Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magnetize the Consumer with Mystery

Introducing a new alternative to the consumer? Then present a mystery. This is a technique to be used with caution, but when done well, it can be surprisingly effective. For example, magnetizing with mystery arouses the consumer’s interest in a small to midsize retail business that wants to distinguish itself from larger competitors.
     Researchers at Indiana University and University of Colorado-Boulder explored how this works for an unfamiliar alternative carrying ambiguous category designations:
  • In a product line you already carry, you’re offering a new brand that has unusual features—such as a dog food that is sold frozen—so that the prospective purchaser may be uncertain what category it belongs to—in this case, either the pet food category or the frozen food category
  • You’re introducing a multifunction product—such as an exercise device and MP3 player—where it could be placed in different categories—in this case, either the exercise device category or the music player category
  • You’re a new store in town, and with the objective of succeeding through diversification, you offer an assortment of products that cross traditional category designations—such as carrying sporting goods, camping supplies, and house paint
     The challenge is to position the new offering in the consumer’s mind so they know what category or categories to place it into. You see, people are more comfortable shopping when they know the category.
     One advertising alternative is to announce the brand, item, or store name and then boldly tell the consumer what category you want them to place it into. In doing this, you’re counting on the audience caring. Often, they don’t.
     The “mystery ad” alternative evaluated by the Indiana/Colorado researchers consists of waiting until the end of the ad to announce the name. Start off with an unusual story or absurd humor that dramatizes the category—exercise machine, let’s say—but hooks the ad’s viewer or listener into thinking “What’s this commercial for, anyway?”
     The researchers found mystery ads were significantly more effective than traditional ads in making the name-category link memorable.
     Recall I said that you need to use caution with mystery ads: Be sure to announce the name at the end boldly. Advertising pioneer David Ogilvy said long ago, “Use the name within the first ten seconds.” Mystery ads change that advice to, “Drill in the name within the last five seconds.”

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Compare Unknown Brands to Best-Known Brands
Use Signage to Categorize Items
Know How Shoppers Interpret Your Words
Joke Around to Facilitate the Sale

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