UVU ‘SMART Lab’ brings technology to marketing

Posted at 9:42 PM, Dec 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-07 23:42:23-05

OREM, Utah -- The " Sales and Marketing Applied Research Tech Lab" at the Utah Valley University School of Business is also known as the SMART Lab, and it is a big part of the marketing department at the school.

The purpose of the lab is to train students and help local businesses with the most advanced marketing techniques and technologies.

“Marketing used to be about, just create a piece of communication and send it out there and hope it works,” said Jefferson Lyman, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Vivint. “And marketing now, especially in the last ten years, has been eaten alive by software.”

So to keep up with that technology, the SMART Lab is fighting back with some high-tech resources of its own. One of the products are eye tracking glasses. People walk through a store and the glasses track where the people look.

"So we can see when they look at a package, or an ad, what they're actually reading and how much time they're spending looking at a component of those ads,” said Professor Paul Dishman of Utah Valley University.

Dale Jolley, director of the SMART Lab, spoke about the findings from such glasses when applied to an advertisement for diapers.

"You can see that most of the time, folks focused on the baby,” he said. “That was their greatest interest. Now that's great if you're selling babies, but we're not in the baby selling business here. We're in the diaper business. So not a real effective ad. But by making a simple adjustment to that ad, having the baby turn to look at the text, all the sudden this becomes a much more effective ad."

But marketing is about more than what you see on an advertisement. It's about how it makes you feel. So the lab also includes EEGs,  which measure 14 brain waves to determine the emotion of people looking at the ads.

David Jorgensen, a graduate student who assists in the lab, said that gives them great insight.

“So if a person is feeling frustrated as they're looking at a picture, we can determine that,” he said. “We can determine if they're bored, if they're excited, if they're feeling empty. Various emotions that we can measure."

Advertising and marketing are only part of selling a product, a big part is the sales people.

“If you think about it, the most expensive promotional tool for an organization is their sales person,” Jolley said. “So you want that sales person to be as effective as possible."

Jolley said it's important that sales people are able to not only recognize their own facial expressions and body language, but that they are also able to recognize and respond to their customer's.

The smart lab is equipped with cameras and facial coding technology that tracks people's movements, explaining what each one means to a customer.

The UVU SMART Lab is the only lab in the state that brings together all of these marketing technologies in one place.

Vivint chose to have the lab at Utah Valley because of its proximity to a large number of businesses who use the technology.