What to Do When Your Customers Aren’t Shopping

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By: Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

A recent study by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science found that only 5% of big ticket item shoppers are in the market at any given time. This finding points out a big difference between the way consumers think about high involvement purchases. Namely, they don’t think about buying these items as frequently as they do low involvement purchases. 

These findings have some important implications for marketers. First, when it comes to these big ticket items we need to recognize that sales messages will likely not reach people when they have sales on their mind. This means that marketers need to carefully adjust their objectives and recognize that brand building messaging will be more important than driving sales. Brand building can additionally be important for the following reasons:

  1. It builds mental associations. Just because consumers aren’t thinking about your product doesn’t mean you can’t create memories that will help them think about your product when they do think about making a purchase. In order to build these associations marketers should be on the lookout for “triggering” events that result in someone thinking about your product, then making sure people think about your brand when that event occurs. Gym memberships provide a great example. People often think about joining a gym when they move, for example, so in that case you could invest your marketing efforts in helping customers see your gym as the best option for getting established in a new community. 
  2.  Sales activation might get more difficult. Personalization and targeting have contributed to a shift toward sales in the marketing world, but targeting precision often changes. Consumer privacy plays a big role here, with many companies like Apple and Google responding to consumer concerns. Since brand building targets a broader market, we can rest assured that we can reach the audience we’re aiming to reach without unexpected changes in technology changing our strategy and approach too much. 
  3. Brand building is more memorable. Sales activation is short, but the impact of building brand is long. Importantly, the long term impact of building brand depends on the quality of the creative, with great creative having a multiplicative impact on advertising effectiveness. In marketing, a little creativity can go a long way in terms of making an impression in the mind of the consumer. 

At Intermark Group, we’re often advising clients to incorporate all these key considerations in their advertising campaigns. We work with you at all levels of the campaign, from strategy, creative, production, and media, and more. Feel free to give us a call at 833-578-1314 or email us at [email protected] to discuss how we can help with your marketing challenges.