Archive for February, 2011

February 25th, 2011

Conquering the Subconscious: An Interview with the Hindu Business Line

By Sublime Behavior

Sublime Behavior Marketing Logo

Neale Martin was recently in Mumbai, India teaching our Level 3 Certification training class to consumer products employees at Godrej.  While he was there, Business Line (part of the Hindu news publication) engaged him in an in-depth interview on unconscious consumer behavior and habit-based marketing.  They’ve recently published part one of the discussion.

You mention that 85 per cent of new products fail, and consumer satisfaction does not equal loyalty. Is consumer satisfaction a necessary layer upon which loyalty can be built? Please explain.

There is very little correlation between customer satisfaction and repurchase or loyalty. When we focus on behaviour, we see that loyal customers are sometimes highly brand-loyal, but sometimes they are brand-indifferent. In both cases, satisfaction is not a good indicator of behaviour. In many studies of brand switching, switchers reported high satisfaction with a brand or store just before defecting. When behaviour becomes habitual, it is no longer tied to goals or intentions, so satisfaction measures become essentially meaningless.

However, customer dissatisfaction is different. If a customer perceives she is dissatisfied, this makes her consciously aware and can disrupt even the most habitual repurchase behaviour.

The statistics around new product failures are truly humbling — estimates are that 80 to 90 per cent of new products fail. Even products that receive great reviews in testing, flop once introduced. The primary problem is that new products are often overlooked in the store because shoppers are on autopilot at point of purchase, completely overlooking the new product. Many companies have sophisticated methods to create, screen and launch new products. But even if potential customers report they will probably or definitely buy a new product, they often fail to purchase when the product is released (one of my clients stated that they have a 90 per cent threshold for definitely or probably would buy, only 3 per cent actually purchased).

- excerpted from Gokul Krishnamurthy’s “Conquering the Subconscious” on February 25, 2011 in the Hindu Business Line.

Here’s the link to the full article: Conquering the Subconscious.  Part Two should be posted in the next week or so.

February 10th, 2011

Tasteless

By Kyle Morich

This past Sunday, I hosted my annual Super Bowl party for my family and friends. The ambient noise drowned out much of the game and many of the famously expensive commercials, which for the most part is a good thing (I’m looking at you GoDaddy).  However, one ad I did actually watch this year, for Bud Light, caught my attention.  It reminded me of popcorn.

In a study currently under peer review, a team of researchers led by David Neal1 set out to discover if goals and preferences truly control human behavior.  Neal’s team brought in a large group of moviegoers, gave them a bag of popcorn and a bottle of water, and asked them to review movie trailers.  However, the study wasn’t about the movie trailers, it was about the popcorn.

The researchers divided the moviegoers into two groups.  One group got fresh popcorn, made that day.  The other group got a warmed-up bag of stale popcorn that had been made seven days prior to the experiment.  Upon leaving the theater, the bags of popcorn were collected and weighed to assess how much of the 60-gram bag each moviegoer had eaten.  These moviegoers were then given a version of the Self-Report Habit Index to assess how habitually they ate popcorn whenever they went to the movies.

For non-habitual popcorn eaters, the results are unsurprising.  They ate most of the bag of fresh popcorn and barely touched the stale bags.  For the habitual popcorn eaters, however, the amount eaten was high regardless of the popcorn’s freshness.  They chowed down.  Neal’s team then asked the moviegoers to rate the taste of the popcorn.  Amazingly, the habitual popcorn eaters who received the stale popcorn knew the popcorn tasted bad. But they ate it anyway.  Their behavior was completely controlled by the movie theater context, not their taste.

Just to confirm the role of context in habitual behavior, Neal performed the same experiment again, but in a well-lit laboratory using a small-screen television.  This time, the habitual popcorn eaters wanted nothing to do with the stale popcorn.  Only in a darkened theater, surrounded by the sights, smells, and other stimuli their brains had associated with the context, was the habit cued.

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