by Karl Hourigan
Everybody in the business of selling something to someone else wants to know what it’s going to take to convince that someone else to say “yes, I will buy from you.” From behavioural targeting to neuromarketing, Google trends and Twitter, the idea is that if we can get inside the mind of the buyer, we will know how to sell to them.
The reason neuromarketing is important for giving us insight into how buyers decide is because just asking them, through interviews and surveys, doesn’t necessarily provide the real answers. There is both an art and a science to building surveys or polls that reliably produce statistically valid quantifiable data, and the qualitative information that interviews can yield can be difficult to match up with the quantifiable data. In other words we can observe that people say one thing, but do another. It’s enough to drive a marketer wild, and as a research analyst, I’m ever on the alert to the meaning behind the numbers.
For online experiences, different methods of usability testing can help peel back the mysterious layers of why people do what they do. The insights can be surprising, and are a good reminder what happens when we assume we know how people will interact with a web site.
Having said that, I’m going to go out on a limb and tell a story about a cross-channel media experience I had that resulted in no sale. The reason I think it’s interesting is because it brings marketing back to some fairly fundamental principles, as in ‘don’t make me think’.
I was watching TV and saw an ad for a new vehicle, an SUV from Government, er, General Motors. It caught my attention for two reasons – my wife commented that it was a nice looking vehicle, and she rarely pays any attention to autos, and secondly the ad made some very surprising claims about the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
After the show, I went online and looked up said vehicle on GM’s Canadian web site. Yes, the fuel efficiency numbers were impressive. Further investigation revealed a satisfactory list of standard safety features. OK, I’m interested now, so how much? Digging around on the site, it looked as though there could be manufacturer incentives available, possibly as much as $8500(!). Next I used the ‘Build It Price It’ function and when I got to the summary, the bottom line, there was no mention of any deals, paybacks, or incentives. So are there incentives or not? Now they were making me work. I gave up on the web site revealing more information. I could go onto some forums and try to find out more, but I don’t feel like working that hard to give them my money.
I could email a dealer, but my previous experience emailing dealers is that too many (about half in my experience), never reply. I could phone, but again, my experience is I end up talking to someone who doesn’t know anything and won’t make any effort to find out, or if they promise to find out, never call me back. I’m bored playing that game. That leaves showing up in person, but I don’t have enough information to be confident I’m not wasting my time, because if the payments are more than I can handle, I’ve got better things to do with my time.
Now here’s the thing: the vehicle looks like it would meet my needs, if only I could afford it. If I could land it for $8500 less than the web site sticker price, we could have a deal. But I don’t know if that’s a possibility. I went from TV exposure to web exposure to oblivion. And you don’t need a neuroscientist to tell you what went on in my head.
I wonder if the team that put together the compelling TV ad talk to the team that handle that web site, and just how much they both talk to their dealer network. They took me cross-channel, but I fell between the gaps.
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