Category Archives: consumer behavior

10 Tech Trends Driving Connected Consumer Behavior [infographic]

To help innovators understand and prepare for future consumer demand, Gfk has chosen the ten key Tech Trends they believe will have the most impact on consumer needs and behavior in 2016 and beyond. For an overview, check out the ten trends in this infographic.

Innovate to Motivate

Woman-hanging-pictureThink about the last time you bought something, and ask yourself a simple question: why did I buy it? Well, the answer most certainly is that you felt you needed it. Something motivated you to shop for that item, buy it, and use it. Consumers only buy things when they’re motivated.

Understanding consumer behavior starts with understanding motivation. If you know what drives people to buy products and services, you can make sure your products and services have the right features and benefits people want. But it’s more than that. If you also understand how that motivation to buy develops inside a person, you can communicate more effectively what your products and services do. You’ll understand when people are most likely to buy, and that helps you market to them more effectively.

First, let’s look at some definitions. You need to understand the difference between needs and wants. Needs are a perceived lack of something. Needs are the basis of all motivation. When you sense you're missing something, you become motivated. If you become motivated enough, then you want it. Wants are the specific satisfiers to fill that gap. In other words, when consumers sense a gap in something, they first ask themselves, “Do I need this?”. If so, they move from needing it to wanting it. They are motivated!

So how do you motivate a consumer? You have to show consumers how your products and services connect to the things consumers want. For that, you use a tool called Feature Benefit Laddering. Think of Feature Benefit Laddering as unpacking your product or service by starting with its primary features and how they connect to the benefits they generate and how those benefits ladder up to the values people want.

Here’s an example. Imagine we’re selling drill bits. How do we motivate consumers to buy drill bits? Here’s my Feature Benefit Ladder. Think of the steps of a ladder. At the bottom rung is your product. Right above that are its main features, sharp spiraling edges, length, material, and so on. Then, above each feature is the primary benefit it delivers. In the case of a drill bit, that is simply a hole. Keep going, and you see that you can do a lot of things with a hole, including hanging a picture, and so on.

To motivate consumers, we start by showing how their homes would be more comfortable if they just had memorable pictures on their walls, pictures like family vacations and so one. That makes them realize they’re missing something. Then, we have to show them how drilling a hole let’s them hang that picture. That activates them to want a drill bit to fill that need. And finally, we direct that want to our specific model of drill bit and show how ours does it better than the competitors.

Great innovators motivate by activating needs and directing wants. You create a feature benefit ladder starting from the bottom up. But then you motivate consumers starting at the top and working down.

What Consumers Must Learn to Adopt New Innovations

Think about the last time you bought a car or perhaps a computer. Now, think about the next time you’ll buy one of those items. Are you going to do it exactly the same way as before? If you’re like most consumers, the answer is probably not. That’s because you learned some things from the first experience that will improve your purchasing behavior on the next experience. That's especially true with new, innovative products.

As a marketer, you need to understand how people learn about being a consumer and what they do with that knowledge once they learn it. Marketers can play a key role in helping consumers be better at it. After all, we’re not born to be consumers. Consumer behavior is something we have to learn if we ever want to buy products and services.

Let’s look at what consumers have to learn. First, they need to have at least general product knowledge before they’ll buy it. Think about buying a car. Most people have no idea how a car’s engine works, but they certainly know how to drive a car, what kinds of features they might expect, and how a car handles on the road. Over time, they gain more knowledge about cars and how they work, how to maintain them, and so on.

Consumers also need to have brand knowledge. The starting point for learning about brands is basic awareness. That means that you’ve heard of it and may recognize its logo, but you don’t know much about it. But over time, as you learn more about it, you begin to associate certain characteristics with it. Eventually, you know a lot about the brand and its core brand promise. Try this. Write down on a piece of paper all the brands of automobiles that you can recall. Now, beside each brand, write down what it stands for and write at least one characteristic about it. You should see pretty quickly that your knowledge of brands varies quite a bit. That’s typical of most consumers.

Next, consumers have to have purchasing knowledge. That means they have to know how to buy the product, where to buy, and what it’ll cost in terms of the pricing and other factors like financing. It may seem obvious, but the first time you buy something, you have to learn these factors. If I told you to go out and buy a piece of medical equipment for treating gall bladders, you’d have to do a lot of research unless you’re a medical professional now.

Once a consumer buys something, they have to have consumption knowledge. That means they have to learn how to use a product to get the full benefits from it. It also might include learning how to maintain the product or even dispose of it. Think about buying a new car. If you’re like me, it takes quite a while to learn all about the new features and benefits of today’s cars. With an owner’s manual this thick, I still don’t use many features of my new car. For marketers, this is important because it may lead the consumer to think they’re not getting their money’s worth if they’re not using a product to its fullest potential. You want your customers to be satisfied, so you have to make sure they learn the right way to consume your product.
Finally, consumers need to have self-knowledge. It may sound obvious, but the more a person knows about their personal tastes, their preferences, and their strengths and weakness, the more effective they’ll be at buying products and services that satisfy their needs.

As a marketer, you’re really an educator. And your students? Those are your customers. The more you can help them learn these factors, the more successful you’ll be at satisfying them.

 

 

 

Consumer Driven Innovation

CbInnovation is all about creating products and services that make your company more competitive in the marketplace. Those actions typically include generating ideas, creating prototypes, building the business case, and getting alignment to launch. Marketers must develop a strategy to know where to focus their resources. They must segment, target, and position the offering. Finally, they have to execute their plan by developing a coordinated set of marketing tactics including what products and services to offer, pricing, distribution approaches, and marketing communications.

There’s a lot at stake. If you get it wrong, you might be wasting a lot of money that could have been spent on other things. Even worse, you could lose valuable revenues and the profits that go along with those revenues. Long term, you might start losing customer loyalty. As you can see, you've got to get this right, right from the start.

One very important way to sharpen the focus of your marketing initiatives is to apply the principles and concepts of consumer behavior – how people think, decide, and act when buying things. When you embrace consumer behavior, you’re putting the customer at the center of all your marketing activities.

Here’s an example. Consumers often buy products and services that help shape the image they have of themselves. If you understand that phenomena and develop your programs to help the customer associate your product with their self-image, you'll be more successful.

The study of consumer behavior doesn’t apply to just individual consumers like you and me. In business-to-business industries, companies buy products too. If you’re in a B2B company, you’ll need well-thought out marketing programs to reach through to these more difficult clients.

Organizations are made up of people, and guess what? The concepts of consumer behavior apply to them too. Understanding consumer behavior will sharpen your B2B marketing campaigns and make them more effective.

Think of marketing as entire spectrum of activities and decisions. It starts with strategies on how to acquire and retain customers, followed by segmenting, targeting, and positioning your offering, and then implementing the right products, at the right price, through the right channels, and promoted with the right marketing message. You can improve what you do at every point along this spectrum by applying the principles of consumer behavior.

The best marketers are those that have the customer’s interest at heart when creating new products and services, and a solid understanding of consumer behavior can help you just that.

Consumer Driven Innovation

CbInnovation is all about creating products and services that make your company more competitive in the marketplace. Those actions typically include generating ideas, creating prototypes, building the business case, and getting alignment to launch. Marketers must develop a strategy to know where to focus their resources. They must segment, target, and position the offering. Finally, they have to execute their plan by developing a coordinated set of marketing tactics including what products and services to offer, pricing, distribution approaches, and marketing communications.

There’s a lot at stake. If you get it wrong, you might be wasting a lot of money that could have been spent on other things. Even worse, you could lose valuable revenues and the profits that go along with those revenues. Long term, you might start losing customer loyalty. As you can see, you've got to get this right, right from the start.

One very important way to sharpen the focus of your marketing initiatives is to apply the principles and concepts of consumer behavior – how people think, decide, and act when buying things. When you embrace consumer behavior, you’re putting the customer at the center of all your marketing activities.

Here’s an example. Consumers often buy products and services that help shape the image they have of themselves. If you understand that phenomena and develop your programs to help the customer associate your product with their self-image, you'll be more successful.

The study of consumer behavior doesn’t apply to just individual consumers like you and me. In business-to-business industries, companies buy products too. If you’re in a B2B company, you’ll need well-thought out marketing programs to reach through to these more difficult clients.

Organizations are made up of people, and guess what? The concepts of consumer behavior apply to them too. Understanding consumer behavior will sharpen your B2B marketing campaigns and make them more effective.

Think of marketing as entire spectrum of activities and decisions. It starts with strategies on how to acquire and retain customers, followed by segmenting, targeting, and positioning your offering, and then implementing the right products, at the right price, through the right channels, and promoted with the right marketing message. You can improve what you do at every point along this spectrum by applying the principles of consumer behavior.

The best marketers are those that have the customer’s interest at heart when creating new products and services, and a solid understanding of consumer behavior can help you just that.