After finishing Malcolm Gladwell's recent book, Blink, I've been thinking more about the tools that can help marketers understand how their audience truly perceives their messages. If we want to increase our success and, at the same time, improve the experience for the people we communicate with, we must continue to dig-in and understand how our audience interacts with our messages.
A great example of a next generation tool for marketers was mentioned during the recent teleseminar I held with Anne Holland and Stefan Tournquist from MarketingSherpa. While the teleseminar was focused on landing pages, Anne and Stefan introduced us all to a new tool from a company called Eyetools. By placing a camera over a monitor and tracking the eye movements of the user, Eyetools can create a graphical map of a Web page that shows which parts of the page were viewed and to what degree.
Most people are completely unaware of how they read or scan a page. Therefore, it's not surprising that marketers tend to design emails and Web pages without taking into account how their audience really reads them (hint: they don't read everything you write and don't look at all of your images). Take a look at the Eyetools Web site and check out their samples - it will probably "open your eyes" to some new possibilities in email design.