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Yes. One of the most difficult assumptions to address is around loyalty and the idea that the role of marketing is to cultivate passionate fans as opposed to lots of light buyers. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that what gets clients excited about digital is the clever stuff (personalisation, behavioral retargeting, social / interest graph etc) but this really only works to target frequent buyers / visitors as these are the only ones you can easily collect data on. Therefore, the digital industry has a vested interest in the data-driven loyalty myth. For this reason I think one of the most powerful data sets from Byron Sharp's book is around purchase frequency - demonstrating to clients that light buyers matter most to their bottom line is arguably the key to overcoming the obsession with fans.
Working in digital, I struggle with this stuff all the time. It's amazing how touchy the digital industry is about producing anything that even vaguely resembles 'matching luggage'. Or to put it in less loaded language, digital work designed to reinforce the visual cues and memory structures the brand has already (hopefully) built over time through its ATL activity. While I'm not advocating simply repurposing print ads into banners, the consensus definitely seems to have turned in favour of "forget big ideas, it's all about lots of crap little ideas with nothing in common". Would love to hear of any disciples of Byron Sharp etc who've had success re-educating their digital colleagues on the myths of differentiation, loyalty and most importantly "engagement"?
Great point Simon on ad agency types seeking emotional reward (if a little uncomfortable) Martin: what I was asking about was not really around the concept of 'fans' or loyalty so much as the influence channels or types of communications in higher-involvement decisions like buying a car. If you're buying a car, the decision making process is likely to take a little longer than say, stocking up on loo roll. Mass reach media like TV will arguably influence the cars you consider (and even subsequently choose). However, along the way you'll probably also ask your mates who are into cars, read TopGear reviews or maybe spend time on the car brand's website (possibly even participating in some sort of interactive experience!). The question is around the mix - how much emphasis or investment should we should put on these 'consideration' channels, eg brand websites / review sites / experiences versus mass reach comms that drive familiarity in the first place?
Again, an excellent piece and well argued. Makes perfect sense, particularly in 'don't care' categories like shampoo, where decisions are often made hastily in-store. Furthermore, I think we'd all agree that 'mass interest' is important in any category (except perhaps for niche brands). However, like Gina, I'd love to hear your perspective on the role of deeper advertiser-aided consideration (which may or may not involve consumer participation) in high-involvement, low-frequency categories like mobile phones or cars? If it's about complimentary roles, how do we determine how much effort to put into driving mass interest versus deeper consideration?
Speaking as a 'digital person', I found this very refreshing. Regardless of whether your motivation is genuine usefulness or communication, successful branded utility relies on being able to understand what role your brand can credibly play in someone's life. It's credible for Nike to create Nike+ because of the equity they've already built in the brand around running and personal achievement. Conversely, while I'm happy to eat Heinz baked beans as part of a fry-up, I wouldn't download a Heinz recipe app so I could feature beans as a core ingredient in everything I cook. Sounds silly but I actually came across a recipe card for baked bean pizza in the supermarket the other day...
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Oct 16, 2011