Thursday, July 4, 2013

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

In his book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff, psychologist Richard Carlson urged everybody—including retailers—to keep a sense of perspective in life. This advice resonated with readers. The book spent two years on The New York Times Best Sellers list and ended up being published in over thirty languages.
     The reality of retailing, though, is that it’s not all small stuff. Some things do make a substantial difference to the shopper. A more accurate title—even if unwieldy—would be Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and realize you can influence what the shopper considers to be Small Stuff.
     Researchers at New York University and University of Florida looked at what happens with ads designed to promote consumption of an entire product category. Examples included the Florida Citrus Board’s ads for orange juice and the Midwest Dairy Association’s "Ah, the power of cheese" campaign. Such advertising intends to increase overall demand, but not selectively favor certain members of the advertising group funding the ads.
     The researchers verified that this objective was often not met. When the generic ads for orange juice emphasized nutritional advantages, this helped the Albertson’s store brand more than it did the premium Tropicana brand. The effect was the other way around when the generic ads emphasized the value of good flavor.
     We might assume that the value of a featured advantage—such as nutrition or flavor—will grow in the consumer’s mind, while the importance of the other advantages will not be disturbed. Talking about nutrition doesn’t decrease the value of flavor for the consumer, it’s said. But the research disproved the assumption. An ad highlighting nutrition will lead to the consumer placing less value on other attributes, such as flavor.
     In this case, the tone of the advertising transformed bigger stuff into smaller stuff. Another angle on this is how what the retailer might consider to be small stuff is actually the most important stuff.
     Researchers from Chinese University of Hong Kong and Fudan University in China found that showing attentiveness, friendliness, and empathy towards services customers influences customer satisfaction to a greater extent than does service outcome factors. Outcomes include how well the clothes dryer works after being repaired, if the cruise ship vacation met expectations, and even the extent of financial returns on investments.
     Service outcomes count for a lot, but this doesn’t mean customer relations are small stuff.

Click below for more: 
In Ad Group Ads, Feature Your Advantages 
Emphasize Empathy in Providing Services

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