Opening Statements

On Track: Law Firm Marketer Makes the Most of Eye-Map Technology

A correction has been made to this story.

Posted Apr 1, 2012 4:50 AM CDT
By Jill Schachner Chanen

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When law firm marketer Ross Fishman began working with Vedder Price on a campaign to publicize the firm’s new London office, and specifically its global transportation financing practice, the possibilities seemed endless.

Fishman and the firm eventually settled on a choice of two images for the firm’s new website. One was eye-catching with a large bearskin hat dominating the design. The other subordinated graphics to text. For the firm, both concepts (which were to be used on a new homepage for the London office and in marketing materials) did the trick. The question was which one did it better.

The question wasn’t new for Fishman. He’s been relying on his 20-plus years of experience in the industry and intuition as a onetime commercial litigator to answer the question. But this time Fishman decided to use eye-map technology to support his thoughts.

The technology, which tracks where a user’s eyes focus first and linger the longest, is revealing for anyone in marketing. Those in the business take the resulting data as proof of what consumers process when looking at ads, packages, logos and other marketing materials, says Fishman of High land Park, Ill.

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The same web pages viewed using eye-map technology.

Until now, getting that data has been cost-prohibitive for all but the largest of Fortune 500 companies, Fishman says. But recent technological innovations have brought the technology to the home computer user via webcam, he says.

“For example when it shows you a website, your eyes look here and there and the technology measures your eye movement to the tenth of a second,” Fishman says. “It knows exactly what caught your attention first, where your eyes move next and how long you lingered on a spot.”

The data is supplemented through answers to questions like those asked in focus groups.

Dean Gerber, chair of Vedder Price’s global transportation finance practice group, says he and others in the firm thought the eye tracking would confirm their choice of the more text-heavy image, and it did. “We had a very complex international audience, and we hoped to use one of these campaigns as the platform for our group’s 2012 marketing initiatives,” he says.

Fishman says the technology can teach a valuable lesson for anyone ready to launch a new marketing campaign. “Websites and print ads are very different. People go to your website because they are trying to get information,” he says. “People are not browsing law firm websites because they find them fascinating. We are not Britney Spears. We don’t have fan bases where people are fascinated by every move we make. We have to balance conveying our information with keeping [potential clients’] interest.”

Correction

"On Track," April, should have identified the type of hat featured in the photo of a law firm's website as a bearskin.

The Journal regrets the error.

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