In the Future, Your Marketing Materials Read You

Posted on Categories Innovation, Marketing Communications

Science fiction gives us a glimpse into the future, like the sci-fi thriller Minority Report, set in 2054, that demonstrated an interesting concept: the ability to market based on facial (or, in the case of the film, retinal) recognition. We’ve already seen companies try to harness this sort of technology to put clients’ messages directly in front of their prospective customers.

But one company is taking it a step further – not only recognizing the customer, but also reading the emotions that the messaging produced – and you don’t even have to wait for 2054.

Affectiva, an emotion measurement technology company that was born out of MIT’s Media Lab, has developed Affdex, a facial coding software that reads human emotion based on facial cues or physiological responses.

Using a webcam, the software can track a viewer‰’s smiles, frowns, brow furrows and smirks in order to measure a person‰’s levels of amazement, bewilderment or disappointment. It can also measure the viewer‰’s heart rate just based on the reflection of their face, which shows blood flow.

Founded by Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D. and Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D. the company grew out of a collaborative research program aimed at helping people on the autism spectrum. The goal was to give them a way to understand emotional responses by giving them a point of reference for reading emotions.

Now, the technology is being used for marketing, political polling and gaming. But there are really no limits to what could be done with this. Imagine: What if your Facebook page noted that you looked sad and started showing you happy posts from your friends and family? And the technology is spreading; Affectiva released their software development kit for mobile apps, giving developers a whole new way to ‰”emotion-able‰” their apps. Prepare for your phone to know your mood, too!

Tech-savvy marketers should be thinking about how programs like this ‰- and other technology that seems to step straight off the sci-fi movie screen ‰- could be integrated into their strategy and campaigns to move them into the future. Because as the ever-changing tech landscape shows, the future in marketing is now.

April LundyWith a love for design and a passion for technology this mother of four has never shied away from a day of hard work in either. After working in the IT field as a marketing director, she now works in the marketing field as IT Operations Admin for Savage. Just don't be fooled by her sweet nature, underneath lies the heart of a gamer, and the competition better watch out.

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