truVu Tag

Report from the Amazon and Walmart war – the secret to success in the new battleground.

Let’s face it: It’s time to stop focusing on what you want your consumers to see and time to start focusing on what actually engages them in the real world.  Your Consumers’ Perceptions – not your own – are your brand’s reality.

Enough of the ancient metrics to measure performance!

In today’s world, why focus on unaided brand recall, tagline playback, and illustration recognition? With today’s e-commerce shoppers, nearly all brands are present before them. What do they see in your brand that engages them and separates you from your competition?

Recalling your ad or your tagline doesn’t mean consumers will buy your product. Seeing your product on the shelf is worthless if it stays on shelf. You need to generate positive engagement if you want to convert consumers. Our studies have found that an engaging e-commerce package presentation can increase its purchase by as much as 40 percent!

Seeing is not enough; you need engagement!

Had enough of paying for endcap headers that aren’t seen, POSM materials that are ignored, and free-standing displays that aren’t restocked? PTG’s nondescript truVu glasses have revealed that while certain display elements engage shoppers, most are noted, but promptly ignored. In fact, too often consumers can’t even recall why they purchased one brand over another.

Our data has shown that spring-loaded product displays discourage over 25 percent of shoppers from picking up and considering the product, simply because they don’t want the bother of having to put the packaging back! On the other hand, we’ve found that samplers and immediate tie-in discounts nearly double shopper engagement.

Measure ad engagement, not GRPs!

Have you wondered why traditional commercial skipping rates haven’t climbed? The answer is simple—because millennials and Gen-Xers don’t even bother with the remote control. They go straight to their smartphones when forced commercial breaks appear. However, over 92 percent of them will skip ad pre-rolls when given the opportunity. Their attention span for advertising hovers around six seconds.  If you haven’t engaged them by then, they’re lost, as are your ad dollars…

Stop pretending the world is perfect!

Most package testing research is simply unrealistic. Using ideal planograms, perfectly aligned product placement, and exposures with all labels clearly on display is just not how it appears in the real world. And with the test product placed in the center of the display, at eye level, and with full SKU counts?!

We’ve found that these planogram displays can seriously mislead clients and give them a false impression as to what they can expect in the real world of shopping. Only engaging packages can compete in cluttered environments, with incomplete SKU displays and placed in unfavorable shelf locations.

Knowing what really engages shoppers in real-world environments can stretch your marketing dollars multifold! Ignoring real-world consumer shifts can result in significant loss in market share. The choice is yours.

I can be reached at 201.569.4800 or

The Election and Black Friday – More in common than you think!

Without discussing politics, we all agree that the pundits got it all wrong. Ask yourself this – are you sure you are engaging and connecting with your target audience? The reason why POLITICIANS and BRANDS aren’t connecting with their audience is because they think they’re listening to their consumers, but they’re not!

“I’m giving consumers better quality, value and performance, but they’re not buying my product, or even taking a moment to listen to what I’m telling them?” If you’re a marketer and this sounds familiar, ask yourself this – Are you looking at the product and advertising through your consumers’ eyes, as opposed to your own? Are you telling them what you think they want to hear, but not what they are really looking for?

It’s fair to say that marketers know their product inside and out. They are intimately aware of the unique advantages of their offering as well as its competitive differentiators. Product marketers are the first to read the fine print of their carefully crafted ad, watch their TV demo, click on their banner ad, view their pre-roll to completion, recall their refreshed logo, and note their endcap message. Moreover, in a supermarket, marketers will go out of their way to find their product on-shelf among their competition and bend down to purchase the item. Can the same be said about their desired consumers?

Not even close.

Realistically speaking, 60% of shoppers won’t bend down to seek and/or buy a product, 92% will pass on viewing a pre-roll ad, and 55% will ignore an endcap display. What’s more, consumer research programs that administer surveys and/or evaluate forced exposure to ads and packaging won’t help because they don’t reveal the truth about what’s working versus not working. In order to truly connect a product to its target, marketers need to watch TV, surf the Internet, read, and shop through the eyes of their consumer since it’s their experience that matters most. Consumers are the ones who are making the decisions and, as difficult as it may be, marketers need to take themselves out of the equation.

At PTG, we see what you don’t! We have the research technology and proprietary approaches that offer a “real world” one–way mirror that captures the all-important human element as consumers experience your brand.

To learn more about how our real-world research methodologies are benefiting today’s biggest brands, please reach me at

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Dan Morris Featured in Sept. Issue of Online MR Magazine

PTG’s President, Dan Morris, was recently interviewed for the September issue of Online MR Magazine.  In the interview, Dan shared his thoughts on the evolving demands of shopper insights research and how advances in technology are making it possible for marketers to passively observe shoppers in a natural environment.

The interview can be found below in its entirety.  

In the past decade what major changes have you observed in the field of market research – especially in context of how we collect Shopper Insights?

Dan Morris: From my vantage point, the biggest change in the collection of Shopper Insights data is simply the increased number of potential sales channels that need to be monitored. Today’s marketers need to engage their customers, and that means not only understanding their customer experience in a retail environment, but also having a pulse on their digital shopping experience. For instance, in-store, mobile and online shopping environments each come with their own unique sets of challenges and research requirements. This is no simple task.

This evolving dynamic demands we introduce non-conscious biometric measurement into the Shopper Insights space. PTG’s patented Saccadic Eye Movement Recording System uses micro camera technology to record how fast shoppers’ eyes vibrate. By measuring this cognitive response we can objectively determine consumer engagement and interest with in-store stimuli such as packaging and communications.

What are some of the major challenges that you face in collecting insights from shoppers? How do you overcome these challenges?

Dan Morris: I would say the biggest challenge that we face is passively evaluating shoppers in a natural shopping environment or “in the wild” as I like to say. It’s widely agreed upon that the best research comes out of situations when consumers aren’t aware that they are being evaluated. Our mission at PTG is to inconspicuously capture consumer engagement to advertising and marketing stimuli in highly contextual, real-world environments. To accomplish this we leverage passive, patented technology.

Specifically, how do you leverage technology to better collect shopper insight?

Dan Morris: Technology offers the power of discretion. For example, our on-shelf micro cameras are the size of a fingernail and can be hidden in a pricing tag on a store shelf. These powerful little devices capture consumers’ Saccadic Engagement and facial activity while examining in-store displays and/or product packaging. The resulting data includes how many shoppers viewed a test product and then approached it on-shelf, how engaged the shoppers were with what they saw and, finally, how long the shopper spent with the product. This holistic view of the shopper experience enables marketers to identify what consumers can’t articulate.

Today with substantial amount of shopping being done online – how are you connecting with shoppers in the online domain?

Dan Morris: More and more clients are turning to us to measure their e-commerce channels. And, again, technology is the key. We apply our inconspicuous research tools to measure the performance of online and mobile stores as it pertains to closure rates, time spent shopping, click-thru and purchase data. In addition to the diagnostic information that’s captured, our eye tracking and Saccadic Eye Movement Recording System determine the pattern of element examination including which elements are most noted and read. We also measure the level of engagement for each webpage as well as line-by-line copy readership. We have found specific treatment impact varies by size of the digital device, type of e-commerce shopping and layout of specific webpage.

Shoppers – especially the dissatisfied ones are very vocal in social media domains – so is it the right platform to gather shopper insight?

Dan Morris: We leave social insights to the social listening companies and rely on our pre-market research initiatives to give clients the information they need to avoid social mishaps and disgruntled consumers in the first place.

Can we reduce/remove human intervention when it comes to analyzing data we collect?

Dan Morris: I think we’re already witnessing low-touch and no-touch techniques when it comes to collecting and crunching data; however, in my opinion, when it comes to delivering real insights there’s no AI out there that can replace human analysis and reporting.

One aspect of our business that we’re most proud of is when a client says to us – “Wow, we had no idea”. By passively observing shoppers in a natural environment, we go into projects with a clean slate and an open mind and simply watch them by using our unobtrusive cameras. We capture human behaviors that have a major impact on our clients’ businesses. At PTG we like to say “we see what you don’t” and what we see on behalf of our clients is pretty powerful.

What changes have you seen in the observational techniques to collect shopper insights in the past decade?

Dan Morris: The most massive change has been in the sheer sophistication of the data collection methods. No longer do qualitative researchers need to evaluate customer experiences with a paper and pencil or rely on outdated technology that makes the shopper feel conspicuous while in a store. Today, we can intercept hundreds of shoppers on the way into a store and invite them to shop as they planned to shop while wearing our inconspicuous audio and video recording glasses.

PTG’s truVu glasses are equipped with patented auto product identification technology and built-in HD and high frame rate recording capabilities. The technology has been successfully used to understand shopper buying behaviors immediately before and after interaction with a test shelf or product; or we can even follow their entire path-to-purchase. For example, are there “hidden influencers” that are impacting noting and selection of a product such as display height, FSIs and/or similarity of surrounding colors? Is a product’s signage being seen? Are shoppers reading promotional messaging and taking action? Are shoppers being influenced by certain areas of a store? Are shoppers skipping certain aisles or even an entire section of a store? In addition to shoppers wearing the glasses, we have also designed research projects where interviewers unobtrusively record shoppers and qualitatively probe about their experiences without the need for video cameras.

Can you suggest some changes that will help market researchers better collect shopper insights?

Dan Morris: The most important change that I can suggest is making sure that shopper insights have been discovered by research that’s been conducted in a real-world environment. We’ve seen clients make decisions based solely upon research that was collected via virtual or simulated studies only for them to find out that the basic premise was wrong.

Can you share some examples where you have helped provide better insights about shopper behavior to your clients?

Dan Morris: Sure, we had a health and beauty client struggling with the sales of an organic version of one of their products. In response, we designed an in-store study where shoppers went about their business wearing our truVu glasses and identified that shoppers were undoubtedly looking for the organic product in the organic section rather than among the regular category section.

We have helped a side-dish manufacturer discover the best placement for signage – in a totally different section – which increased follow-up purchase in their section of the aisle.

PTG also helped a major appliance manufacturer better understand their big box store promotional needs by recording the specific “ah hah” moment when simple customer browsing of appliances and related in-store signage turned into serious examination and follow-up questions with a salesperson.

We also measured the impact of the location and display for a consumer electronic device by discovering which types of displays worked best in different types of store layouts. For instance, some displays are too large to be seen without sufficient distance and some are too small to be engaging in larger stores.

What will be some of the major changes that we will see in the market research future?

Dan Morris: The future is going to be marked by research passivity. Consumers will no longer have to be asked to answer surveys because researchers will be able to gauge consumer behavior, engagement, emotional response, and facial recognition without asking a single question. At PTG we’re well on our way to making this future a reality!

Be a Fly on the Wall with truVu

I just participated in a follow-up interview with Bob Lederer, host of the Research Business Daily Report, and I wanted to share our conversation about PTG’s truVu audio and video recording eyeglasses.

As discussed in the segment, truVu’s patented technology allows researchers to finally be inside a consumer’s laundry room, join in on a shopping trip, and tag along during a restaurant visit.

Today’s interview can also be found on RealTimes cloud.

I’m excited to discuss how truVu can take your research to new places.  I can be reached at 201.569.4800 or

A Better Predictor of Product Success

Many brand marketers and researchers rely upon on-shelf product noting as a key measure in predicting product and packaging success, but recent advancements in PTG’s consumer research technology have uncovered important new findings that contradict this approach.

In March 2014, PTG unveiled its truVu™ research solution that captures real life consumer experiences across a wide variety of locations including in-store, on-site and in-home. The truVu technology features discrete eyeglasses that use patent-pending auto product identification technology and built-in HD (high-definition) and HFR (high frame rate) audio and video recording capabilities that capture real life consumer experiences.

truVu Glasses

Over the past 18 months, we have analyzed over 4,000 global consumer shopping videos captured across 20 internal truVu studies that included a wide variety of product categories, and the findings dispel the idea that high product noting alone correlates with actual product purchase. PTG’s research on research shows that in a given shopping trip, an individual can note over 7,000 products, some multiple times, and yet the same individual only purchases an average of 17 products begging the question, “If high noting doesn’t strongly correlate to purchase behavior then what does?

Additional research from PTG identified that, while noting a product is essential, consumer product engagement and close-up approach is ultimately what is required for increased purchase activity.

To conduct this phase of the research, PTG utilized its patent-pending truResponse™ solution featuring an HD and HFR on-shelf micro camera that uniquely captures consumers’ Saccadic Engagement, a biometric indicator that measures cognitive processing, and facial activity while examining in-store displays and product packaging. The unobtrusive micro cameras were strategically placed on product shelves, POP displays and LCD monitors. Using proprietary facial recognition software, the cameras automatically recorded how many people viewed the test product, approached the test product, measured their Saccadic Engagement level, and ultimately how long the shopper spent with the product.

truResponse Micro Camera

What PTG concluded as a result of this research is measuring actual consumer engagement and product interaction, rather than simple product noting and recall, provided a much more comprehensive understanding of a product’s success and opportunities for increasing purchase.

These insights are very promising for our industry. For the first time we have identified not only a highly reliable predictor of sales success, but we also have the necessary tools to set a product up for increased success before it goes on-shelf. To learn more, please contact me at

Are your research investments helping the bottom line?

Pick up a copy of the WSJ, Fortune or Bloomberg Businessweek and you will see how things are dramatically changing for the research, marketing and advertising departments at some of the largest CPG companies. The new corporate mandate slashes costs by requiring all expenditures to help the bottom line. What does this mean for our industry? It means that research can no longer exist to mitigate risk; research needs to earn its seat at the table by paying for its own dinner.

In light of this new reality, it is incumbent on us to help our clients get the research results they need to prove value, drive more in-store dollars and make budgets work more efficiently. Here’s a sampling of five ways that our patented truVu™ audio and video recording glasses have gone well beyond justifying the expenses of the research.

• We recently helped a global CPG to strategically reduce their on-shelf SKUs by 25% while increasing the frequency of overall product pick-ups. This uptick in product interaction was essential to the increase in purchase activity because simply noting a package on-shelf has little correlation to sales.

• Working on behalf of a leading retailer, we identified how they should rearrange their organic and nonorganic items to give shoppers a full spectrum of available cleaning products which significantly increased sales in both categories.

• A snack food manufacturer asked PTG to help them increase their struggling in-store sales. What we found is the products lacked commonality in their packaging; however, with a strategically placed design element the SKUs blended together to form the equivalent of an on-shelf banner which greatly increased product visibility.

• Since the impact of a well placed and well designed POP display can offer up to a 300% increase in impulse sales, we were contacted by a multinational personal care company to help them to better understand why a recent POP effort wasn’t performing as expected. The video clips that we captured among shoppers quickly showed how the in-store placement of the display was being entirely missed. Once the display was moved to a different location the POP began performing as expected.

• A beauty retailer was struggling to understand why sales in one of their aisles were inexplicably down. Our in-store and exit interview research showed that the aisle in question lacked any compelling merchandise at the end of the aisle which would serve to entice shoppers to walk down the aisle and increase foot traffic. By replacing the end of aisle merchandise the retailer quickly saw sales bounce back.

Stay tuned for my next post where I will share similar bottom line building techniques for the advertising industry.

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