Keeping up with Marketing trade publications is difficult, but it is often the best way to keep from lagging too far behind when it comes to knowledge of the latest and greatest applications that Marketers can use. It’s also important to check niche technology publications to see what may be coming down the horizon.
In the October 2009 issue of Speech Technology, there was a short column on a controversial concept that was being marketed by vendors at SpeechTEK 2009, a major trade show for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) industry.
The concept of Reverse Speech seems to have a small, cult-like following that The Marketing Consigliere does not understand. To be able to take someone’ speech, record it, play it backwards, and use analytical tools to find ulterior messages in that speech coming from someone’s unconcious sounds like a pastime in the same arena as divining entrails and tea leaves.
Some of us remember the rumor of Paul McCartney’s death as revealed by backmasking a song on a Beatles’ album. While with today’s technology one could sound engineer all sorts of things in an audio and video file, it’s a ludicrous leap to say that the brain, while fantastically more advanced than any computer, is hiding backward messages in planned or extemporaneous speech. A search of reverse speech on the Internet shows no scholarly physiological or neurological research validating the claims of “reverse speechers.”
Marketers don’t need reverse speech to understand what the needs and drivers of a customer are. Salesmen may need to look at a client, note body language and simply listen to what a customer is saying to his or her face.
Marketers need real technologies to solve their problems; and the data mining and behavioral marketing promise of forward speech analytics is real. But before going anywhere near the path of reverse speech, remember this variation of a famous Sigmund Freud saying:
Sometimes (actually always) a cigar is never a ragic.