Our BLOG

OMG! My likes matter. I mean really, really matter.

Last week, I was on the hunt for brown boots. I need brown boots that go over my jeans up to the knee. I've got cash in my pocket and a hot outfit without boots. Dear shoe stores, look out! I went to a very big mall and sorted through endless options. Let's say I reviewed 30 pairs, seriously considering five. I was feeling a bit panicked' how to choose? How to make the right decision among the endless options in this ocean of brown boots!? Now let's pretend that everyone I know and love was standing behind me telling me what they would buy. Perhaps what they have already bought. Is this helpful? I am shopping alone (or so I thought) strolling through and WHAM!, there is my third cousin's wife's choice with a blinking star on it. I love it and you should too. Here's why: 1.) My third cousin's wife has great taste and I always wondered where she shopped. 2.)There are many times when a choice, even boots, is six-to-one, half dozen-to-another. But to someone else, the choice is much more clear ' its two-to-one and 10-to-another. 3.) My bestie shows up at my party with AMAZING (said in high falsetto) boots. If I had only known... To be free of buyers' remorse! 4.) My opinions will be shared ' I like to tell my friends about the good, the bad and the ugly of everything ' brown boots, charities, TV shows that I want them to watch so we can talk about them. It also matters to marketers: 1.) Happy Customers. Generally the more informed a purchase is; the more satisfied the buyer. That consumer is more likely to become a brand advocate, 'like' a product on facebook, have it show up on google, and around we go. 2.) More data. We're already swimming in a sea of 'interesting' data but linking 'likes' that show up in search to clicks on the brand site of that same page adds a tangible layer to the power of social influence. 3.) Deeper Conversations. While more information might delay a decision, if a consumer can go back to their friend, ask questions, talk it over that shopping experience just became a brand experience. 4.) Empowerment. When consumer love of a brand (or hate) can be easily expressed, the consumer is empowered. Dear brand, be good. 5.) Conversation conversion. A consumer might see that a trusted friend 'liked' something they specifically, and subjectively, do not like. What a chance to let a brand advocate turn a negative to a positive...or at least a neutral. Fears that facebook will take over the world aside ' easier sharing of information from friends can lead to a smoother and more beneficial experience for everyone.

Event Recap: Buy Buy To Shopping As You Know It: Hello To The Future of Consumerism

At the newly launched AMP Insights Lab, our team of doctors, scientists and doctor-scientists* have been diligently working behind the scenes to uncover the latest trends in technology and consumer behavior. Recently, they've been working on a proprietary quantitative/qualitative study titled Behind the Buy, which explores the path to purchase within the digital space, across 500 consumers. The full study will be available in the coming weeks so check back on AMPAgency.com and our blog to learn more. For this event, Allison Marsh (VP, Consumer Insights) and Jason Rivera (Director, Consumer Insights) took us through some topline findings of the study. Today's average U.S. consumer will take in 12 hours of information, (not counting personal conversations) every day. 12 hours! Think about that for a second. It seems like the only time we're not consuming media is during bathroom breaks and while we're sleeping. No, wait, scratch that. And after watching Inception this summer, I bet we're probably on borrowed time there, too. Our study explores five key product categories (fashion, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty and baby). What we've noticed is that a large number of consumers are doing research across the board, even for seemingly low-impact categories (food and beverage: 36%; health and beauty: 31%). This dynamic has made us think carefully about consumer influences and data resources while reevaluating the flow of the traditional purchase cycle. CONSUMER INFLUENCES There are many influences that weigh-in on purchase decisions, the importance of which, are usually category-specific. There are some interesting qualitative data-points that are worth noting. For example, In food and beverage, 'taste'? is more of a priority than 'natural / organic'?. Sorry, organic-Spam, maybe try again in a few years. It also depends on where consumers are in the purchase cycle. In the fashion category, 'trends'? may inform consumers' decisions but 'cost'? and 'fit'? will ultimately close the sale (each influence outweighs 'trends'? by nearly a 2:1 margin). It's no huge surprise that to learn that these influences are refined through many different sources of information (blogs, expert reviews, in-store representatives, brand websites, competitor websites, magazines, consumer reviews, and opinions of friends and family, among others). What our research has confirmed is the thought that there's no single source of information and the majority of consumers are overwhelmingly taking into account several information sources before making the purchase. The good news for brands is that there are many detours on the path to purchase and each one represents an opportunity to influence consumers' decisions along the way. THE NEW PATH TO PURCHASE Traditionally we've thought of the path to consumer evangelism as the following: Awareness -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Loyalty -> Evangelism. But today, the first couple of steps have become much more complex as more information and data has empowered consumer decision-making. At the Consideration phase, consumers are identifying a 'need state'? (ex. 'I need a new digital camera'?). Once that need state has been identified, that consumer then engages in 'passive consideration'? where many brands are considered. As that consumer does research, they may refine their need state further (ex. 'well, I don't need something that is going to take 25MP photos, I just want something small to take candid family photos'?). Once their need state is refined and more research is uncovered, the consumer enters the 'active awareness'? phase, where very few brands are considered. Once the consumer identifies the best match from the various aforementioned influences, the purchase is ultimately made. According to McKinsey's The Consumer Decision Journey, after the purchase is made, the consumer follows a 'loyalty loop'? based on expectations from the previous purchasing cycle. Therefore, additional brands are still considered during the next purchase cycle with brand loyalty tied to how positive/negative the previous experience was. Somewhere, a Product Manager for Cheeseburger-in-a-Can weeps. EMERGING CONSUMER ENGAGEMENTS Our team shares a few interesting examples of emerging consumer engagements. Our first example was 'haul videos'? (or the male, tech-equivalent called 'unboxing'?, way manlier). You may remember our take on haul videos from a piece we did with FOX25 last month. Current TV also has a great take on this fad as well. Yes, people are actually doing this. Author's Note: I bought an iPhone case last month and sifted through a handful of unboxing videos before realizing that the sounds of overgrown teenagers breathing heavily while they futilely fumble with vacuum-sealed packaging is a hell that I wish upon no man (or woman). Another interesting consumer engagement is the cartoonishly-named Stickybits. Stickybits is a platform that joins barcodes with social media behavior allowing users to attach messages through both new and existing barcodes. Just imagine being at the grocery store and scanning a new flavor of Pretzel Crisps to find out what other consumers had to say about it. Or better yet, scanning the barcode to find a BOGO offer for use at checkout. Or BOTH! The mass adoption isn't quite there yet, but these are all very-possible applications of this new technology. Not futurey-enough for you? Let's take a look at what the wunderkinds at MIT are up to'?¦nothing big, just a hugely-ambitious, environment-aware, interactive, projection-based user interface. The technology is called Sixth Sense and it aims to seamlessly integrate the digital and physical world. Crazy stuff. Oh and it's open source too, FTW. Finally, is there anything more entertaining than old videos from yesteryear that tried to predict the future? Always a good source of unintentional comedy. Our team showed a video from the 60's that dreamed up wacky consumer engagements with retailers and peer-to-peer communication. Actually, it's not as far off base as you may think. Check out what Don Draper and friends thought the future would be like. Thanks to all who attended our event earlier this week. Stay tuned for our upcoming study Behind the Buy, slated to be released at the end of the month. * Job titles have not been verified.

Event Recap: Buy Buy To Shopping As You Know It: Hello To The Future of Consumerism

At the newly launched AMP Insights Lab, our team of doctors, scientists and doctor-scientists* have been diligently working behind the scenes to uncover the latest trends in technology and consumer behavior. Recently, they've been working on a proprietary quantitative/qualitative study titled Behind the Buy, which explores the path to purchase within the digital space, across 500 consumers. The full study will be available in the coming weeks so check back on AMPAgency.com and our blog to learn more. For this event, Allison Marsh (VP, Consumer Insights) and Jason Rivera (Director, Consumer Insights) took us through some topline findings of the study. Today's average U.S. consumer will take in 12 hours of information, (not counting personal conversations) every day. 12 hours! Think about that for a second. It seems like the only time we're not consuming media is during bathroom breaks and while we're sleeping. No, wait, scratch that. And after watching Inception this summer, I bet we're probably on borrowed time there, too. Our study explores five key product categories (fashion, consumer electronics, food and beverage, health and beauty and baby). What we've noticed is that a large number of consumers are doing research across the board, even for seemingly low-impact categories (food and beverage: 36%; health and beauty: 31%). This dynamic has made us think carefully about consumer influences and data resources while reevaluating the flow of the traditional purchase cycle. CONSUMER INFLUENCES There are many influences that weigh-in on purchase decisions, the importance of which, are usually category-specific. There are some interesting qualitative data-points that are worth noting. For example, In food and beverage, 'taste'? is more of a priority than 'natural / organic'?. Sorry, organic-Spam, maybe try again in a few years. It also depends on where consumers are in the purchase cycle. In the fashion category, 'trends'? may inform consumers' decisions but 'cost'? and 'fit'? will ultimately close the sale (each influence outweighs 'trends'? by nearly a 2:1 margin). It's no huge surprise that to learn that these influences are refined through many different sources of information (blogs, expert reviews, in-store representatives, brand websites, competitor websites, magazines, consumer reviews, and opinions of friends and family, among others). What our research has confirmed is the thought that there's no single source of information and the majority of consumers are overwhelmingly taking into account several information sources before making the purchase. The good news for brands is that there are many detours on the path to purchase and each one represents an opportunity to influence consumers' decisions along the way. THE NEW PATH TO PURCHASE Traditionally we've thought of the path to consumer evangelism as the following: Awareness -> Consideration -> Purchase -> Loyalty -> Evangelism. But today, the first couple of steps have become much more complex as more information and data has empowered consumer decision-making. At the Consideration phase, consumers are identifying a 'need state'? (ex. 'I need a new digital camera'?). Once that need state has been identified, that consumer then engages in 'passive consideration'? where many brands are considered. As that consumer does research, they may refine their need state further (ex. 'well, I don't need something that is going to take 25MP photos, I just want something small to take candid family photos'?). Once their need state is refined and more research is uncovered, the consumer enters the 'active awareness'? phase, where very few brands are considered. Once the consumer identifies the best match from the various aforementioned influences, the purchase is ultimately made. According to McKinsey's The Consumer Decision Journey, after the purchase is made, the consumer follows a 'loyalty loop'? based on expectations from the previous purchasing cycle. Therefore, additional brands are still considered during the next purchase cycle with brand loyalty tied to how positive/negative the previous experience was. Somewhere, a Product Manager for Cheeseburger-in-a-Can weeps. EMERGING CONSUMER ENGAGEMENTS Our team shares a few interesting examples of emerging consumer engagements. Our first example was 'haul videos'? (or the male, tech-equivalent called 'unboxing'?, way manlier). You may remember our take on haul videos from a piece we did with FOX25 last month. Current TV also has a great take on this fad as well. Yes, people are actually doing this. Author's Note: I bought an iPhone case last month and sifted through a handful of unboxing videos before realizing that the sounds of overgrown teenagers breathing heavily while they futilely fumble with vacuum-sealed packaging is a hell that I wish upon no man (or woman). Another interesting consumer engagement is the cartoonishly-named Stickybits. Stickybits is a platform that joins barcodes with social media behavior allowing users to attach messages through both new and existing barcodes. Just imagine being at the grocery store and scanning a new flavor of Pretzel Crisps to find out what other consumers had to say about it. Or better yet, scanning the barcode to find a BOGO offer for use at checkout. Or BOTH! The mass adoption isn't quite there yet, but these are all very-possible applications of this new technology. Not futurey-enough for you? Let's take a look at what the wunderkinds at MIT are up to'?¦nothing big, just a hugely-ambitious, environment-aware, interactive, projection-based user interface. The technology is called Sixth Sense and it aims to seamlessly integrate the digital and physical world. Crazy stuff. Oh and it's open source too, FTW. Finally, is there anything more entertaining than old videos from yesteryear that tried to predict the future? Always a good source of unintentional comedy. Our team showed a video from the 60's that dreamed up wacky consumer engagements with retailers and peer-to-peer communication. Actually, it's not as far off base as you may think. Check out what Don Draper and friends thought the future would be like. Thanks to all who attended our event earlier this week. Stay tuned for our upcoming study Behind the Buy, slated to be released at the end of the month. * Job titles have not been verified.

How I Became a Brand Evangelist

In an attempt to make my life even more sedentary, I recently bought a new HDTV. At the moment, my TV is on a stand precariously sitting atop a cheap IKEA dresser. I've had a few visions of me overzealously opening my sock drawer only to have my new Samsung come crashing down. This is not good. Inspired by one of those empowering and uplifting Home Depot commercials, I decided to wall mount my new HDTV. Armed with a mounting kit for my new TV, I immediately ran into a problem when my stud scanner failed to find any studs in the wall. Interesting. I figured my best resource would be asking for advice from the experts at my local do-it-yourself megastore. The employee that I spoke with wasn't as helpful as I had hoped but did point me in the right direction to the appropriate hardware for the job. Moments later, I found myself standing in front of a pegboard of anchors, toggles and fasteners, carefully reading the packaging of each. While I didn't have a definitive product that I was sold on, I had a few frontrunners in mind and figured I'd do a little more research and come back later. After scanning the web for a while, I eventually came across Toggler.com, which provided a detailed overview of their products along with how-to videos for common installation projects. So far, so good. But since I was in a unique position of not being able to identify the wall type (and not wanting to hack into it to find out / too lazy to ask my landlord directly), I still needed some additional consultation. I noticed they had an 'Ask an Expert'? section. After reviewing a few dated posts, I figured there was a slim chance I'd actually get a response. I sent my question via a submission form into what I thought would be a black hole. A few days later I get an email from an Executive Vice President (!) at Toggler asking me to call him at my earliest convenience to discuss my problem. And that is how Toggler got a customer for life. The point of my story is not just that I'm an incompetent 'do-it-myselfer'?, but rather that there are many steps throughout the shopper marketing process where a brand or retailer can affect purchase and gain traction and affinity. There were several opportunities throughout my own personal buying experience ' from employees at retail, to product packaging, to website content ' all fresh opportunities for me to become a buyer. It just so happened, that one brand delivered so far above and beyond my expectations that I have now become a lifer and will recommend them to friends and family (and loyal blog readers!) for years to come.

    Related Posts