November 02, 2008

Purchase process - All Brand touchpoints are not born equal

Let's say for the sake of this example that I am a marketer working for a company that is selling the “X” TV brand.

Is there a minimum number of touch points that I need to be across to make sure I convince consumers to buy the “X” brand (assuming I have the right appealing message) and which touch points are going to deliver the most efficient strategy?

All sources of information are not born equal. We believe less or more depending on where it comes from and how much trust we attach to the source.

For example:

  • Our close circle of relationships: Friends and colleagues for example. We know their personalities, strength and weaknesses. Because of that we believe we can predict their behaviours and we know what we can trust them with. Suddenly an advice from them can quickly be assessed. If you know a friend who is a keen technology enthusiast his word will have more weight to you. He is a maven.

  • Sales people in Stores: we all know sales people are here to sell, surely we also know they have incentives and are promoting one product at one time because of personal revenue gains. We take them with a pinch of salt but still we “believe” them to a good degree. They are the experts, they know what sells. They are supposed to understand the technology.

  • Media: TV Advertising, Technology Reviewers, Print Magazines, Celebrity endorsement, and other ambassadors in the social media sphere. They are a good source of information, we understand some may not be as neutral as need be, but we believe and read with interest.

I should make a small aside here to discuss briefly Social Media spaces. I believe that currently because of the rather new landscape created by the rise of Social Medias, consumers are displaying a certain amount of naivety about it. In other words they give it more credit than they should. As with every other media this will settle down, and become an integral part of our world. When this has happened and the environment will have matured a bit, I believe this phenomenon will level out as well.

Regardless of the above, any information submitted to us gets double checked against our previous knowledge. The message content as well as the way it is delivered (format, tone, manner,...) are all just as important to us in deciding upon the “trustworthiness” factor.

“In a short slogan, there is no message without a medium. What the example seems to teach us is that at least in some cases, the reasoner should receive not just the content of a message, but take account of the message-with-the-medium.” Rott, 2004

Determining how much a particular message needs to be repeated until it gets the appropriate cut through is therefore pretty hard. What we know for sure is that the more risk averse a person is, the more it will take to convince her.

As explained in a previous post here, we are more likely to believe when the message is consistent across sources that look to us as if they are independent and neutral. The more of those sources with a consistent message the more likely the message is to be “true”.

Also the lesser number of touch points, the more difficult it is to be convincing and the less credible the message looks.

Imagine you go to a store to finally buy that TV and you come with a set of 2 or 3 brands in mind. Then you see brand Y in store ... you have never heard of brand Y before.

The store sales staff assures you it is the best buy for your money, will you believe them? Is that enough? Probably not. Unless you care little about brands and therefore are happy to take a risk.

You are most likely going to do one of two things.

1. Ignore that brand and buy one of the brands you have done your research on,
2. Delay your purchase and go research brand Y.

The environment you previously studied has changed and you need to reconsider.

picture credits: Old TV by afternoon_sunlight and Kermit shopping by Looking Glass

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