When marketing drives value 

Realistic projections suggest that marketing investments globally have not come back to pre-pandemic levels. Upended supply chains, geopolitics and inflation are keeping brands cautious and spending levels low. But especially when facing recessionary times, activation is critical. So now more than ever brands need to ensure marketing delivers value in the only metric that counts: the purchase transaction. 

In November of 2021 Forbes reported on findings from the “Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey that during that year marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue fell to their lowest level in recent history, accounting for only 6.4% of company revenue in 2021.”

Marketing budgets as percentage of total revenue

Source: Gartner’s Annual CMO Spend Survey

To put that in context, some large companies pre-pandemic are reported to have spent as much as 12-15% of revenue on marketing budgets that include advertising, POSM, packaging, mechanizing, promotions, sponsorships and PR. 

Bottom line: even in a climate of reduced spending, the aggregated cost of marketing can be calculated in trillions of dollars globally, and more pressure than ever is felt by virtually all companies that every dollar spent on marketing must deliver measurable value. 

Thinking about our promise to help clients optimize the impact of marketing, we see the wisdom in a quote attributed to American automotive and business pioneer Henry Ford: “Nothing happens until someone sells something.”

The moment of marketing value creation 

Marketing materializes as tangible creator of value when a consumer chooses you, your brand, your service or your product, and money changes hands in a purchase transaction. Whether that purchase is made in online retail or in a brick-and-mortar physical store, we believe that the most important metric for evaluating marketing success is being selected in the moment of transaction choice. This is, quite literally, THE most important moment in marketing.

So, for us, the goal is to leverage our decades of experience, digital technology, a behavioral framework and AI based analytics to ensure that your marketing efforts lead to a consumer choice and purchase. 

The foundation of our digital-first approach to achieving this goal is the provision of reliable, actionable and predictive metrics for the elements that live closest to that marketing moment of truth, the purchase transaction. Whether that is delivering predictive KPIs of packaging and shopper marketing that leads to a transaction in physical or digital retail, or consultative analysis of the moments in which to influence choice along the omnichannel shopper path-to-purchase, our decades of category expertise and validated behavioral framework provide simple and actionable recommendations for more successful marketing. 

Marrying behavioral expertise and digital tech solutions

We have been deeply immersed for decades in the applications of behavioral science – its principles that illuminate inducements and inhibitors, especially in driving our clients retail growth. Knowing the science as deeply as we do, we have grounded our product innovation strategies around our clients’ need to demystify the often-complicated application of behavioral science to consumer insights and make it something that could yield tangible guidelines for marketing optimization. We therefore built our simple framework for evaluating marketing metrics around benefits and barriers that influence consumer choice.

  • Benefits – conveying a compelling motivation for a purchase choice.
  • Barriers – aspects of marketing that introduce friction, which can derail desired transactions. 

By identifying these simple drivers, we help clients to influence the way their products can be seen, shoppable, seductive and selected along the touch points of the shopper journey. To learn more about our behavioral framework and its academic basis you can reference our blog series, please click here.

In parallel, we have taken arguably our greatest asset, our extensive database of product and retail shelf designs, and accelerated the process for comparing new packs and POSM against this database to reveal predictive KPI scores and recommendations for improvement, using AI image recognition technology. The resulting products and services, like Flash.AI™ enable low cost, rapid assessment of early-stage designs and extensive benchmarking that lead to more successful transactions across all retail channels. AI image recognition also powers Flash.PDP™, our SaaS-based subscription solutions for optimizing imagery on e-commerce product pages to enhance and ensure better sales conversion metrics. 

When clients choose our tech-enabled behavioral solutions for evaluating, validating, and optimizing marketing executions, they improve the odds of any shopper marketing leading to that moment of value creation when the purchase transaction occurs. Clear for the insights team, actionable for the brand marketers and reassuring to the C-suite who wants evidence backed guidelines for actions and growth, not hypotheses. 

To see benefits and barriers in action as a means of evaluating how products can be seen, shoppable, seductive and selected in retail environments, and we have shared our expertise, as it relates to the power of packaging as a component of marketing, in an e-book that bears that name. 

In it, we have shared best-practices, case studies, illustrative examples and synthesis of decades of category experience helping clients win in physical and now digital retail. We urge you to have a look (it is available in English, German and French) and ask us how these principles can be applied to your marketing growth goals.

In addition, we have developed an e-book identifying the pain points felt by e-commerce marketers in the challenges of online retail. We showcase how use of AI image recognition can be used to manage and optimize product imagery in online retail product pages, so it leads to better conversions and online transactions.

Delivering on this brand promise 

We are convinced that the most important thing an insights partner can deliver in 2022 and beyond is a partnership that enables clients to seize that moment in which all their hard work and financial investment in marketing pays off. With this commitment as our purpose, we have created and continue to invest in three priorities: 

  • Behavioral research methodologies for influencing choice across the holistic purchase journey to deliver successful transactions for our clients.
  • A digital-first product stack, leveraging best in class AI and advanced analytics and our unparalleled database to define and diagnose behavioral benefits and barriers so marketers can create more valuable transactions.
  • The best team of experts who bring our experience, expertise and passion that enable us to be the world’s number one partner in driving the most important moments in marketing.

We are Behaviorally, The Transaction Experts! We are proud to enable the most important moment in which marketing value is created.


Alex HuntBased in New York, Alex Hunt is a recognized pioneer in the practical application of behavioral science to shopper marketing in order to help clients develop consumer experience that drive business growth. Prior to his role as CEO of Behaviorally, where he has been the chief architect of the agency’s purpose, services, and brand promise, Hunt served as global CEO of PRS IN VIVO, having joined the firm in October 2018.

Before joining PRS IN VIVO, Hunt spent a decade building System1 Research (formerly BrainJuicer). Latterly, leading client-facing teams across 14 global offices as well as serving as an Executive Director of the System1 Group PLC Board. Hunt’s career began at Kantar Millward Brown working in both the UK and U.S.

Hunt is acknowledged as an industry thought leader and a regular contributor to industry events as an advocate for the power of consumer insights to fuel commercial growth.