Is it possible to increase the effectiveness of an email campaign by 400%, including clickthrough and response rates? Well, yes, if you are willing to engage in a new form of market research, which uses customer brain waves to evaluate their true engagement to your brand or message.
PayPal can vouch for this after they hired a company called NeuroFocus to help formulate a coherent global image for one of the world's most visible online payment systems.
Picture one of your web customers with a "brain scan hat" wrapped around his skull as he patiently (or impatiently) clicks around your site and starts adding items to the PayPal shopping cart. Sensors measure electrical signals traveling through the brain, offering clues to positive and negative UI experiences.
Sensor hats can even be worn in daily life for testing purposes, although you may look as though you are on your way to a Star Trek convention. Response rates, said PayPal, went up from 4% to 16%.
But, the exact details of this strategy are still being kept under wraps. At least according to Fast Company.
NeuroFocus even offer some insights into the fabled Apple brand, including the Ipad, left behind by Steve Jobs. This is quite ironic, since everyone knows Jobs rejected using focus groups to influence hardware and software design inside Apple.
NeuroFocus said that our brains love curves but detest square or sharp edges. These are regarded as threats, something that dates back to our ancestors who avoided jagged stones, which could be used as weapons.
This, combined with the sleek design contours and weight balancing of the iPad, help stimulate positive signals in our brain.
"The touch screen, too, is a mental magnet and can induce those hormonal secretions," said Fast Company. The Ipad is hence ‘neuro-friendly’.
This may be one reason that IT managers are falling in love with cloud and mobile dashboards. The slick ability to slide CPU, RAM and hard disk capacity up and down with a just a few keystrokes generates a well-rounded user experience. The underlying complexity of the hardware is hidden, but no less powerful.
In fact, going back to the PayPal example, one of the features that sent customer brain waves into neurological heaven, was SPEED. Users appreciate the ability to quickly complete an e-commerce transaction with minimum fuss.
In tandem, cloud computing generally offers a fast, smooth 'rounded' experience. Both in terms of delivering web pages during seasonal spikes in activity, and, in terms of quickly provisioning new hardware resources for a company.
A very specific example of accelerated speed in cloud computing is that offered by Content Delivery Networks (CDN). These networks speed up the delivery of content, including video, no matter what the geographical location of the website visitor.
If your asking 'why now' with regards the increasing popularity of neuroscience marketing, the answer should be fairly obvious, as put forward by Checkout Magazine:
"With the proliferation of advertising in modern society, in its plethora of forms, there is a consensus among some quarters that consumers are growing increasingly immune to traditional forms of advertising and promotion, decreasing their effectiveness as a consequence."
We live in a world of acronyms including SEO, CRM and SaaS. And in recent months (maybe years!) you have become accustomed to phrases such as 'cloudbursting' and the 'elastic' nature of 'cloud computing'.
Several years ago, it's doubtful whether the average housewife or small business owner would have been familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or its paid counter-part, Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
But these days they often manage their own campaigns in Google and even optimize and update their website through WordPress and Social Media.
But, do you know them all, especially those relating to the cloud? Here are just a few that caught our attention. It is by no means the most extensive list but we hope you find them useful.
How many of these acronyms or phrases are you familiar with?
CDN - Content Delivery Network. Multiple computers store content across different locations offering accelerated download speeds and higher reliability. Our CDNs are superfast and help you gain traction on Google.
Cloud Bridge - running an app in such a way that its components are integrated within multiple cloud environments (which could be any combination of internal/private and external/public clouds). Ask about hybrid clouds, which help you suck the best features out of both private and public models.
Cloud Center - datacenter in the “cloud” that rents out virtual infrastructure. We often refer to this as IaaS or Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Ask about 10,000 square foot data center in London which spearheads our cloud delivery platform.
Cloud Envy - hmmm, what's this? According to Cloudtimes.org this describes a vendor who jumps on the cloud bandwagon for rebranding purposes. Thus, beware: Not all cloud vendors are created equal. See why here!
Cloud OS - More commonly referred to as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) made popular by Google marketing its Google Chrome OS in the mainstream press. By the way, one of our recent whitepapers describes PaaS and predicts that this will eventually become the most dominant form of Cloud Service in the next few years.
Cloudstorming -- Take a bunch of different cloud environments and connect them together and you have a perfect storm, or cloud that is. We love cloudstorming and offer both Xen and VMware clouds to our customers.
HaaS - Hardware-as-a-Service. More commonly referred to as IaaS. But, a simple way to understand this is by imagining how IT experts are turning hardware into software. This is really what it's about.
Mashup - A web based app that combines data or functionality from multiple sources. Think of all the apps associated with Google Maps or FourSquare and you have a picture of what's going on here. Some of the best Internet Apps of the decade are crafted using mashups!
Utility computing - This is a term borrowed from the Power industry which blended metered billing and services into a fine art form that expresses the best tenants of capitalism. Cloud computing builds upon this model. Read about the benefits of cloud computing.
Where to go from here? Check out these sources for more clarification on Cloud terms, acronyms and phrases:
Cloud Times: http://cloudtimes.org/glossary/
Failure has become an option. At least according to Forbes Magazine who concludes that cloud computing now allows businesses a low-cost way to try and fail with new ideas.
This fast track to innovation is made possible within all three layers of the cloud stack: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
But, the hard part is finding a hosting provider you can trust and one who can help you leverage the opportunities found in each layer.
The Virtual Internet Cloud Data Centers stack up extremely well against our competition including traditional heavyweights such as RackSpace and Amazon EC2. In fact, one key distinguishing feature of VI services is our ability to offer both Xen OnApp Servers and VMware cloud solutions.
We were one of the first providers in the UK to offer this dual capability which means customers have a wide choice of options when testing and deploying new Internet applications. This enables faster service and faster time to market especially in the IaaS and PaaS layers. Within SaaS, Virtual Internet offers robust online office options via hosted Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint Portal.
With the recent opening of our U.S. data centers we have also jumped past both Amazon and Data Pipe in terms of geographical cloud distribution points.
Further, several of our competitors are unable to offer both private and public clouds.
And, very few competitors, including Rackspace or Amazon give you direct access to an engineer as we do via any cloud service you purchase.
Our cloud servers are built on top of a fully redundant infrastructure with automatic failover mechanisms built in.
Combined, this infrastructure firepower allows us to move towards fulfilling the third stage of cloud advancement identified by the London School of Economics: Radical innovation business design.
In this scenario, business executives are actually provisioning and decommissioning parts of a business on as-need basis. This is an extreme maturation of the concept "on-demand" which characterizes cloud computing.
"This is a step beyond software as a service or infrastructure as a service, and amounts to the offering of “business processes as a service”—configured business services and processes provided from the cloud," said Professor Willcocks, Dr. Venters and Dr. Whitely, of the London School of Economics & Political Science.
"These would be assessed not just through typical service-level agreements but against key business performance indicators."
The statements made by the LSE are a crystal ball gaze into future business structures; so agile they would simply terminate a non-performing section of business in minutes (or hours) using the up-and-down scaling power of the cloud.
And, how on earth are they coming up with these bold predictions? Actually "where on earth" may be a better way of phrasing this question.
They have been studying new adaptive forms of organizational structures found at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
"To make possible the staggering 15 million gigabytes of data that are being produced every year by the LHC’s experiments, there was a need to create a global organization of collaborators."
“140 computer research facilities at various universities and research facilities were pooled together to create a grid computing IaaS.“
The implications of doing this were mind-boggling. It required transcending global political bearuacries, diverse technical differences and business processes. It meant organizing an international system of support, upgrades and technological innovation.
The result is the first example of an agile Business-Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS). It's founded upon collaboration and shared cloud-based technology. It is the most extreme form of offering scalable IaaS "on demand" for over 15 million gigabytes of data.
While we don't claim that Virtual Internet is anywhere as powerful as the CERN organization (yet!), we do strive towards the same goals. For the last several years we have been consolidating, uniting and upgrading our cloud IaaS to move towards offering an international suite of cloud services that traverse the public, private and hybrid spheres.
This provides a platform for enterprise businesses to scale up and down with regards consumer demand, at cost effective prices. It provides a compelling alternative to the cost and complexity of running servers in-house or trying to emulate the private clouds we already offer.
The companies that survive the future will be the ones that can innovate-on-demand. We are one of the few hosting providers that can help you realize this capability across every layer of the cloud stack.
We had 2 action packed days at the eCommerce Expo this week, and had great feedback on our cloud hosting for online retail organizations. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of cloud for eCommerce, visit our Cloud Hosting for eCommerce page to watch the video, download the eCommerce white paper and fact sheet, and more.
Next stop, the Great British Business Show
Earls Court 2, London, 17 - 18 November, 2011
Register at the Great British Business Show, and find out for free, what you can be doing to improve, expand and evolve your business. Stop by our stand #612 to learn how our hosting solutions can help you grow your business.
Join our seminar:
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MOVE YOUR BUSINESS INTO THE CLOUD
14.00 - 14.30
THURSDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2011
Considering a cloud computing strategy for your business? Then don't miss this presentation. Join Sholto Vaughan of Virtual Internet as he discusses how you can get your head in the cloud while still keeping your feet on the ground. Sholto will arm you with the facts behind the cloud revolution and the real benefits it can offer your business, meaning you can tackle the big switch with confidence.
- Where did cloud computing come from, virtually speaking
- How to evaluate if cloud is right for you, and if so which cloud
- How you can save time, resource, and money by putting your website and applications in the cloud
Please take a look at the list of events we're participating in check and back often as it frequently evolves. We hope to see you very soon.