Consumers may have more in common with their counterparts in other countries than they realized – at least when it comes to shopping for consumer packaged goods (CPG).
A new study conducted by Ipsos has found that, regardless of geographic location, consumers in the 23 countries surveyed exhibit the same types of behavior when shopping for CPG products.
The study groups shoppers into five categories based on their attitudes and purchasing habits:
Most common are the "price driven" and "bargain hunters" groups, encompassing 23 percent and 25 percent of surveyed consumers, respectively. Brand lovers, who favor more expensive brands, represent 19 percent, followed by fixed-budget "responsible planners" at 17 percent and impulsive "indulgents" at 16 percent.
Each group has its own unique approach to how and where to shop, and these provide valuable insight to marketers in the process of determining how to connect with them. Digital marketers have always considered consumer behavior when developing their media planning and buying strategies, but they don't always go so far as to develop individual personas representative of each consumer group they endeavor to reach. With information like that supplied by the Ipsos study, marketers can paint an even richer picture of their target audiences and what they're looking for when they shop.
Once that's been accomplished, though, there's still the thorny task of choosing the right advertising. How can one be sure the site, ad placement, or format selected will resonate with each consumer group? Surely, if attitudes toward CPG shopping vary, so too should a brand's ad campaigns. In that case, the best approach is to segment your advertising based on the individual interests of your potential customers - from bargains or brand caché.
Beguiling Brand Lovers and Indulgents
According to Ipsos, these two consumer groups share some common traits. Both are willing to pay more for brand name items and are positively influenced by experience, whether it's a stellar in-store staff or how good a more expensive product tastes.
These label-conscious consumer segments are best equipped to respond to advertising that showcases the brand as much as the product – and allows them to showcase their affiliation with that product as well. Promoting brand Facebook pages and using Facebook's universal "Like" button in ads both feed the pride consumers feel about the products they choose to buy, allowing them to publicly display their affinity to their online friends. Microsites, branded videos, and apps specific to new products (that link to online shopping where possible) will also entice those attracted to what's new and fresh from their favorite brands.
Price Driven and Responsible Planners: It's About Positioning
Both "price driven" and "responsible planners" shop with one thing in mind: savings. Being on a fixed budget, these consumers will "go out of their way" to find the lowest price. If they're shopping online, however, they're still likely to be influenced by online ads. Earlier this year, Burst Media reported that 71 percent of surveyed consumers have been influenced by online ads when shopping online for household cleaners, detergents, and soaps, and 65 percent of boxed or canned goods shoppers have been similarly affected. Naturally, ads that promote low prices, exclusive offers, and coupons are likely to resonate with price-conscious shoppers.
Expandable rollover banners offer the ability to highlight product attributes and also reveal a money-saving coupon. Like the desktop apps of yesteryear, mobile apps can also be used to keep consumers abreast of special offers and deliver coupon codes. Cereal companies were the heavy users of coupons delivered via mobile app earlier this year; price driven and responsible planners or not, studies show eight out of 10 U.S. adults plan to continue their coupon activities, and mobile is a great way to capitalize on this trend.
Setting Your Sights on Bargain Hunters
Bargain hunters, too, are price-conscious, but they're also something else: impulsive. It's this tendency to execute spur of the moment purchases that makes this segment likely to respond to savings-oriented advertising when it appears in unexpected places. Whereas "price driven" and "responsible planners" may not immediately act on an online deal if it doesn't fit into their shopping strategy, "bargain hunters" could see an enticing CPG ad on an online magazine site and make an immediate offline purchase. Although this group isn't as interested in shopping online, it's sure to take advantage of money-saving opportunities when they arise.
Ad placement, therefore, is vitally important. By partnering with publishers and ad networks that can target by online behavior, buyers can identify heavy clickers of ads incorporating coupons and surprise them with a special offer wherever they are. They may not spend as much time on search given their more limited interest in shopping online, so redirect search budgets to behavioral targeting efforts in order to pinpoint this elusive consumer.
When one considers how many different personas CPG companies alone are tasked with reaching, it makes sense to segment the campaign strategy to meet their individual needs - and to turn their online behavior into something that's good for your brand.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.
March 19, 2014