Friday, April 29, 2022

Tie Attribute Loyalty to Variety Seeking

A study done more than fifteen years ago recommended that movie sequels be named, not numbered. Analyzing movie titles in IMDB, the UCLA and University of Pennsylvania researchers saw how sequels carrying names did better at the box office and drew interest for a longer time. We’d expect “Die Another Day” to earn more than “James Bond 21.” Numbered sequels were perceived by participants in their studies to be too similar to the original.
     After that research, “The Fast & Furious” franchise came along. Using variations of the same name in successive movie titles seems to have paid off just fine. “Fast & Furious 6,” “The Fate of the Furious,” “F9.” The right answer seems to be that if you want entertainment to attract audiences, blend the familiar elements which have earned loyalty in the past with novel elements which satisfy variety seeking. This is the formula attended to by researchers at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and California State University-Long Beach in predicting how financially successful a movie will be.
     Because studio movie production costs are extraordinarily high, the researchers aimed for an analysis model which could be used before a script is greenlit—approved for financial backing, in the language of the industry. With this in mind, they based their methodology on a computerized analysis of the text in the movie script. One tool for this was the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count dictionary, which covers grammatical and social psychological factors and has been widely employed for content analyses of text.
     Comparison was with the text of scripts for past movies. Also conducted was a textual analysis of consumer reviews of past movies. The researchers’ objective was to identify which content attributes should stay the same as in previous movies proven attractive to a similar audience and which attributes should be different.
     The resulting model’s predictive power was greater than that for comparable benchmark models from the literature. The impact of the study, though, has less to do with the specific attributes identified than with the approach to prediction. The statistical assumptions and methods used in the research were highly sophisticated. The conclusions were limited to predicting the success of movie scripts. Application to books, stage plays, and maybe even advertising campaigns might work. Beyond that, maybe not so well. But the general lesson applies broadly: For maximum attraction, tie attribute loyalty to variety seeking.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Let Go of Irritating Brand Extensions 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Brand Identity Paradoxes for Biculturals

Bicultural consumers, such as Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans, may experience contradictions in their identities and values, with the two cultures pulling them in opposing directions. Noting these paradoxes, researchers at University of Illinois and University of Minnesota hypothesized that brands incorporating contradictions in identities or values in their meanings—“paradox brands”—would carry extra appeal for bicultural consumers.
     The explanation is that navigating the contradictions in daily life develops within biculturals a cognitive flexibility which leads them to find engrossing the opposing perspectives embodied within the paradox brand identity. Examples from the researchers include Land Rover, carrying associations of both ruggedness and sophistication, and Burberry, identified as traditional, yet trendy. In one of the studies, the researchers used descriptors rugged, outdoorsy, glamorous, and charming to characterize the brand they intended as paradoxical. In another study, they used trendy, up-to-date, traditional, classic.
     The findings from the set of studies supported the hypothesis that biculturals on the whole engage more with paradox than with non-paradox brands. Supporting the researchers’ explanation for the effect, when monocultural participants were assigned a task to increase cognitive flexibility, they then became more receptive to paradox brands.
     These findings are especially useful for two related reasons. First, the researchers note that about one-third of the U.S. population is composed of bicultural consumers, and that segment is growing rapidly. To be successful, marketers will need to find a competitive advantage for appealing to these shoppers. Paradox brands allow that.
     Second, bicultural consumers aren’t all the same. The cultural contradictions encountered by Hispanic-Americans differ from those encountered by Asian-Americans. Then there are broad differences among individuals within each of those demographics. Both personalized marketing and sensitivity to the particular cultural background increase marketing success. But use of paradox brand identities, which appeal broadly across distinctions among biculturals, allows more efficient marketing.
     Other research has associated cognitive flexibility with playful creativity. It’s possible, then, that bicultural consumers will be especially drawn to creative ads, which University of Cologne studies say exhibit: 
  • Originality. How different is the ad from other ads about similar consumption choices? 
  • Flexibility. To what degree does the ad shift from one idea to another? 
  • Elaboration. In the ad, how many different details are presented at the same time? 
  • Synthesis. How well does the ad conceptually join together divergent ideas and details? 
  • Artistic value. How well does the ad use words, images, and colors to produce aesthetic pleasure?

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Speak to Shoppers’ Language Stereotypes 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Limit the Value Range on Guest Gift Cards

Clarkson University researchers were interested in a commonly used feature with gift cards—a redemption range printed on the card. A Best Buy gift card reads “Choose any amount from $20 to $500.” In the top right corner of a gift card for Dairy Queen purchases is printed “$15-$250.”
     You won’t buy this Best Buy gift card at a Best Buy store, nor will you buy the DQ one at a Dairy Queen, and that explains why a range amount is on the card. These are referred to as “guest retailer” cards, selected from a rack maintained by a “host retailer” and containing gift cards from an assortment of retailers. When the customer purchases the gift card, they tell the cashier how much they want loaded onto it. Having the range of values avoids the host retailer needing to stock cards for many points along that range.
     How would a recipient react to a card loaded for $15 when the upper range is $250? the researchers wondered. And how does any anticipation of the potential recipient’s reaction influence the potential gift giver’s actions?
     As we might expect, the researchers found that a purchaser wanting a low value loaded would prefer a card with no range printed on it than one with a range. This is due to the social risk of appearing not to sufficiently care about the recipient. This interpretation is supported by the preference difference disappearing when the purchaser is buying a low-value gift card for themselves. The givers’ concerns are appropriate, considering how another part of the study indicated that recipients felt more positive with a no-price card than with a price-range card when the value was $25 and the range was $25-$250.
     Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that retailers set the range shown on their own guest cards to what they learn are the most commonly purchased loads. This would probably lessen the distance between the maximum available value seen by the gift card recipient and the value the giver chose to load onto the card, making the purchase of the card more attractive to the giver.
     Research also suggests typicality from another perspective. If your store carries few items with prices around $100, but many in the $20 to $50 range, recommend to the gift card purchaser that they get two $50 cards instead of the single $100 card they originally requested.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Fit Displayed Items to Payment Denomination 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Power Differences to Market Courses Globally

Many universities offer their courses worldwide via the internet. Already, thousands of online curricula have enrolled millions of students. Education is a business opportunity, behind only health care as the largest U.S. industry. Researchers at Baylor University and University of Victoria say spending on marketing in the education industry has been growing 22% annually, but that a challenge is in marketing these courses profitably across global markets. Toward addressing this challenge, the researchers find that the Power Distance Belief of a country’s culture provides guidance.
     In reply to my inquiry about the study, Prof. Lingjiang Lora Tu, one of the researchers, explained, “Power Distance Belief is an established construct in marketing literature which measures individuals’ attitude toward status inequality. Low PDB individuals perceive status inequality as illegitimate and have more egalitarian values. High PDB individuals perceive status inequality as facts of life and endorse more hierarchical values. The Power Distance Index for each country—a numeric value—is published information.”
     The researchers find that prospective course enrollees in areas with low PDB cultures are more responsive to emotional appeals than to cognitive appeals. Based on the study findings, the researchers recommend that the emotional appeals should describe the self-discovery and self-development benefits of the curriculum. In high PDB cultures, by contrast, emphasize practical benefits which appeal to cognition. Talk of how successful mastery of the skills which are developed by the coursework can enhance social and economic influence of the student within the power hierarchy.
     These differences were most clear when enrollees needed to pay for the course. This is important because many marketers of online upper education courses to less-developed countries use a freemium model: Allow anyone to take the course for free and offer the option of payment for a certificate upon successful completion of the course. Usually, the payment can be made at any point during the course. One objective is to democratize knowledge worldwide. But free courses shift attention from the outcome of the learning to the process of the learning, making those from high PDB cultures more like those from low PDB cultures. Their interest in self-discovery and self-development grows.
     Studies at University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, and University of Michigan indicate a freemium model allows broad course availability while maximizing learner engagement. If you use a freemium marketing model, it’s probably best to present both process and outcome benefits of the courses.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Yield to Power Distance Belief 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Insert Intrinsic Aims in Transformative Tales

Testimonials for transformative services should describe the customer’s thoughts and feelings about achieving personally important benefits from using the services. Researchers at Boise State University and The University of Sydney note that customer testimonials generally don’t include this. Their studies indicate such descriptions significantly increase a testimonial’s persuasiveness. In my email exchange about the study with Prof. Anne Hamby—one of the researchers—she added that specific comments from customers about the customers’ reasons or motivations are key.
     Transformative services are distinguished by a major objective being improvements in the users’ well-being. Health care services are an obvious example. Less obvious examples include the workshops many retailers offer: Do-it-yourself sessions at The Home Depot. “Healthy Eating Education” programs from Whole Foods Market. “Women’s Trails and Ales” hikes organized by REI.
     Encourage customers to provide testimonials which include  thoughts and feelings from those using the services. The research findings also argue for asking that there be an emphasis on direct personal pleasure from use of the transformative service, since this is important for optimal influence. The researchers acknowledge this is easier with travel activities, let’s say, than with academic tutoring, for instance. Still, almost all transformative services do yield direct personal benefits. This is, after all, what characterizes them as transformative.
     Taking the researchers’ recommendation would change testimonials from bullet points into stories. This, in itself, augments the persuasiveness. Stories involve the reader with the hero and the setting. Readers are transported from their own world into the world of the tale, generating in the reader emotions reported by the story’s protagonist. When those emotions have been clearly reported and are positive, an emotional rationale for being persuaded develops.
     But the researchers also see importance in descriptions of negative emotions. These reduce unintended consequences from misuse of the service. Tales in which an error’s been committed and then a recovery made, with the wave from fear to relief, serve as educational cautions. Understanding the report about the transformative service becomes an additional transformative service.
     Remedy marketing has abundant unintended consequences. The availability of smoking cessation programs can lead to people smoking more, since the people get the impression they can stop anytime they choose to. And once a consumer has gone through a debt consolidation program, that consumer may become more likely to spend irresponsibly, since the consumer figures he can go through a debt consolidation program again

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Transform Loyalty with Store Workshops 

Monday, April 11, 2022

Cruise Through When People Suspect Selling

A challenge in persuasion is navigating the suspicions raised in people when they know you’re trying to sell them something. Researchers at European University Viadrina selected 171 sets of data from studies about consumers’ persuasion knowledge. A main finding from their statistical analyses of the data is that when someone knows you’re aiming to persuade them, they’re more likely to develop negative impressions toward the transaction and more likely to decide not to buy at that time than if they didn’t suspect a selling agenda. The effect is substantial. For instance, persuasion knowledge cuts advertising persuadability in half.
     Among other insights from the meta-analysis: 
  • When a sales pitch is perceived as personalized, such as with a highly targeted promotional campaign, persuasion knowledge has greater negative effects for the marketer. The researchers recommend that you minimize personalized pitches to shoppers likely to have persuasion knowledge. 
  • Persuasion knowledge sabotages influence effectiveness to a greater extent with unfamiliar products and with products the shopper needs experience using in order to evaluate. The implication, in my opinion, is that with such products, you do best to guide the person toward the sale in a sequence of contacts. 
  • When a shopper becomes highly involved in deciding whether to make the purchase, the impact of persuasion knowledge on the sale fades. This point leads me to think it profitable to involve the person early with the item. 
  • The disruptive effects of persuasion knowledge are greater for U.S. consumers than for those in the other countries studied and are greater for adults than for children or teens. This suggests to me the value of public policies insulating young consumers against exploitive sales techniques.
     Other research hints that mental processes set off by persuasion knowledge could sharpen attention to what you’re selling. If so, interest in learning about the item would grow, enhancing chances of making the sale later.
     Related to all this, University of Minnesota, Florida State University, and University of British Columbia studies find individual differences in sugrophobia. The name is derived from “fear of sucking,” and the meaning is “fear of being a sucker.”
     Low sugraphobes have their guard way down. They probably won’t even realize when they’ve been duped. They deserve protection from gullibility. On the other hand, high sugraphobes approach each influence transaction with vigilance and skepticism. Add in persuasion knowledge and the cruise toward a successful sale could be rocky indeed.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
React When Faced with Reactance 

Friday, April 8, 2022

Keep Telling Customers You’re Still Around

Brand growth comes more from acquiring new customers than from customer retention, according to research at University of South Australia. This was found even with the online fashion category analyzed in the studies, a product category where many would expect emotional brand attachments. Still, keeping the customers you have now is important to business success.
     Almost identical conclusions come from researchers at London South Bank University and University of South Australia after their analysis of purchase patterns over time of fifty-five brands of consumer-packaged-goods categories. A third of initial brand buyers purchased the particular branded product no more than one more time during the next five years. Revenue from those many customers counted, but market expansion was essential. Moreover, profitable expansion requires precise definition of the most receptive target markets.
     University of South Australia and Massey University researchers add that loyalty is valuable, but they advise you don’t waste money chasing after customers you’ve lost for no discernable reason. They’ll likely come back on their own. Half the number of first-year buyers of a breakfast cereal brand who were lost in the second year bought the brand again in year three.
     These findings were inspired by, and provide support for, a theory called the Dirichlet model, which uses a group of mathematical formulas to predict purchase behavior. Researchers from University of Southampton and Kingston University applied the theory to explore what persuades people to buy a particular brand of a commodity offering. Commodity offerings such as milk, paper towels, lumber, and gasoline are those in which shoppers are likely to perceive few differences in benefits when comparing the brand options. Purchase decisions are often based solely on price and availability, not quality. Brand loyalty is likely to be low. Efforts to build loyalty often center on distinctive labels and attention-grabbing item displays.
     The study findings argue for initiatives which continually keep the brand name top-of-mind. Remind your target audiences what you make and sell. Tell them where to find your items. Distribute news about the brand, such as variants, extensions, added features, and special offers.
     Recognizing the value of this drumbeat also makes sense of the other findings. Keeping the customers you have now for any item—a commodity offering or not—works best when shoppers remember who you are. The customer lost in year two returns in year three or beyond only if they know you’re still around.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Monitor Variety Seeking 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Arrange Arrogance for Romance Seekers

With an air of arrogance, the ad for the watch proclaimed, “We are the best! Even Fossil knows that, in case you don’t…”
     Who would be impressed by such braggadocio? Well, people thinking about a romantic relationship, according to researchers at Central European University and University of Tennessee. The arrogant tag line moved those people toward more positive impressions of the watch to a greater extent than was true for study participants not necessarily thinking about a romantic relationship.
     The effect did not occur when the object in the ad was a desk and the slogan in the ad was, “We are the best! Even Ashley knows that, in case you don’t…” There was no pattern of those thinking about a romantic relationship rating the desk more positively when pitched with an arrogant claim.
     Why the difference? Because another group of participants had rated watches as items used in public and desks as items used in private. What was going on? People interested in romantic relationships appreciate arrogant communications since it resonates with them publicly promoting their own advantages as they seek a mate.
     In companion studies, this was seen with a range of publicly-consumed product categories, consumer ages, genders, and same-sex versus opposite-sex romantic preferences. The researchers attribute the effect to evolutionary determinants, indicating that it applies across a broad range of cultures, too. However, it wasn’t seen clearly among people in stable, long-term romantic partnerships. That makes sense because those consumers weren’t seeking romantic relationships.
     All this indicates that arrogance in product claims can assist when selling to shoppers seeking romantic relationships. Still, as you put the effect into practice, recognize the dangers of arrogance. A modest degree of modesty facilitates the sale of prestige items in any store and any items in a prestige store. Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv University found that brands perceived as arrogant cause a conflicted response: The typical shopper is attracted by the exclusivity and implications of high quality, but repelled by feelings of personal inadequacy.
     Columbia University researchers noted the outcomes when shoppers viewing themselves as uncreative thought about purchasing an Apple computer—considered to have a creative product personality. The thinking about the purchasing led to the shoppers’ estimates of the Apple computer’s creativity growing greater. The shoppers felt themselves to be competing on creativity with the product. This made them less likely to buy the computer.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Even the Odds for Romance Seekers 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Be Smart About Store Brands Across Countries

Smart shoppers devote close attention to obtaining the most benefits for their money, time, and effort, say researchers at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. More than other consumers, smart shoppers get thrilled at nabbing a good deal.
     The researchers go on to discover that the consumer habits of people who consider themselves smart shoppers differ across countries. Consider, for example, the preference between store-label brands and national-label brands. Store brands display the retailer’s name or a brand name used only by that retailer. The researchers report prior findings that 58% of consumers overall consider themselves to be smart shoppers when buying store-label brands. Interest in these house brands is not distributed evenly across nations, however.
     The researchers break this out by finding that smart shoppers in Spain are more likely than those in Germany to favor store-label over national-label brands. The tradeoffs: An appeal of store brands to smart shoppers comes from the prices generally being lower than that of national-brand parallels. An appeal of national brands to smart shoppers comes from the perception of enhanced quality because of the production heritage of the company name.
     The researchers found smart shoppers in Spain, who place a relatively high value on achievement, attracted to store brands over private brands because of the achievement in saving money. But contradicting the researchers’ expectations, a smart shopper self-concept in Germany was associated with less interest in store brands. The researchers attribute this to German consumers taking low prices on store brands for granted, so they get their thrills from finding discounts on national brands. In France and America, the other two countries studied, there were no significant relationships between a smart-shopper self-image and preference for store brands.
     Private-label goods can benefit not only smart shoppers because of lower item prices, but also retailers because these goods generally offer higher profit margins. Further, at times of supply chain crimps, such as accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic, the flow of private-label goods is often smoother than that of national-label goods. The four consumer cultures explored in the research were from Europe and North America. Certainly, nations in other parts of the world have their own value blends which influence the degree of store-brand attraction. In addition, there are individual differences among consumers in a particular country. With these cautions in mind, shape the appeal of house brands to fit the national culture in which you’re doing business.

Successfully influence the most prosperous & most loyal consumer age group. For the specific strategies & tactics you need, click here.

Click for more…
Finesse Profit Margins on House Brands