheaper. Why? Because Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation is next in the queue.

Some Notes About This Book

I’m actually writing Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation right now. In the process of doing that, we realized we needed to add an index to this book. We also wanted to make a full color ebook version available to NextStage Members (it’s a download on the Member welcome page. And if you’re not already a member, what are you waiting for?)

In the process of making a full color version, we realized we’d misplaced some of the original slides and, of course, the charting software had changed since we originally published this volume (same information, different charting system). Also Susan and Jennifer “The Editress” Day wanted the images standardized as much as possible.

We included an Appendix B – Proofs (starting on page 187) for the curious and updated Appendix C – Further Readings (starting on page 236). We migrated a blog used for reference purposes so there may be more or less reference sources and modified some sections with more recent information.

So this edition has a few more pages and a few different pages. It may have an extra quote or two floating around.

You also need to know that Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History is a “Let’s explore the possibilities” book, not a “How to do it” book. As such, it deals with how NextStage did it (not to mention things that happened along the way). It does not explain how you can do it. This book’s purpose is to open a new territory to you and give you some basic tools for exploration.

There are no magic bullets, quick fixes, simple demonstrations, et cetera, that will turn you into jedis, gurus, kings, queens, samurai, rock stars, mavens, heroes, thought leaders, so on and so forth.

How to Do It starts with Volume II: Experience and Expectation and continues through future volumes in this series. We’ve included a Volume II: Experience and Expectation preview with a How to Do It example on page 302 so you can take a peek if that’s your interest.

That noted, I’m quite sure that you won’t get the full benefit of future volumes without reading this one because unless you’ve read this one you won’t understand the territory you’re exploring in those future volumes.

Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History, 4th edThat’s Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History, 4th EDITION. It’s so good and so good for you! Buy a copy or two today!


Posted in Analytics, Consumer Psychology, Marketing, NextStageology, Predictive, Research, Social, Tools, {C,B/e,M}sTagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NSOS – About NextStage OnSite

NextStage OnSite Digital Property Traffic Monitoring Tool

Use: Pure and simple, you login and get your report. Clean, quick, simple and neat because we like it that way.

NextStage OnSite (NSOS) is a visitor analysis tool based on Nextstage’s patented and award winning Evolution Technology (ET). ET is the only patent (as far as we know) granted by the USPTO that “allows machines to understand and respond to human thought“.

NextStage OnSite Basic consists of up to thirty (30) reports that work on any digital property regardless of site or visitor language. Clients may contact NextStage regarding adding reports as additional costs may be involved. Each NSOS installation includes one (1) day of consulting/month. Clients may purchase additional consulting at US$5,000/day.

NextStage OnSite Advanced requires visitor native language knowledge, adds an additional thirty (30) reports and is only available to select clients and researchers (contact NextStage for details).

NextStage OnSite Basic or Advanced require a minimum of 5,000 unique visitors per time period to report properly. The only tagging requirement is a simple JavaScript tag between the </BODY> and </HTML> tag on each website page you want monitored. Mobile properties are monitored slightly differently although the ease of installation is the same. Clients are given password access to their reports.

Basic Onsite reports include:

Age

The Age report determines the demographic age breakdown of visitors to your site.

Visitor Age Analysis

Branding

This report measures if visitors are being branded while they’re on your site. Technically, it measures how much of the visitors’ deep and long-term learning channels are active while they’re on the site and how well the site as a whole passes information into those channels. There are several learning channels depending on how and where and for how long you want information stored. You want visitors to remember a site/product/brand as separate and unique from other sites/products/brands they’re visiting because they can only return to a site if they remember it exists in the first place.
That, in a nutshell, is branding.

Branding

Conversion Factors

This graph shows eight easily modifiable factors need to be adjusted to increase conversions. The yellow bar indicates how much each page is contributing to the conversion, the blue indicates how much the visitor is contributing to the conversion and the red indicates the importance visitors are attributing to each factor. A red dot above the yellow and blue bar indicates the page needs to contribute more to a given factor to increase conversions. A red dot in a blue area indicates visitors are contributing too much information — information you have no control over — to the decision process. The eight conversion factors measured are:


  • Can the individual imagine themselves using/doing something?
  • Would the individual really use the product or would it just collect dust?
  • Can the product, service, whatever be successfully worked into their current lifestyle or would getting whatever require a change in their lifestyle? (Note that this may or may not be a positive experience based on other factors)
  • Has the individual had any experience with this or a similar product/information?
  • Is the individual using this or a similar product?
  • Has, does or will the individual have a need for this or a similar product?
  • Does individual believe they will have or have they had pleasure due to the product, service, whatever?
  • Does individual believe they will have or have they had pain due to the product, service, whatever?

Purchase/Exchange Stop


Credibility

The Credibility report measures if site visitors found the information on your site Credible (believable), Uncredible (they want to believe and want substantiating information) and Incredible (they simply don’t believe it).

Credibility


Defection

Defection is the counterpoint to Loyalty. Loyalty measures a willingness to endure pain while Defection measures how long that pain will be endured before the individual “goes to the other side”. This report lists “Days to Defection” in the horizontal axis. Note that this report is actually measuring visitor subjective time (what the visitor thinks, not necessarily what they’ll do although the two usually coincide). The report examples shown here indicates that NextStage site visitors tend to be both loyal and have no interest in defecting.

Time To Defection


Engagement by Gender

The Engagement by Gender report shows you if males or females are more interested in your site and/or are shopping your site more carefully.

Engagement by Gender


Engagement by Page

The Engagement by Page report determines which pages are generating the most interest (across all users) on your site, and is a measure of visitors motivation to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc., on a page by page basis.

Engagement by Page


Engagement by URL

The Engagement by URL report determines which URLS — hence which geographic locations — are sending you visitors most interested in your site/service/product/offerings. This report matches levels of engagement to distinct URLs, indicating which visitors and which geographies are the most likely buyers. Knowing this information directly guides your on- and off-line marketing efforts. You learn quickly where to direct your collateral efforts and can measure how successful recent efforts have been.

Engagement by URL


Engagement by Time Period

The Engagement by Time Period report indicates when visitors to your website are in a “buying” or “conversion” mood. Certain companies will bid on search terms during specific time periods because they know that’s when ‘the fish are biting.’ The Engagement by Time Period report shows when ‘the fish are biting’ on your website.

Engagement by Time Period


Expectation

Expectation is the basic, gut level desire visitors have of satisfying some need when they come to your site. That need can be finding goods, getting or finding some service, getting information, making contact, servicing their account, whatever it was they made them want to visit your site in the first place. Expectations can be low, medium or high. Measuring expectation is crucial in designing material so that it quickly helps visitors achieve their goals.

Expectation


Experience

This report measures the basic, gut level reaction a visitor has to your website. Visitors can have a good experience, a bad experience or be indifferent. Knowing Experience is key to everything about making sure your message gets across, that your product gets purchased, or that your site gets and keeps people coming back. People will remember extremes, so you want their experience to be either good or bad. In either case, they’ll return. If it was a good experience, they’ll return because they enjoyed it or were successful. If it was a bad experience, they’ll return with friends to show them how bad it was. You never want visitors to go away indifferent. People remember bests and worsts meals, people, cars, movies, music, … Can you remember the best meal you ever ate? Can you remember the worst? What about the most average meal? Ever had a really incredible dining experience at a burgerjoint? You don’t want your website to be a burgerjoint.

Experience


Failure Pages

Which pages are causing visitors to lose interest in staying on your site, in what you have to offer, etc.? The PageFailures report measures which pages are causing visitors to lose interest in your offering and convincing them to look elsewhere. Often these “failure pages” precede “last page visited” by 2-3 clicks. Companies who redesign “last page visited” are wasting their efforts because the decision to leave a site is made before that last page is reached. The Failure Pages report insures you’re focusing your efforts where they’ll generate the greatest reward.

Failure Pages

Failures Pages to Exits

Failure Pages to Exits measures the difference between the page where a visitor lost interest to the page where they actually left a site. This chart shows the page where interest died and how many pages later the visitor actually left a site. Most people get a metric of which page visitors left on and begin modifying that page. That’s a nice exercise and not at all useful because the page visitors left on isn’t usually the page where they lost interest in continuing. Think of it this way; You’re shopping for a car. Something about the car you’re looking at right now doesn’t work for you. Do you immediately walk away from that car or do you spend a little bit of time talking yourself out of the car? Most people spend a little bit of time talking themselves out of the car before they move onto the next car (meaning they’ll continue shopping on your site, maybe) or leave the dealership (meaning they’ll leave your site, probably). That little bit of time talking to themselves equates to continuing on a site for a few more pages before they leave. Your goal at this point is to regain their interest on those few pages you have left. Think of it as a salesperson recognizing interest has waned and directing the client to what the salesperson knows was of interest, picking up the thread of the sale and moving on from there.

Page Failures to Exits


Gender Ratio

How many men and women are visiting your site? What is being determined is not physical gender but neurologic gender aspect; are people thinking using traditionally recognized ‘female’ neurologic aspects or traditionally recognized ‘male’ neurologic aspects. Knowing neurologic gender is far more important than knowing physical gender; if a man is choosing clothing using his color sense you want to market to his feminine side, not his male side.

Male/Female Visitor Ratio


Loyalty

Loyalty is the amount of pain an individual is willing to endure to either be with or to use something when they know less pain would be involved either being with or using something else. This is also known as “strength of commitment” to a site or brand. Knowing Visitor Loyalty and knowing how far that loyalty can be pushed before disloyalty sets in tells you how much and how well your clients and visitors think of your site or brand.

Loyalty


Navigation

Navigation measures how much work was required by a site’s visitors to find what they wanted and whether their problem solving skills were up to the task. Essentially, navigating a website can be likened to moving through a maze. You know where you are, aren’t sure of where you were and don’t know if the next turn will get you any closer to where you want to be. Mazes, though, are often designed to test problem solving skills. Often people design websites that they can navigate easily in the mistaken belief everyone thinks the way they do and hence solves problems in much the same way. If a site isn’t designed for the majority of visitors then visitors will find it difficult and/or intractable and go away confused, disappointed and probably worse. Ease of Navigation is a crucial metric for designers, developers, website owners, ecommerce providers, etc. It doesn’t matter if a site is easy to navigate by the people who designed the website, it only matters if visitors to the website can find what they want.

Ease of Navigation


Page Target Audience

The Page Target Audience Report is a page by page listing of pages and their target audience. It reports Gender, Life Experience (Neurologic Age), Understandability (Neurocognitive Age), and Decision/Learning Style. Page Target Audiences are metrics of who a site can best communicate to on a page by page basis. This is not a measure of who is coming to your site.

Page Target Audience


Price vs Product

This chart shows whether or not people believed the value (for ecommerce) or benefit (for informational or educational) of what was offered was worth the price (for ecommerce) or time involved (for informational or educational). In addition, this chart shows whether or not visitors wanted more product selection or less and whether or not visitors would purchase the product if the price was higher or lower.

Price vs Product


Real Visitors by Address

How many people per session where actually visiting your site as opposed to how many cookies or logins were on your site?

Real Visitors by URL/Address/Location/Name

Referral Quality

Referral Quality is a measure of which referral sources are sending you visitors most motivated to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers.

Referral Quality

Referral Quality by Time Period and Level of Interest

Referral Quality is a measure of how motivated site visitors are to purchase, exchange, conduct business, etc. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers. Referral Quality by Time Period merely adds the dimension of time, so you’ll know when the most motivated visitors were using which search engines and looking for what. Knowing Referral Quality from referring sites — especially if you’re paying for SEO, clicks, etc. — is incredibly important. You want to make sure your money is being spent wisely. These graphs show you which search engines are sending you the most qualified visitors. You would want to bid on the engine giving you the most highly motivated visitors, and specifically on the search terms that are used by the most highly motivated people.

Referral Quality by Time Period and Level of Interest

Return Ratio

Return Ratio is a measure of how strongly your site influenced a visitor to return. A strong enough negative experience will cause visitors to stay away, a strong enough positive experience will cause visitors to return, tell their friends and spend money — whether or not they found what they originally came to your site for.

Return Ratio

RichPersonae

People think, act and make decisions based on an incredible number of factors. NextStage codifies these different ways of thinking, acting and making decisions as RichPersonae. Material such as websites, brochures, etc., are designed for specific RichPersonae, intentionally or not. This chart shows visitor RichPersonae versus material design RichPersonae The ideal is to have a close match between the two. For more information on decision styles, read NSE Evolution Technology Research Paper – Evolution Technology as an Adjunct to Decision Support Systems.

RichPersonae

Search Term Quality

Search Term Quality is a measure of what search engine terms the most motivated visitors to a site are using to find you. You want to have highly motivated visitors to an eCommerce site because highly motivated visitors are usually pre-qualified buyers. This chart measures search terms used to find your site by engagement (see Attention, Engagement and Trust: The Internet Trinity and Websites for NextStage’s definition of “engagement”) displayed while on your site. The higher the engagement the higher the interest and if they’re not purchasing, there’s problems on your site you’re probably unaware of.

Term Quality

Seek Effort

Seek Effort is a measure of how much work visitors are doing to find what they want on a site’s pages and is closely tied to PageFailures, the pages where visitors’ interest wanes and or leaves completely. The higher the Seek Effort score, the worse the page for keeping people on track to meeting both their and your goals. Seek Effort also measures which pages are providing more information than visitors can comfortably and successfully use. Pages which are too complex, are not easily learned or retained, contribute to visitors leaving your site.

Search Interactions


Site Target Audience

The Site Target Audience Report determines the best audience for your site as a whole as it currently exists in the system. It reports Gender, Life Experience (Neurologic Age), Understandability (Neurocognitive Age), and Decision/Learning Style.

Site Target Audience

Success

Success measures whether or not visitors were able to find what they came looking for and is closely tied to the Tirekickers report. Visitors who considered their time on your site unsuccessful will go away confused, disappointed and probably worse. An excellent report has the Site and Visitor lines

  • Close together
  • Equidistant at all points
  • Spiking at the same point

Thus you want a lines that increase from Entry to Exit or at least decrease little after MidVisit.

Success

Suggestions

The Suggestions Reports contain specific information on how to modify your site in order to provide your visitors with the most rewarding experience possible. Suggestions are broken down as Critical (red), Important (yellow) and Advisable (green).

Suggestions


Tirekickers to Buyers Breakdown

The Tirekickers Report indicates how many of your site visitors are serious buyers versus how many are just doing research, and where they are in their research. For example, the first category is ‘Grazing’ and indicates how many site visitors are basically channel surfing and stopped on your site for no real reason. The different gradations then go to ‘Making a Decision’, ‘Not the Decision Maker’ and onto ‘Buying’. Remember, this doesn’t mean they will buy from your website, only that they want to buy something while they’re on your website. A higher “Buying” value than your conversions indicates your site needs work.

Tirekickers to Buyers Breakdown

Understandability

This report determines if visitors can understand your site. Note that this is a measure of whether your site, your menu structure, your content, etc., is understandable to visitors. If the majority of visitors can understand your site you’ll see a green bar, the fewer visitors who can understand your site the bar becomes yellow then red. If a site is too complex for visitors to understand or not able to communicate its message in an understandable way, you’re losing business, sales, etc.

Understandability

Note that NextStage Evolution can deny use of its offerings to individuals or groups at NextStage’s discretion.

Posted in Analytics, Marketing, NextStageology, OnSite, Predictive, Tools, {C,B/e,M}sTagged ,

NextStage Member Tools Explained

For anybody keeping track, here are our current tool offerings to NextStage Members. We keep adding tools as they become available and will update this list periodically. Some tools require training, some tools require our tracking code be on a digital property, some tools are so new they don’t have their own icons yet.

For those who don’t know, NextStage Membership costs $250US/year. There are lots of other benefits. Come play with our toys. They’re lots of fun and so are we.


Posted in Ad Placement, Age Persuader, Analytics, Audience Finder, BlueSky Meter, Client Prospector, Compatibility Gauge, Entrepreneur Gauge, Experience Optimizer, Gender Persuader, Immediate Sentiment, Job Prospector, Looking Glass, Love Finder, Love Jones, Marketing, NeuroPrint, NextStageology, OnSite, PersonaScope, Political Analyzer, Political Reader, Predictive, Predictive Echo, Resume Rater, SampleMatch, Sentiment Analysis, Social Interferometer, TargetTrack, Tools, Veritas Gauge, {C,B/e,M}sTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introducing NextStage Trainings


NextStage has been testing some webinar trainings with various groups and the results are excellent.

So good, in fact, that we’re going public with our trainings. You can read about all trainings on our Schedule page.

Trainings cover topics such as

  • Building and Maintaining a Prospect List – NextStage demonstrates how some simple social mining can provide data on who needs you and how receptive they’ll be to your offer.

    This class is already sold out. Another will be offered sometime soon.

  • Know How Someone Is Thinking in 10 Seconds or Less Intro Webinar Training – a new one for us and already quite popular.
  • Email Pitches That Work – NextStage’s lowest email pitch success rate is 58% immediate and 608% pickup via social. These high numbers are achieved through selective audience development and a deep understanding of how an offering is percieved, by whom Want to learn how it’s done?
  • Webinar Introduction to NextStage Tools and Technology – NextStage has developed over 60 tools for various companies, agencies, businesses and governments, and many of them are available as part of NextStage Membership. This webinar provides an introduction to using NextStage tools and understanding the results. In some cases, participant provided material will be analyzed. The price of this webinar is applied to the Membership fee for anyone who chooses to become a NextStage Member.
  • Making Images Work – NextStage’s studies on the use of head and body images in marketing are used worldwide. Here’s your chance to learn directly from NextStage what images and videos to use for different audiences and when and where they should go on your digital properties.
  • Effective Newsletter Design – The email newsletter isn’t dead. It’s alive and flourishing if you know how to design for today’s mobile devices. This webinar shares NextStage research and results into crafting email newsletters that are opened and forwarded again and again and again.
  • NeuroDesign – NextStage’s Joseph Carrabis dissects ten websites chosen by participants and explains what works, what doesn’t and why. DMG’s Chief Content Officer Brad Berens said of Joseph ‘You are an expert in web usability, fast-paced analysis of how people’s postures and statements reveal their motivations, how color impacts decision making, and a lot of other things that I could list if I were about to take the time to go review websites and notes.’ Joseph, in 30 seconds, caught 10 out of 10 things Accuquote spent thousands of dollars and months A/B testing, according to Accuquote’s Sean Cheyney. Come see how it’s done!


Posted in NextStageologyTagged

Joseph is moving on, a little


Joseph has accepted a position of Chief Data Scientist for insightXM. He’ll be working with insightXM three days a week and NextStage the other two, so he’s not leaving NextStage completely. He’s still accessible via phone and Skype for NextStage business, questions and concerns.

Our business strategy is moving away from pure and applied research and we thought it best that his diverse skills could be kept fresh better elsewhere. He’ll still be available to NextStage clients, for trainings and presentations as required, writing books, columns and publishing existing research in his spare time.

Yes, we’re all laughing at the “spare time” part.

Please wish him good thoughts and congratulate insighXM on their new acquire.


Posted in NextStageology

We’re Changing Again

I’ve been running NextStage for most of this year. Much of that time has been analyzing usage data, discovering patterns, the stuff of general manager nightmares. Next I had Joseph and his crew compare what was happening on our site with what was happening on our client sites.

The result is our new homepage.

NextStage’s largest profits come from Memberships, Research/Consulting, Trainings and Surveys. Our tools get lots of use and end up being consulting engagements for most users. The tool question we get asked most often is “Which tool should I use to do …?” and Joseph and his crew end up working for free by demonstrating the tools, something I’m putting a stop to with this new design and direction.

Everything NextStage does is built on a base technology. One of our early investors prophetically told us “You folks have invented plastic. You’re like BASF; you don’t make the basketball, you make it better. You don’t make the milk bottle, you make the milk bottle better.”

Joseph’s creating a base, disruptive technology is impressive from a science perspective but rotten from a marketing perspective. Being able to do a diversity of things confuses businesses who want small companies to do one thing. They really prefer small businesses that do one thing that’s easily described. Every time someone asks Joseph what NextStage does and he says “We analyze how people interact with information in their environment” I cringe. It’s completely accurate and completely useless.

NextStage has an incredible number of offerings between papers, podcasts, tools, trainings and the list goes on and on. There would be more tools and trainings if I didn’t put my foot down.

The end result of all this is that the KnowledgeShop is going away and we’re consolidating everything into one site (except for the blogs and I’m rethinking those, too). We’re limiting our offerings even though everything will still be offered, just under fewer headings.

NextStage members will make out like bandits in all this; with the exception of a few tools, they now have access to everything we do as part of their membership. This includes most tools, papers, research briefs, presos, podcasts and their discounts still apply to what we do sell (trainings, webinars, etc). Memberships were $100/year, now they’re $250/year. Membership also includes two webinars and two personal site assessments per year free. We think that’s a good deal and hope you do, too.

Managing an office is a challenge, managing a small business is more so, managing Joseph and his lot…priceless.

NextStage gets Patent #4 and Releases NextStage’s Experience Optimizer Tool


NextStage received its fourth patent on 18 Feb 2014. This patent is “… focused specifically on harvesting demographic data from the way a user interfaces with an electronic device.”

First, about the patent (and we didn’t write this, someone else did):

“Joseph Carrabis and NextStage Evolution, LLC were awarded their fourth US patent today (18 Feb 2014). US patent 8,655,804 is focused specifically on harvesting demographic data from the way a user interfaces with an electronic device. Whether using a keyboard, a mouse, a touchscreen, or eye movement, users reveal themselves in their interactions with these devices and Joseph’s software listens. With simple mouse movements within a web page, this software can determine age and gender of a user with over 95% accuracy. Ethnic background, economic status, home state, native language, and political party affiliation can all be determined in seconds of device interaction. This technology has set NextStage Evolution, LLC apart from all other neuromarketing technology on the market.”

The actual patent intro is a bit more technical:

A system and method for determining a characteristic of an individual is provided. The method includes determining at least one nonconscious element of an interaction by the individual and correlating at least one nonconscious element with at least one identifiable demographic characteristic of the individual. The system includes a computerized medium having a human interface system situated to facilitate interaction with the individual and produce a quantity of data corresponding to the interaction. A programmable device is in communication with the computerized medium and is situated to use at least a portion of the quantity of data corresponding to the interaction with the individual to determine at least one nonconscious element of the interaction with the individual. A correlation system is situated to correlate the at least one nonconscious element with at least one identifiable demographic characteristic and output a quantity of resulting information. …

NextStage Experience Optimizer ToolNow that we have this patent, we’ll be officially releasing our NextStage Experience Optimizer (NSEO) tool.

NSEO analyzes people using any device and sends instructions back to the device (or wherever the client wants the instructions sent) on how to improve the user’s experience.

First, how does ET and NSEO do this?

NextStage's Experience Optimizer Tool 'talks' to visitorsWell, ET and NSEO do it pretty much the way you’d do it if you were talking with the person, and we mean that literally.

Imagine you’re sitting down with someone and the two of you are looking at the same thing, a restaurant menu at lunch, for example. The other person has been to this restaurant before and with other people.

Now imagine that you’re talking about what’s on the menu while you make up your mind. The person sitting with you is listening and making suggestions based on what they’ve learned from dining with other people in the same restaurant, in other restaurants and so on. Eventually you make a decision on what to order for lunch. The other person’s suggestions helped you make your decision and you don’t think of their help as help per se although you will remember the good lunch at this restaurant and suggest it to others.

NSEO and ET do much the same thing. NSEO looks at, listens to, etc., the same content a visitor’s looking at, listening to, etc., and pays attention to how visitors interact with that content. Simultaneously, it’s matching this visitor’s behavior and interactions against every other visitor to the same content, visitors to similar content, visitors to all content and so on.

Based on what it’s learned about this visitor and what it knows about all similar visitors to this content and all similar content, it suggests changes to the content’s presentation, things like “Adjust the colors”, “Adjust the font”, “Use different language”, “Use different images”, “Place the images here and here instead of there and there” and on and on and on. The amount of suggestions NSEO makes is based on the number of visitor states (described below) the NextStage client is interested in. We provided an elementary example of this to an audience in 2000 and documented several examples in Reading Virtual Minds V1: Science and History (available at Amazon and in the NextStage KnowledgeShop, and everybody should have at least two copies. Also, V2 is due out this year if you’d like to pre-order). My favorite among the examples in V1 is:

IV.2 – The Investors Heard the Music

One of the early incarnations of the NextStage Evolution website self-modified in real time based on how individual visitors were interacting with itq. Two people could be sitting in the same room but using different computers to browse the site and ET would deliver content customized to each visitor’s unique cognitive, memorization, and comprehension styles. These styles are collectively called the “{C,B/e,M} matrix”, meaning “cognitive, behavioral/effective, motivational matrix”.

The {C,B/e,M} Matrix is, quite literally a shorthand notation for how people interact with their world. What is covered is very rich and detailed and can be summed up into three basic categories; Cognitive (“How do they think? What do they think about?”), Behavioral/effective (“What do they do that demonstrates how they think?” and the way I use the word “Behavioral” has next to nothing to do with how the term is used in the industry today, me thinks) and Motivational (“Why do they think the way they do? Why do they demonstrate it the way they do?”).38,49-51,53-56,58,59,63- 65,67,69,70,106,122

Differing {C,B/e,M} matrices were demonstrated when two investors called up from their office in San Francisco. I was sitting in my office in Nashua, NH, and they had asked for a demonstration of ET.

“Have you been on our site?” I asked.

Yes, they had, of course. So?

“Are you near a computer hooked to the internet right now?”

Yes, they were. So?

“Log onto the site. Pick any page off the menu you’d like to visit and tell me which one it is, okay?”

Okay.

I navigated to the same page they were on. “I’m going to describe to you what I’m looking at. While I describe it to you pay close attention to what’s actually on your screen. You’ll notice some differences.” I started reading some of the text.

Yes, the text on their browser was slightly different.

I started describing the size and placement of images, as well as image content.

Yes, in some cases they didn’t even have an image I was describing, often they had one I didn’t have, etc., etc.

Then, while I was talking to them, their browser started playing music.

“You didn’t tell us your site had music,” one of them said.

My response didn’t make sense to them at first. “ET determined that you weren’t paying attention to the website and were focusing on an auditory stimuli, so it started playing music in the hopes of bringing your attention back to the website. It’s attempting to substitute its own auditory stimulus for the one you’re focusing on.”

“Why would it do that? There aren’t any auditory stimulus in the room.”

I remember both the emphasis and the lack of grammatical expertise on the investors’ parts. My explanation stopped them cold. “Yes, the auditory stimulus is that you’re talking to me. ET doesn’t know that you’re talking on the phone, but it can determine that some sound event — in this case our conversation — is where your attention is focused. It wants you focused on the website, so it’s playing some music in order to draw your attention away from this phone call and back to the screen. Like a child, ET wants to be the center of attention.”

I heard them click onto another page and the music stopped.

“How come the music stopped?” “Because your attention was focused back on the website. It didn’t need to play the music anymore in order to get your attention.”

A brief discussion ensued in which they expressed a great concern about my ability to access and distribute fertilizer.

And the music started playing again.


q – Self-modifying sites are what now might be called “morphing” sites. I have a challenge with the term “morph” due to the concept of Turing machines. A site, like you, should modify its behavior based on who it’s communicating with. People (and true Turing machines) routinely modify their behaviors based on who they’re communicating with, but only the psychotics “morph”, ie, become a completely different being.

Back then people couldn’t believe or understand. What a difference fourteen years make, huh?

Second, what types of instructions are sent back?

The instructions can be as simple as the individual’s gender and age (two variables), visitor “states” that NextStage’s Evolution Technology can determine at better than 98% accuracy, according to an independent validation study. Most online business can make do with our standard nine (9) states:

  1. Branding level (are they branded? Are they debranded?)
  2. Confusion level
  3. Conversion trigger (what will cause them to convert?)
  4. Curiosity level
  5. Decision maker status (is this person going to make the decision or will someone else make the decision based on the visitor’s recommendation)
  6. Decision status (where are they in their decision)
  7. Decision strategy (what will cause them to convert)
  8. Interest level
  9. Intender status (when will they convert)

More demanding requirements (security, privacy, …) can have up to ninety (90) visitor states delivered. How many states are delivered is part of the deployment discussion, and how the instructions are used is based on business rules, etc.

We offer guidance but don’t do any client coding, it’s up to the clients’ dev teams to build code around ET’s instructions and act upon them. ET will send back instructions based on what the clients’ goals are and what we’re willing to provide (if you haven’t read our Principles, now’s the time). The simplest incarnation is changing the css of a visitor’s browser session based on some simple rules.

What does NSEO cost?

It won't cost an arm and a legNextStage Experience Optimizer‘s pricing is based on amount of traffic, how often you want it to send information back, what types of information you want sent back, … pretty much the regular things. It won’t cost an arm and a leg and if your operation is a good cause, we can negotiate lots of things.

You can see a presentation, Introducing the NextStage Experience Optimizer, I gave on the NextStage Experience Optimizer for free in our KnowledgeShop (viewed best in Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and anything but IE9, evidently).

And now, a chuckle

What’s kind of amusing about this is that NSEO is actually what ET (our patented technology) was doing when we originally built it in 1999 and no one was ready (as I’ve said many times, CEOs were telling us “What do I care what my customers are thinking?”). Now the world has caught up and we’re going back to our origins.


Posted in Analytics, Experience Optimizer, Marketing, NextStageology, Predictive, Tools

Shooting the Message Because of the Messenger


You receive an email or tweet or TXT or some such from someone you know. Do you read the message because you know who sent it or because the subject line or first few words or glance catches your attention? Most people probably aren’t aware of their selection criteria. Let me invite you to be more aware (and let me know what you discover, thanks).

An interesting social phenomenon on the rise (NextStage has catalogued anecdotal evidence since 2007) indicates that an increasing number of people decide whether or not to pay attention to a message based on information content, not their relationship to the source.

Please note that NextStage has done no formal research on this. We do keep track of anecdotal evidence, though, and the number of anecdotes dealing with this phenomenon increased steadily albeit slowly from 2007 to 2011. It doubled in 2012 and we’ve already catalogued more in the first five months of 2013 than in all previous years put together.

The curiosity is around whether or not this increase in information-sort over social-sort is due to information bias or not; People are more connected than ever. Does that mean the value of social ties is less than in the past? Are we indeed too social to be social?

Or has the proliferation of content caused us to determine social value by information value? If so, keywords, taglines and the like are going to become very expensive because that’s all marketing will be. Consider how many commercials there are in which the entire conversation between actors is nothing more than a series of soundbytes.

This also means a message’s source can hurt the message’s success in a social system; people will shoot the message because of the messenger. More than that, the value of influencers will decrease sooner rather than later. An influencer’s information quality must remain high because consumers are sorting by information value, not information source. Eventually everyone will have the same “influencer” status within their social circle.

This is going to put a whole new spin on social and related marketing, me thinks.

Patrick McGoohan as The PrisonerI mean, the heck with whether or not you’re a free man (or woman). Just tell me your number or go away.


Posted in NextStageology, ResearchTagged , ,

Here Are Your NeuroMarketing Options

I was at a conference recently and took many turns through the exhibitors’ booths.

I took many turns through the exhibitors’ booths because I had no idea what I was doing at the conference. I’d been invited and someone else was paying my way, and I hoped seeing the wares presented would offer some insight into why some group would contact me to attend on their behalf and essentially pay me to do so.

Before going further, let me state that I don’t remember any NextStageologist saying or writing “We do neuromarketing.” It’s been said about us often enough and I’ve publicly written that I think people say we do neuromarketing (skim down to “3. What the heck is a NeuroMarketer?” in the link) because 1) it’s a term du jour, 2) they don’t know what else to call us, 3) they’ve called us many pleasant and few unpleasant things in the past and seem to think we change as do the buckets they want to put us in, …

People say “But you guys do so many things” and that’s true. Our response is “That’s because the brain does so many things. The brain doesn’t only make decisions or only control breathing or only look at pretty people or only guess about the future and if the brain could only do one thing we wouldn’t have evolved much beyond amoeba. We do lots of things because, like the brain, we have no limits.”

Okay, we have some limits.

But, as I was typing, some of the vendors did…something…at the conference. I watched. It looked a lot like what I’ve been told is traditional, historical neuromarketing. You know, traditional and historical, like the stuff going back a year or more ago?

It was fascinating.

Now before going any further, none of the people shown here claim to be neuromarketers and that includes NextStage. I merely offer these as examples of what others who call themselves “neuromarketers” do.

Here are some of your NeuroMarketing options…

Option 1 – See the Brain in Real Time

Cap Showing the Brain in 3D

The fellow in the picture above is brilliant. He and his team (if I understood correctly) have developed a cap that generates a image of an individual’s neurophysiology in real time. The medical implications of this are incredible.

But it’s not neuromarketing as I understand it. Seeing the brain work is not the same as knowing what the brain is working on. Seeing specific brain areas associated with likes and dislikes is not the same as knowing what the brain is liking or disliking. Tomograph, fMRIs, neurographs, etc., of heat and blood flow in the brain while showing a picture of a brand product is not the same as that individual wanting, desiring or avoiding that brand product. They are, at best, proxies. There may be a direct connection or they may not be. A dislike of a particular brand might have more to do with a bad memory of someone who used that brand than the brand itself, and building a campaign on such evidence is…is…a really interesting way to spend your budget.

But credit where credit is due, if I ever get a brain lesion, I want the guy in the picture above in my corner.

Option 2 – If the Device Fits, Wear It

The video below is of a young woman being fitted with a device that allows the wearer’s brain to interact directly with an image on a screen. Doing that is impressive. The device itself is nicely designed and packaged. The gentleman in the video is someone trained by the company that markets the device. He’s a trained professional. After two minutes and twenty seconds he still hadn’t gotten the device to work correctly, and he’d applied enough saline solution to make Brylcream proud because this time, a little dab wasn’t doing ya.


Fairness time; lots of people at this conference sat down to have this device placed on their heads. I talked with several of them who wanted to take part but couldn’t because the device couldn’t read their signals reliably if at all.

Option 3 – You Can Find A Company that Claims to do NeuroMarketing

A long standing NextStage client was told by his GM to go talk to the GM’s friend who had started a neuromarketing company. You could tell they were a neuromarketing company because they used “neuromarketing” on their site a lot.

I asked the client how it went. Here’s the conversation:

“Hi! I’m speaking with these guys today, …, it looks like they are taking a similar theoretical approach as you, although their execution is paleolithic compared to yours.”

Be sure to tell them that.

“The guy is a friend of the GM. The GM hears me say the word neuromarketing, this guy says the word neuromarketing, GM says lets all meet. I say, ‘Why would I let them put headbands on 5 people when I can learn way more about EVERY one visiting a site without looking like Olivia Newton-John?’ I can assure you that basically I’m going to tell them they’re in the stone ages. No reason to drive the ford Edsel when you have the rocket car sitting in the garage!”

(a few days later…)

How did it go with your GM’s friend?

“The neuro guy was a joke, an entrepreneur who saw a cool graph on a screen, no plan, no insight, no training, no business plan, not even an elevator pitch nor the brains to run it.”

Hmm…but he has money? Maybe he’d like to buy us out…?

“He doesn’t have that kind of money….”

Sorry it was so ungood. And may I quote you?

“Quote me?”

Yes, I’ve been working on a response to all the neuro blather and would like to include an anonymous note about someone who went looking for neuro solutions and came up short.

“No problem ;)”

(and here’s to hoping you, dear reader, have similar luck)

Recapping thus far

Thus far we’ve seen the need for devices that may or may not work for everyone, require a skilled professional to place on the test subject’s head correctly, are limited to subjects who basically raise their hand and say “Yes, I’ll wear one of those”, and people with pretty websites, high level friends and are a joke (so said the client, not us).

First, what happens to those people who raise their hands but can’t make the device work? How many will be satisfied with “Here’s your $20 and sorry your head’s not the right shape” or “Here’s your $30 and your brain’s not giving off any signals we can detect” or “Here’s your $50 and our equipment doesn’t seem to be working right now, no need to come back later because it won’t work for you, then, either”?

You’d probably go with a variant of that last one but then you have people walking around telling others how their incredible noggins broke your fancy-dancy mind-reading headgear.

And if people can train their brains to do what’s required, how long do you think it’ll be ’till companies start selling “Brain-Trained” individuals for testing purposes, or offer “Brain-Training” courses and all so that, when the neuromarketing goblins come a’knockin’, your results will be through-the-roof kind-of good?

And you thought buying Fans, Friends and Likes was scummy?

And do remember, none of the folks in the above images claims to do “neuromarketing”. At least they didn’t claim to when I asked (and I did ask and I did ask permission to video and photograph so I could use the video and photographs on one of my company’s blogs). I took the pictures and video because the folks shown above do things that other companies have called “neuromarketing”.

Second, the GM’s friend. Let me repeat myself. “The GM’s friend.”

Option 4 – In the Time You’ve Been Reading…

In the 1-5 minutes you’ve been reading this post, NextStage’s Evolution Technology has analyzed the behaviors of anywhere from 3-25,000 individuals. It has determined how they think, how they make decisions, what types of things convince them, whether or not they believe whatever they’re viewing, whether or not they accept whatever they’re viewing (belief and acceptance are two very different things), when they’re likely to spend money and what needs to be changed on a client’s digital property so that they, the visitor, will spend money on the client’s digital property or in their brick&mortar store. You can get an idea of what NextStage’s Evolution Technology can determine in our example NextStage OnSite reports, you can get an idea of where we’re currently being used on our NextStage SampleMatch Countries listing and you can get an idea what people are saying about everything we do in our Comments section.

And remember, we don’t do “neuromarketing”. We just give you results. From your entire online audience. There’s a lot of neuroscience in what we do, true, and there’s also a lot of anthropology, linguistics, sociology, psychology, mathematics, and other sciences in what we do.

That’s why I prefer to offer that NextStage does NeuroAnalytics rather than NeuroMarketing because we’re more interested in how to use what the brain does naturally to make your marketing work.

As one happy client wrote in my LinkedIn Profile,

I’ve been working with Joseph and his tools now for several years. As a “digital analytics professional”, there are several phrases I can use to describe the man and the technology he creates related to my field of work: game-changing, mind-blowing, visionary.

I don’t use those words lightly. I’ve seen the future of advanced analytics, and it’s the next generation technology Joseph has invented and continues to develop.

How do you measure website engagement? Page depth? Time on site? Top viewed content? Satisfaction surveys? These are proxies for what we in digital analytics think reflects visitor engagement. Now imagine a tool that you could put on your website that silently measures engagement by actually determining how visitors feel about content, without having to ask them.

Then imagine that the same tool can then alter visitor website experience on-the-fly and present more engaging content. Then imagine watching your conversion rates go through the roof.

It’s not fiction or magic. It is a real tool, it is real science, and you can use it on your website to drive real extraordinary business results.

And that’s just the tip of Joseph’s iceberg. He’s continually creating new tools, new technology, and new thinking to enable marketers to measure and enhance the effectiveness of their work in ways that haven’t even been thought possible before.

I consider myself lucky to have met Joseph, and I am continually awed and humbled by the man. If you’re in business and want to do better, I’d suggest you get to know him and his marketing toolbox as well.

If nothing else, you’ll at least get a few good jokes out him!

Ta-Da!

Posted in Advice and Content, Analytics, Marketing, NextStageology, OnSite, Predictive, ToolsTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

NextStage Is Awarded Patent #3 – “System and method for obtaining subtextual information regarding an interaction between an individual and a programmable device”


NextStage Evolution received its third issued patent in four years on June 5, 2012. In a patent atmosphere that is making it increasing difficult to patent software-based technology, NextStage Evolutions technology continues to set itself apart from the pack while establishing a perimeter around its novel system. The third patent, US Patent No. 8,195,597, is specifically directed to the psychometric link a computer user develops with the machine interface focal point on the screen (e.g., the arrow or cursor) and the body language that can be interpreted from how the machine interface focal point is positioned relative to the information presented by the computer. Demographic information, consumer interest, opinions, and preferences is translated from machine interface body language to actionable business information with NextStage Evolutions Evolution Technology.

We got Patent #3Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yes, this is an important one. Not to downplay patents 1 and 2, this is the one that I’ve jokingly described with “Every time you have a thought, you’ll owe us a nickel.” You can read the full patent on the USPTO site. It deals with how humans non-consciously communicate with devices and describes the system behind how people create community with whatever’s in their immediate environment, something I described in Reading Virtual Minds, Volume I: Science and History.

Others may want to put a focus group in an fMRI, have them wear funny hats, pay a team to follow individuals through shopping malls or put up a survey and hope the right people are answering (they’re not). All we need is your visitors to be themselves and do what they’d normally do the way they’d normally do it — no hats, no machines, nobody following them around, no annoying popup questionnaires, no nothing except your visitors doing what they would normally be doing on your digital property each time they visit.

I gotta tell you, understanding human behavior’s a lot easier when you get everything else out of the way and just deal with the humans and what they’re doing right there at that moment. You get a lot more information about your visitors when you let humans be humans and not laboratory subjects.

And again, thank you, thank you, thank you.


 

Posted in About, NextStageologyTagged , , , , , , , , , , ,