Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Relax Caution About Comparative Imagining

For me, an important role of the RIMtailing blog is an opportunity to update you when new research findings point to a need for a change in advice I’ve given you. Today’s update has to do with comparative advertising.
     Based on past studies at University of Maryland, I’d suggested that in comparative advertising, you do not show pictures of people using the product. Those studies found that such pictures lead shoppers to start thinking about using the products themselves, and when they do this, they put too much mental energy into thinking about just the recommended product. They forget to pay attention to the comparative advantages. The power of the comparative ad fades away.
     Now research findings from Germany’s University of Bamberg indicate that under certain circumstances, it’s not so bad at all to springboard a shopper off the comparative ad into a daydream about using the product you’d like the shopper to buy:
  • The product you’re recommending is complex or innovative
  • Shoppers seeing the ad want to get involved in analyzing for the best choice rather than purchasing out of habit
  • These shoppers perceive themselves as having limited knowledge about the product category
  • Compared to the alternatives in the comparison, the product has at least one powerful advantage for the shoppers
     With the increasing degree of technology in products, there are many shopping situations meeting those four criteria. So call on the power of imagination as part of the comparative ad and in follow-up face-to-face selling.
     Researchers at National University of Singapore and Chinese University of Hong Kong discovered that a crucial element in the imagining is having the shopper tune into their personal emotions rather than stopping with their beliefs about what will happen when using the product. Give the shopper the minimum amount of technical information necessary to set up the imagining. Then be ready to provide more details if the shopper asks. The power of imagining is greater when a person fills in their own blanks.
     Findings from research I conducted at Stanford University suggest the best phrasing to use: Say to the shopper something like, “Considering the advantage over the alternative, imagine what it would be like to use this product,” rather than something like, “Considering the advantage over the alternative, see yourself using this product.” Many consumers believe they have poor visual imagery skills, so are more receptive to the request to “imagine.”

Click below for more:
In Comparative Ads, Don't Show Users
Pinpoint Feelings in Imagining of Benefits

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