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Brain waves, Grateful Dead and bumper guards

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IN A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND INDUSTRY ATTEMPT, WEEKLY SCIENCE AND technology news magazine New Scientist enlisted the services of neuromarketing research firm NeuroFocus to test three potential cover designs on buyers for its Aug. 7 issue. The hope was to find the most effective art to boost sales. “Like most newsstand magazines, we need to create covers which grab people's attention and keep them engaged,” said New Scientist Deputy Editor Graham Lawton in a statement. Using eye-tracking technology and electroencephalo-graphic (EEG) sensor-based measurements, NeuroFocus recorded and analyzed test subjects' subconscious responses to all three covers. Six “NeuroMetrics”— attention, awareness, memory retention, novelty and purchase intent, in addition to emotional engage-ment—were used to determine the winning design. “This issue achieved strong U.K. newsstand sales for the normally quiet month of August—a 12% increase over the previous year—making it the second highest-selling issue of [this] year,” Lawton said. NeuroFocus employs doctorate-level experts in neuroscience and marketing from such leading institutions as Harvard, MIT and the University of California at Berkeley. ACCORDING TO DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT, MARKETERS SHOULD LOOK TO THE dead for advice. “The Grateful Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts in the 1960s that businesses across all industries use today,” said Scott, co-author of “Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History” (Wiley, August 2010), in a statement. Together with Brian Halligan, CEO of marketing software company Hubspot, Scott deconstructed 19 marketing concepts practiced by the band. Some of our favorites: 1) Research your industry to create unique benefits for your customers, over new technology or complicated improvements. 2) If your marketing team looks like everyone else's, reorganize by searching outside the department and industry to fill gaps. 3) CEOs and manage-ment teams should allow marketers to experiment (five times more than average) to create breakthrough innovations instead of avoiding failure. 4) Lose control and let your community define marketing messages. 5) Create free content (blogs, videos, white papers, e-books) to dramatically open the top of your marketing funnel. Both authors, taken together, have seen the band perform more than 140 times. WHAT'S NEXT—PARKING LOT BUMPERS? Another advertising vehicle has been introduced to the world, and it comes in the form of pipe bollards, security posts traditionally used to protect property, people and equipment in rural and urban developments. The AdShield, from facility maintenance product manufacturer Ideal Shield, is a weatherproof stretch fabric designed to fit 6-inch pipe bollards and install exclusively over Ideal Shield bollard covers. Systems are sold with the bollard cover or separately. Products include: Custom four-color AdShields for long-term promotional advertising and point-of-purchase sales; interchangeable AdShields; and risk management and safety AdShields for standard warnings like “High voltage,” “Wet floor” and “Safety equipment required.” “As [the] manufacturer of the bumper post sleeve, which already exists in point-of-purchase locations, we saw this as the perfect place to advertise. Bollard advertising has never been done before and is a great, new opportunity to reach customers,” said Ideal Shield Sales and Marketing Manager Linzie Venegas. In business since 1996, Detroit-based Ideal Shield holds 43 patents for manufacturing—among other products—cart corrals, column wraps, handrails, guardrails and sign bases.
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