Live from TMRE 2011: Loyal or Lazy? Ipsos Explains…

Ipsos Marketing: Loyal or Lazy: Maximizing Brand Performance at Shelf

As presented by:

Paul Crowe, Ph.D.
Retail and Shopper Practice

Brad Bane,
Forecasting, Modeling & Consulting Practice

The Executive Summary
How consumers make decisions is a complex subject. Market Research company Ipsos helps clear the research clutter by introducing two mindsets that exist in all shoppers: Deliberative (where the brain works a little harder to compare products and attributes) and implimental (where the brain doesn’t work as hard to make a decision because the purchase has become second nature; very comfortable). Understanding consumers in this way will help marketers understand whether we should encourage or disrupt the path to purchasing our brands. Research recommendations suddenly get much easier when we can understand our shoppers in this way.

The Dive
We have a pretty good understanding who our shoppers are, and usually understand that that have many choices in the marketplace. Yet, Ipsos suggests that we also treat our shoppers as if they are thinking about us all the time and forget to realize that other things are going on her life. For example, she has to juggle her job, her children, what they are eating that night for dinner.

Our brands play a role in her life, but they do not occupy her mind all the time. It’s for this reason that we should focus on how Christine is making her decision by the time she reaches the shelf.

There are two mindsets that the presenters found in all shoppers: Deliberative and implemental.
The deliberative mindset is used to help choose between two or more items; we compare attributes and brand names are nearly irrelevant. The implementation mindset is found in people making decisions where there isn’t really a decision to be made; the brand or product we choose is almost a habit in that we don’t really think at it because we’ve already tried it and received the outcome we were seeking.

Here’s what we can do, as researchers, to understand which side of the fence your shopper might be:
  1. Utilize indirect measures. – People can’t explain ‘why’ so use inferred reasoning like a shopper decision tree.
  2. Read their mind. – well, we haven’t quite figured this out yet.
  3. Read their mindset. (either deliberative or implimental)

In the store, here’s what we can do:

  1. In store option 1: Disrupt the shopper. ‘ Force people to deliberate (might be in the implementation mindset for another brand). This will work best for trial and re-trial for a new product introduction.
  2. In store option 2: Reinforce. ‘ Do not disrupt. Perfect when your brand is already top of mind.
So to answer the original question, are consumer loyal or just lazy? It’s actually a trick question. For those making purchases without deliberation, they are cognitively lazy in that their brains are not working as hard to make a purchasing decision.

The TakeawayUnderstanding their mindset, and where our brand lies in the mind of our shoppers, we can provide much more meaningful and insightful research recommendations. As retailers and manufacturers seek loyal shoppers, how do marketers decide whether they should disrupt or encourage the path to purchase? As Ipsos suggests, we can focus more heavily on understanding their mindsets to understand the degree of work the our shoppers’ brains are engaging in when faced with our product at the shelf.

Garrett McGuire (@GJMcGuire) is a Consumer Insights Analyst for a major retailer. His areas of focus are advertising research, brand equity, and providing consumer insights for many marketing initiatives. Prior to his current position, he was a graduate student at Michigan State University where he began his blog, “The Journal of a mAD Man,” that explains the theories and methods of advertising.