Tell me no lies: Using science to connect with consumers


  • Dan Hill

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    • DAN HILL is president of Sensory Logic, Inc., a scientific consumer insights firm that specializes in gauging both verbal and nonverbal subconscious reactions to marketing communications, store environments, product design, packaging, and presentation. Sensory Logic is located in St. Paul, MN


Traditionally, we have viewed purchasing as a fundamentally rational process and have sought to persuade customers using reason-based features, attributes, and benefits marketing strategies. Market research testing has followed a parallel path, seeking logical verbal explanations to analyze consumers' motivations. However, major findings in brain research over the last decade have altered our understanding of how we, as consumers, make decisions—suggesting that our most immediate “gut” reactions take place in the emotion center of the brain rather than in the rational neocortex. This article explores the key science concepts that are guiding us toward an approach to marketing that has more heart, that is more mind–body centered than cognitive. Specific research tools will be introduced along with strategic, psychological perspectives on direct-mail and Internet marketing.