Cognitive Mapping Can Lead Customers To Checkout

We often talk about placing the customer, not the brand, in the center of the action online.
According to Technology Review, the brainiacs at MIT are well beyond just talking about it. They’re doing it.

The researchers built a prototype website for British Telecom, set up to sell broadband plans. The website is designed so that the first few clicks that visitors make are likely to reveal aspects of cognitive style. For example, the initial page that a user sees lets her choose, among other things, to compare plans using a chart or to interact with a broadband advisor. “You can see that someone who’s very analytic is probably more likely to go to ‘compare plans’ than to the direct advisor,” says John Hauser, a professor of marketing at the Sloan School. Within about 10 clicks, the system makes a guess at the user’s cognitive style and morphs to fit. “If we determine that you like lots of graphs, you’re going to start seeing lots of graphs,” he says. “If we determine that you like to get advice from peers, you’re going to see lots of advice from peers.”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.