Monday, November 27, 2023

Head Off Rejection of the Handmade

Handcrafted items appeal to shoppers because they seem to incorporate the essence of the creator more than do machine-produced items. But researchers at University of Liverpool Management School, Lingnan University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University identify a circumstance in which the perceived presence of the essence instead turns prospects against the handcrafted. This occurs when the prospect feels their personal control is at risk.
     Some study participants were asked to describe an incident in which they’d lost personal control of a situation. Such an incident might be the breakup of a romantic relationship when the other party pulls away or the need to move from an apartment when the rent is raised. The other study participants were asked to describe a typical day. Each participant was then asked to evaluate a coffee mug. For some participants the mug was described as handcrafted, while for the others, it was not.
     Among those participants asked to describe a typical day, favorability ratings were higher when handcrafted was in the product description. Among those participants asked to recall the loss of control, a handcrafted description led to lower overall ratings. Additional experiments in the set showed this effect with other items you might find at craft fairs—a scarf and a woven coaster.
     Shoppers who lack confidence in their personal control aim to restore that confidence by establishing psychological ownership over their products. This effort is more challenging when the shopper perceives that a craftsperson has contaminated the product's ownership.
     Other studies have analyzed additional explanations for the general attraction to the handmade: 
  • More effort to produce than the machine-made, so greater significance 
  • Increased authenticity 
  • Greater creator pride in production, which deserves to be rewarded 
  • Unavoidable variations, so item uniqueness 
  • Closer attention to detail, so higher quality
     When researchers at Cornell University, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, and Technische Universität München statistically controlled for these five, yet another factor emerged: Shoppers intending to show love to recipients prefer handcrafted to machine-produced. This shows in stronger purchase intentions for handmade products when buying gifts for loved ones.
     If an item is intended to express love, highlight the handcrafted aspects. In times of widespread consumer doubts about personal control, such as during a natural disaster or pandemic, deemphasize the handcrafted aspects. Also stay aware that even in stable times, some individuals may feel low personal control.

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

Click for more…

Monday, November 20, 2023

Fix Responsibility on Whoever’s Representative

It seems that during each university sports season, we learn that at least a few players and coaches have been accused of unethical behavior. Researchers at Kennesaw State University, Murray State University, and University of Memphis explored effects these accusations have on fan interest in watching subsequent games of the team.
     Their study results provided no evidence student athlete misconduct significantly influenced game attendance. However, news of a coach’s misconduct did influence attendance intentions. The researchers explain the difference as reflecting how consumers have higher expectations of the coach to be a representative of the organization. More leeway is granted to the student athletes not only because they are younger and less experienced in the world, but also because they carry less leadership responsibility.
     The difference held when the data were analyzed taking account of the team’s win-loss record. The researchers conclude with a recommendation to punish in a fair way ethical transgressions of both coaches and student athletes, with greater tolerance toward the student athletes. The result should be more robust game attendance in the face of transgressions.
     In a separate body of research, a University of Oregon paper used principles of increasing game attendance to suggest ways to increase retail store traffic. How nice it would be to have your customers chanting about your retail business throughout their conversations as would devoted fans who are expressing their sentiments about a favorite football team. That’s more likely when consumers are fans of shopping with you. It has to do with interior décor, the merchandise you carry, and most of all, the interpersonal interactions. When it all comes together, shopping gives a positive emotional charge approaching that from attending an exciting sports event.
     Attention to the difference between the coach and the players can apply here. It is the supervisor more than the front-line employees who is viewed by consumers as representing the organization. And if the front-line employees are robotic devices instead of humans, let's say, the humans are considered more representative and more responsive.
     When there’s a serious mistake, consumers are more likely to blame a human service provider than a robotic service provider, according to studies at University of Zaragoza and Eindhoven University of Technology. With the robot, consumers generally held the firm responsible. Because the human service provider who fails is more accessible than “the firm,” restoring trust after a mistake should be easier with the human.

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

Click for more…
Generate the Excitement of a Football Game 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Notice How Your Discounts Help Competitors

You might offer a discount on your brand to woo customers away from a competing brand. You’d be in good company, since this is an extremely common tactic. Researchers at Texas A&M University, University of Alabama, Bentley University, and Clemson University say that price promotions constitute as much as 55% of a firm’s marketing budget.
     The researchers then document a danger: A consumer’s rejection of the promotion builds subsequent loyalty to and spending on the competing brand. In a laboratory setting, Coke drinkers offered a discount of almost 50% on a Pepsi showed a greater growth in loyalty to Coke than did participants not presented the Pepsi offer. In a field study, participants choosing an undiscounted Starbucks coffee drink over a Dunkin’ discounted by $1.00 spent more on Starbucks products than did participants not shown the Dunkin’ promotion.
     The chance of a marketer’s promotional price discount inadvertently boosting loyalty to a competitor is worth you noting. The researchers point to prior studies showing that fewer than 16% of shoppers who are presented a brand’s price promotion will switch brands to get the discount. My advice, though, is not to forgo price discounting. The basis for its popularity is that it brings in new customers.
     The better takeaway is to avoid depending solely on a price discount to change minds. An integral part of successful promotions is a compelling portrayal of the benefits of product or service use.
     Another takeaway is a better understanding of the dynamics of shoppers making selections. Researchers at University of Miami and Babson College noticed that when asked to begin the choice process by eliminating alternatives, shoppers became more likely to end up selecting one of those alternatives they were considering for rejection. This happens because attention to any item makes it more likely people notice characteristics of the item they find attractive. Along with this, the process of deciding what to reject brings concern about missed opportunities, a concern people ease by selecting rather than rejecting. But once the rejection occurs, the rejected item becomes even less likely to be subsequently selected.
     After choosing one brand over another, the consumer is now effectively neglecting the other brand. What happens if the consumer is later asked to express a preference between the previously neglected brand and a neutral brand which had not been seen before? Yes, the neutral brand is more likely to be favored.

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

Click for more…
Use Rejection to Learn About Shoppers 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Contract with Near-Term Use via Contractions

When choosing among alternatives, consumers balance an item’s ease of use against the number and attractiveness of the item’s features. Feasibility versus desirability. Ample research says the balance is influenced by how soon the item is to be used. When people plan to put the item to work close in time, they're especially interested in feasibility. When people are shopping for items for the future, they'll generally pay substantial attention to desirability.
     Now researchers at Toronto Metropolitan University and Grenoble Ecole de Management say that grammatical contractions also play a role. A group of consumers were presented La-Z-Boy ad copy which used contractions such as “There’s always a wide selection” and “You’ll be surprised.” An equivalent group of consumers were presented equivalent ad copy, except without the contractions: “There is always a wide selection” and “You will be surprised.”
     All participants were then asked to imagine choosing between two La-Z-Boy office chairs for their home office. One chair was described as high on feasibility and low on desirability (Easy to assemble. In a color you do not prefer) and the other chair as low on feasibility and high on desirability (Difficult to assemble. In a color that you prefer).
     People who had been exposed to the ad copy with contractions were more likely to select the chair higher on feasibility versus desirability. There were parallel findings with a companion study involving choosing between apartments. That and other studies in the set also yielded an explanation: Exposure to grammatical contractions conveys a sense of informality which, in turn, guides the audience to think about close others and closeness in time.
     The researchers caution that their findings are novel, so call for further investigation. But the implication for marketers in the meantime, as I see it, is to use contractions in ad copy when the shopper is aiming for or would otherwise benefit from near-term use of the item. A formal tone is often the better choice when the shopper is considering consequential purchases.
     Beyond influencing the feasibility-desirability balance, an informal tone stimulates consumers to share embarrassing information. A Carnegie Mellon University study saw how admissions of personal shortcomings grew when a questionnaire was titled “How BAD Are U???” in a bright red font alongside a devil logo compared to when the questionnaire was titled “Survey on Strengths & Weaknesses” in a black font accompanied by a well-known organizational logo.

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

Click for more…
Accent the Emotions when Imminent Usage