Do you sometimes need a little nudge?

Like many people, it turns out that consumers also respond well to a little nudge now and then.

Whilst Nudge Marketing^ has been around for some time, we still believe it is a great way to help close what we call the “Shopper Purchase Decision Gap”.

Our industry has traditionally concentrated on building great emotion into our brand positioning but has been very functional when creating shopper communication.  What Nudge Marketing has taught us is that demonstrating the relevance of a brand to a specific occasion or need that a shopper might have on any given specific mission, also needs a little nudge in the direction of more emotional communication.

So what is a nudge?  According to his book, Eric Singler says that a ‘nudge’ is “any small feature in the environment that attracts our attention and influences our behaviour”.  Nudge Marketing is deeply rooted in behavioural science and neuroscience.

In real terms we believe it means any activity that will help a shopper to make the final commitment to purchasing a product – closing the ‘Shopper Purchase Decision Gap’.

We define closing the shopper purchase decision gap as: influencing ‘open’ versus ‘decided’ shoppers to drive a purchase, by overcoming “relevance barriers” to their needs on any given specific shopping mission. Clearly to do this effectively requires nudging shoppers to consider our brands as relevant to their needs and to remove any mental or physical barriers they might have.

So what can we draw upon from Nudge Marketing principles to help us in our pursuit to close the Shopper Purchase Decision Gap?  There are six fundamentals of human behaviour, which need to be considered when developing a shopper campaign:

  1. Our logical process is highly chaotic – there are eleven logical illusions which drive shoppers to make mental shortcuts or follow their biases.
  2. We are emotional beings – we make more decisions using ‘System 1’ (fast, often unconscious way of thinking) than ‘System 2’, (slow, conscious way of thinking).
  3. We are social beings – social norms play a large part in decision making.
  4. We are creatures of context – choice architecture (the context of the offer) influences how we perceive an offer.
  5. We are creatures of habit – decisions involve risk; “risk aversion”/fear of loss drives us to not change our behaviour.
  6. We have intuitive natures that we don’t understand – we aren’t conscious of our unconscious behaviour.

What does it all mean for us?  We have narrowed it down to one simple approach; “provide shoppers with a solution to their needs”, backed by three important principles.  These underline everything we do to help our clients win by closing the Shopper Purchase Decision Gap more effectively.

  1. Be extraordinarily clear about the behaviour change you are aiming to influence in every activity you pursue.
    1. We often confuse an objective with a real behaviour change, i.e., get shoppers to buy more is an objective that gives us very little help in the way of ‘how’ this will be achieved.
  2. Analyse the consumer-shopper journey in detail for each behaviour change objective you have:
    1. Think about the specific mission (context and environment).
    2. Your message objective and the best place to influence a decision on the journey – whether shoppers are ‘open’ or ‘decided’, differs greatly by mission and store environment.
  3. Understand which of the Nudge Marketing 21 levers of influence ^ to use to impact the desired behaviour change, dependent on the particular consumer-shopper journey you are targeting.

What does great Nudge Marketing look like?  One of my old favourites is the Diageo ‘Mix It’ campaign from a few years ago. They understood that bringing together two favourites to offer the shopper a relevant solution was a brilliant idea … the campaign spanned several years!

Who needs to be involved?  A multi-functional team led by Marketing, because they are typically the best at creating message objectives; Customer Marketing because they should be clear on when and where shoppers are open or decided on any given mission; Sales because they should be clear on what is possible with their customers, assuming the execution is in the store/or grocery online.

In summary, closing the purchase decision gap is all about making your brand more relevant to the occasions and needs that shoppers shop for on any given mission.


^Nudge Marketing, Winning at Behavioural Change. Eric Singler 2015


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