Recently, MarketingSherpa asked consumers how they would prefer to receive communications from brands and retailers. The results of the study showed that only eight percent of respondents didn’t want to receive marketing information, which is good for all marketers, right? Two even more interesting points came out of the study that deserve careful consideration if marketers are to succeed in their efforts to better the competition.
- 59% of respondents said they prefer to find products by shopping at the store (followed by word of mouth from family and friends at 57%).
Why is this so important that it warrants discussion? The answer is simple. These days companies focus much of their attention on understanding their customers by segmenting them into groups, analyzing shopper card data, conducting focus groups or by other such techniques. But do any of these approaches really help companies understand why a customer who is in the store shopping decides to pick up and purchase their product instead of a similar product offered by the competition? All of the aforementioned data options lack the ability to tap into what really happens when a shopper is in the store shopping. Did a customer notice a display that contained the product they selected; did they like the packaging better; or was it placed at the proper eye level on the shelf? Only when data gained from in store eye-tracking research is combined with captured qualitative data can a company get the most complete reason for why their product was selected instead of the competition. The other research and advertising can definitely help with influencing and understanding purchases, but if 59% of people say they want to make their purchase decision at a store, then knowing what happens when a customer is in the store is critical to future success.
- Respondents also stated that when they are away from their computer they still mainly prefer messages in print ads and in emails to their smartphones.
This is also an important fact because just like a shopper’s interactions in a store, their interactions with print ads and email marketing is just as much a science as it is an art. In order to understand what resonates from these messages, companies must take a look at the ads themselves. Focus groups can certainly be conducted, but they won’t identify subconscious identifiers. A reader may not be able to tell you after the fact exactly what the first thing they looked at in an ad was or how long they looked at each element, as these are things that most people just do and not really think about and analyze on the fly. Eye-tracking research however can illustrate through heat maps and length of fixation what resonates and what doesn’t.