Tag Archive for Consumer Buying Behavior

Marketing Happiness

Perhaps this is one of the reasons we love marketing. Jennifer L. Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford University’s School of Business, Melanie Rudd, a Stanford MBA student, and Wharton marketing professor Cassie Mogilner, examined 60 academic studies looking at the way people spend their time and how that affects happiness. Their conclusions were recently summarized in a BNET post titled, “Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier”.

  • Spend time with the “right people.” Who are the right people? They’re generally not your office mates. The people that make you happiest will generally be friends, family, and romantic partners.
    • Avoid small talk. A related predictor of happiness is how much substantive discussion a person engages in, compared to small talk. Generally, small talk makes people unhappy. If you want to increase your happiness, it’s far better to find one or two people with whom you can have a real discussion than to engage in small talk.
  • Spend time on “socially connecting” activities, such as volunteering and spending time with friends.
    • Work doesn’t count. Work is not ’socially connecting’ and is generally one of the more unhappy parts of the day. Commuting is also gets high marks for making people unhappy.
    • Volunteering has been proven to be a good way to increase happiness.
    • Memory is important, because it helps us take an event that happened in the past and extend its ‘worth’ into the future. What are your happiest memories?
  • Day dream, or, enjoy the experience without spending the time. Research has shown that the part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure can be activated just by thinking about something pleasurable. And we often enjoy the anticipation of something pleasurable more than the actual experience that we think is going to be so great. The most common example is vacation planning, which some find more pleasurable than the vacation itself.
  • Expand your time. Focusing on the “here and now” slows down the perceived passage of time, allowing people to feel less rushed and hurried.
    • Breathe slowly. Just for a few minutes. “In one study, subjects who were instructed to take long and slow breaths (vs. short and quick ones) for 5 minutes not only felt there was more time available to get things done, but also perceived their day to be longer.”
    • Volunteering makes it seem like you have more time. In general, spending time on someone else makes people feel like they have more spare time and that their future is more expansive.
    • Pay people to do the chores you hate. Activities that we choose to do generally make us happier than those that are obligatory.
  • Be aware that aging changes the way people experience happiness. Youths tend to equate happiness with excitement, but as people get older, happiness is associated with feeling peaceful. Young people get more happiness from spending time with interesting new acquaintances, while older people get more enjoyment from spending time with close friends and family.

The Power of Color

There are many sources and resources about color and color psychology, we stumbled across this image that was a part of post.

Color's Influence on Buying Behavior

How Colors Affect Buying Behavior

There was some great information that we hope you can use in your marketing and mailing creative.

  • 93% of consumers placed visual appearance and color above other factors when shopping.
  • 85% of shoppers placed color as a primary reason for buying a particular product.
  • Color increased brand recognition by 80%.
  • Color can increase comprehension by 73%.

North American online shoppers found:

  • Yellow to be optimistic and youthful, often used to grab attention
  • Red connotes energy, increases heart rate and creates urgency, it is often used in clearance sales
  • Blue creates trust and security, it is often used by banks and businesses
  • Green is the easiest color for the eyes to process, it is associated with wealth, used to encourage relaxation in stores.
  • Orange is perceived to be aggressive, can create a call to action
  • Pink is romantic and feminine, used to attract women and young girls
  • Black is powerful and sleek, used to market luxury products
  • Purple used to soothe and calm, often used for beauty or anti aging products

We are here to help you use and maximize all resources and information as you put together your mailing and marketing campaigns.

Why Immediate Gratification Is So Powerful

There is more scientific explanation about how and why getting people to act right away can be so powerful. Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat excerpted more findings about the way our brains work.

Harvard economist David I. Laibson explained that the “impatient” brain, which dominates when we think about immediate gratification, discounts at about 4% per minute, but the “patient” brain, which takes over when we consider much-later benefits, discounts at a slower rate — about 1% per minute.

An offer of a free massage right now might look a lot better than a free massage in an hour, but we’d see little difference in offers of massages at, say, 2pm or 3pm one week from now. This is interesting and surprising because “in theory” we should place the same value on the messages regardless of when they are scheduled.

Perhaps this helps to explain why direct mail has an immediate response spike and a very long term response.

Direct Mail and Marketing Response Numbers

We have shared many statistics the past year about response numbers. We think we should review some of them.

More than 70% of Gen Yers (born 1977-1994) and Gen Xers (born 1965-1976) sort their mail immediately.

76% of internet users were directly influenced to buy an item or service thanks to direct mail.

78% of email recipients do not open the message, so that means that 94.1% of email recipients are not clicking through to your landing page.

55% of survey respondents cannot effectively measure marketing ROI of mobile, social media and video.

65% of companies had not increased revenue or profited using social media.

79% of all households read or scan the advertising mail sent to their home.

Advertising Celebration

One of our favorite holidays is fast approaching. The day is this Sunday, a day most others refer to as Super Bowl Sunday. We love it because it is one of the rare days when most of us pay attention to the commercials and some of us even watch the game. We shared some great trivia about Super Bowl advertising last year.

This year 90% of the air time was sold by September, according to Reuters. This compares with a story ran in January 2010 by The New York Times that reported that the ads were “nearly” sold out.

Is this an economic indicator? If it is, then it is a good thing. Advertisers were confident enough to commit to spending $3 million for 30 seconds of our attention about four months earlier than last year. As we celebrate and pay attention to “traditional advertising”, remember that direct mail plays a great role in communicating with your customers.

Is It The End of the Marketing Funnel

Marketing has grown more complicated, media choices have exploded, and consumers have asserted themselves more visibly than ever before. So perhaps some of the classical ways to understand and visualize marketing concepts, need to change and evolve too.

Forbes.com shared some information from Forrester that found that 53% of U.S. online consumers research products online that they’ll then purchase in the store. This process exposes consumers to brands they might not have previously considered, expanding their consideration set at exactly the point where, according to the traditional funnel, it should narrow.

The author, Forester analyst, Steve Noble proposes to bury the marketing funnel and introduce a new model–the customer life cycle.

Discover: Every customer must discover a brand, product category, or personal need–the initial trigger that leads to a new or repeat purchase.

Explore: In this phase, customers explore the brand–and their options. When visiting an online store or handling products in a well-crafted shop environment, customers are immersing themselves in the explore phase.

Buy: Customer experiences during this phase include product availability, inventory lookup, and satisfaction with the checkout process. It also includes the actual price paid, the perceived value, and the experience with the sales channel if there is a problem.

Engage: After buying a product or service, customers engage with brands in several ways.

We reported on the evolution of the way people make buying decisions based on some data from McKinsey. That study found that “traditional” marketing was still a very important part of the buying process, it just happened earlier. This latest information from Forrester Research also supports the important role that direct mail can play in the buying process, during the discovery and engagement phases.

Proof of Why Large Committees Don’t Work

In decision making groups, 7 people could be the optimal number.

The Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat shared the findings of Decide & Deliver: 5 Steps to Breakthrough Performance in Your Organization. Once you’ve got 7 people in a decision-making group, each additional member reduces decision effectiveness by 10%. Thus, a group of 17 or more rarely makes any decisions.

What about your marketing? Do you have many people participating in the process?


Because it is still January and many of us are still looking for ways to improve…

Perhaps looking around and asking questions like, “Is this as simple as it can be?” Or even, “Is this necessary at all?” A BNET post titled Do You Make Things Too Complicated? Take the Razor to Them, led us to search for more information about Occam’s Razor. Occam’s writing led to many scientific quotes and thoughts, but our favorite is: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

It’s so easy and so tempting to do too much. You can have a Facebook page, blog, Twitter page, YouTube channel, smartphone app, streaming video content, and cool icons on your Web site. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you have a solid, well-executed online/media plan and a clear vision of how every element serves your business, go for it. But if you doing a lot of stuff just because others are or because it seems like you should. Is it doing anything for your business? Are you doing more than you need to?

Are your customers responding? What about sending a simple piece of mail to reconnect?

Lessons Learned from The Gap’s Attempted Logo Change

BNET recently discussed The Gap’s logo change and the quick abandonment for something that looks much more like the original.

These ideas could share some new insights about brand management.

  1. Consumers own brands. Your brand does not have any value until it is valued by your customers. You might feel your business needs to be rebranded or relaunched, but your opinions are irrelevant: You work for the company. You’re so “inside” you can’t see outside. Proceed with caution!
  2. Consumers are savvy about design in just the same way as they are about media and advertising. The 21st Century has really stripped the mystery from design and advertising. Most consumers have better software on their laptops today than professional designers had on their desktops 20 years ago.
  3. As a result, consumers expect more from professional design. One of the main problems with the Gap’s new logo is that it used a typeface — Helvetica — which everyone has available on their own computers. Similarly, the graduated blue box is also something that virtually everyone can do after just a few minutes fooling around on the most basic graphic design software. This left Gap open to the legit accusation, “My kid could do that!” Redesigns need to be a lot more subtle and complex — even if the aim is to to be simple and clean — than they used to be.
  4. The move saves Gap some money. Changing back its web site is a lot easier than changing back all its store interiors, point-of-purchase material, catalogs, etc.
  5. The change removes uncertainty from the brand. Gap could probably have gotten away with keeping the new logo. Fashion and product trends drive Gap’s business, not typefaces. Most people didn’t even know the logo had changed. With the blue box back on its throne, the risk goes away.

So perhaps your website is a good place to test new design ideas. Can we help you before you go to press with a new idea?

Reasons For Facebook Unfriending

A University of Colorado Denver Business School student revealed the top reasons for Facebook unfriending, who is unfriended and how they react to being unfriended.

After surveying more than 1,500 Facebook users on Twitter, Christopher Sibona, a PhD student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program, found the number-one reason for unfriending is frequent, unimportant posts.

Is this information further confirmation that social media, email messaging and other electronic media are based on a very delicate balance? If you really want to maintain relationships or create meaningful connections why not use more than one medium? There is great power in something physical that can be touched and felt. Direct mail can be touched and felt and it can reach exactly who you want to reach.