Marketers habitually target advertising at people who are in the market for a product or service but understanding the “pre-triggers” that got them to that point may be a more effective way to create communications.
Media agency MEC’s analysis of over 250,000 individual purchase journeys across thirty-six categories has identified four stages, from the initial passive stage, when people aren’t consciously thinking about a purchase through the second, trigger stage, when a need or want brings people into the third, active stage, when they are thinking about their potential purchase; then finally, the purchase moment.
There are several reasons why it has become increasingly challenging and expensive for brands to influence decisions in the active stage, they contend, including the fact that few people buy a brand that wasn’t on their consideration list when they entered the market; that the size of consideration sets in any case has remained steady even as the choices on offer have exploded in number; and that the cost of media targeting people in the active stage has been growing significantly.
All these factors lead the authors to advise marketers to use data signals to identify and exploit pre-triggers – “the actions people take just before they are triggered into the market” – and so establish their brands in consideration sets at the optimum moment just before the trigger to the active stage.
By Pete Buckley (Head of Strategy) and Richard Bradford (Group Strategy Director), MEC UK writing in the current issue of Admap.
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