The New Coke. Pizza Hut Low-Calorie Pizza. Earring Magic Ken. What do all of these have in common? They are products that consumers said they wanted, but when the products were introduced, they flopped.
As consumer behavioral consultants know, consumers often have little true understanding of what motivates their shopping decisions. They may say one thing, but they are often unaware of the subconscious influences that influence their choices. This is why smart marketers pay less attention to what their customers say and more attention to what they do.
Philip Graves, renowned consumer behavioral consultant (Consumer.ology) gives the following examples from the wine industry:
- When wine stores played classical music rather than pop, consumers spend three times as much when shopping for a bottle of wine.
- When researchers switched labels to show the wine as being made in a more desirable region, consumers rated that wine more highly.
- Brain scans indicated that participants genuinely experienced more pleasure when drinking the re-labeled wine, even though the wine itself was the same.
What should this tell you? That you should be using metrics on each and every piece of print marketing. You should be regularly changing up the elements to see how customers react. What will they do if you use this image instead of that one? Does it make a difference if you change the wording? What if you offer a different incentive or use different timing? Monitor the responses and see what happens.
This is how Google found out that its customers prefer smaller, faster maps over the larger ones. Its market research indicated that consumers wanted the maps to be larger, but when it followed the research and enlarged the maps, map traffic actually dropped. When Google changed its maps to smaller, faster versions, map traffic increased by 23%!
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