In our last blog post, we looked at a case study, an actual instance of the Mobius Cycle at work, the real-life path to purchase for a pair of real-life consumers. We’ll do that again today but, in today’s example, we’ll be looking at a case where the purchase is not optional (no matter how badly Mike and Nicole wanted that RV, they didn’t truly need it, though a successful marketer might make them feel that way) and the cycle, while it still falls under the heading of considered purchase, has a good bit more (ahem) urgency to it.
We have been spending a lot of time recently looking at how and why people buy. We have been digging deep and dissecting what goes into the consideration and subsequent purchase. You may have seen our prior postings on the Mobius Cycle™ . It’s a non-sequential purchase cycle. This non-linear consumer journey, as I’m often telling people, is not something we dreamed up here at Williams Helde; it’s something that’s out there, happening, right now, with your consumers. We’ve just coined the terminology to define and explain it, so that we can help you devise a strategy to thrive in this, the new reality.
To illustrate just how complex and difficult marketing has become and how accurately Mobius Cycle™ describes the lifecycle of a considered purchase in the current environment, allow us to present you with a case study, a true story: (we changed the names to protect the innocent)
People are smarter than ever before. As customers, they don’t fall into a nice, easy segmentation anymore, and the purchase path is no longer linear. And with an endless amount of resources, information and influences, they’re being stimulated in more ways. Nowadays, people can interact with a brand at any point within the purchase lifecycle. Not to mention, there has been a major convergence of paid, owned and earned media to add to the decision process. In fact, mass media is no longer the driving factor in awareness and brand perception. And even “new” media is no longer considered “new” – it’s all just media these days. For advertisers, this means that those influences we tried to control for so many years need to be rethought as marketers.
Introducing our latest creation: The Mobius Cycle.
Doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, electricians, and real estate agents are only a few of the professionals on a long list of careers that require continuing education. Not on that list: marketers. Now I’m not suggesting that people in business and marketing don’t do our share of on the job learning, we do, but in a world where technology, policy, and practices are changing at a staggering pace, it becomes quickly apparent that if you don’t spend time to keep on top of changing industries you can quickly become outdated and obsolete. On top of that, the lack of standards leaves us with 181,000 self-proclaimed social media experts, gurus, ninjas, mavens, and warriors on Twitter. I can’t just walk into a hospital, decide that I’m a doctor because I saw an episode of House and bandaged up a scraped knee once, yet someone spends a month posting on Twitter and all of a sudden they’re a master?! But I’m not writing to talk about standards. I’m writing to talk about education.
Over the course of my professional career, I have read what ultimately amounts to a tiny fraction of the ever growing number of business books out there. That being said, I’ve read more than a few. Many of these books seem to repeat the same things over and over. Many spend a lot of ink (or electrons) articulating the importance of a topic without really offering any practical advice on how to do it. And then there are those books that you read and realize that it will change the way you operate.
We were asked to create a product launch video for the Philips ClearVue 650, a versatile new ultrasound with advanced image quality and innovative features. The chosen concept plays off the device’s new 3D/4D capabilities, and lets the stunning images and functionality take center stage. The final touch? An emotional music score to highlight one of the product’s most important benefits…advanced technology for women’s healthcare.
Philips ClearVue 650 Product Launch Video
If you’ve read any technology articles lately, they may be leading you down a path that might suggest that Apple is a thing of the past. Now I’m not going to point out that Apple’s iPhone market share continues to grow while Android’s…well, declines. Or that Apple’s “old” iPhone 4S outsells Samsung’s top of the line Galaxy III (for the record, I’m a huge Samsung fan). Or the fact that Firefox’s new OS, Blackberry, Microsoft, etc., all of these phones are taking market share from the Android market but barely denting the iPhone market. Or even that Samsung makes fun of people for waiting in line for Apple’s product launches despite the fact that it would give anything for people to line up for its products, but repeatedly, no one does.
As data becomes more and more prevalent, tracking has quickly become a necessary component of any business plan. While focus groups and independent research are the most effective ways to collect data, they can also be costly and time consuming. Fortunately, you can still add value and effectiveness without adding high costs – by using free or inexpensive tools first. You’ll get the information you need and save time and money in the process. Here are a few inexpensive tools you can use to get immediate results:
Qualitative consumer data:
- Hit the streets: While there is a time and a place for focus groups, they can often either tell you what you already knew or worse, steer you in the wrong direction. When learning about an audience, start by immersing yourself into that group. Order magazines that the audience reads, watch shows they like, even spend a day at a construction work site or research lab getting to know people. This type of candid, real world feedback is frequently much more useful than anything you’ll hear in a highly controlled environment deciding whether participants like logo A or B better. It’s our job, as marketers, to make these decisions. But by entering the world of your consumers, you can better understand how they think, giving you insights and information to make smarter decisions with.Hit the web: Doing a web search for something your audience might be researching is a great start (i.e., if you’re developing a new baby learning app, a search for “ipad apps for babies”). Not only does it give you a moment to see the world through the eyes of your audience, but it’s also a great way to get useful ideas and learn about competitors. Can come up with any search ideas? Wordtracker provides a tool that shows you search questions based on keyword inputs. And if you don’t have time to sift through multiple sites, try the Ultimate Research Assistant, which performs a search for you and summarizes the findings into an executive summary.