UK - Market Knows What You Think

Arno Froese

Traditional market research, based on clipboards and questions, has a glaring weakness, according to Carl Wong, who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. 

He says people cannot answer some questions honestly because they are not aware of their own deep underlying motives.

“We are all influenced by things we’re not able, or willing, to reflect on at the time a purchasing decision is taken or when we answer a survey question,” says Mr. Wong.

That gap in our understanding is being filled by a data-rich world that generates masses of information about our inner desires through tracking cookies and a host of other clues we leave behind as we trek across websites that pique our interest.

Jason Brownlee researches consumer behavior on a grand scale, fueled by the social media data explosion and the resulting caches of big data. 

The founder of Colourtext, a data analysis and consumer insights specialist, is based in a village in the Lake District. But he can follow all our movements from his rural idyll. “People leave digital footprints behind them,” he says. 

He has studied news consumption patterns, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to peer into the trail people left as they viewed 100,000 news articles online.

“The rule was that people who go to show business stories tend not to be interested in politics,” says Mr. Brownlee.

Market researchers can understand human behavior as never before by trawling through this trove of data.

Facial expressions can now be put under a data analysis microscope for first time, says Mr. Wong, who works for US analytics software house Medallia after selling them his Merseyside-based consumer insights business, Living Lens.

His technology measures a face at multiple points with different patterns emerging depending on the emotions it expresses. These patterns alter with age, sex and race. Show AI software enough examples of these patterns and it can begin to establish what a person is feeling. 

By plunging into the cloud with its own software consumer research giant Kantar confirmed that we are incapable of being truthful to market researchers trying to establish what really floats our boat. 

“Talking to a camera is a very effective tool, but what people say is often miles apart from what they feel, there are so many unconscious factors at play,” says Jon Puleston of Kantar.

Kantar applies AI to a bank of human emotions recorded on film and assembled in the cloud and demystifies our real sentiments. This unlocks the ingredients of a Hollywood crowd-pleaser. 

Market researchers may have given up knocking on our front doors with their clipboards, but technology is allowing them to get inside our heads. 

-www.bbc.com, 18 June 2021

Arno's Commentary

What is all this research about? We may answer with one word: merchandise. What the person’s flaws are, what they fear, and what they feel is essential to marketing. 

We remember decades ago at one of our prophecy conferences, Peter Lalonde spoke about “invisible advertising.” During a movie—unbeknown to the public watching—split-second inserts were made about popcorn, which went unnoticed by most. The result? During the intermission, popcorn was quickly sold out. Today, technology is a million miles ahead, and it determines what you think and buy. 

This development is part of the great deception, which the Bible calls “signs and lying wonders.” What we do know from Scripture is that the mourning and lamenting is about lost merchandise: “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:9-10).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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