Ask a Researcher: Consumer behavior

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Alistair Rennie:
The status quo is the status quo for a reason, you know. It’s been tried;

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it’s been tested; it’s been proven.

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So if you’re going to challenge that, you know, you need to have a really good reason

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and some pretty robust data to back it up.

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Hi, I’m Natalie Zmuda, global executive editor with Think with Google.

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Welcome to Ask a Researcher from home.

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I’m here today with Alistair Rennie. He’s a market insights lead, based in EMEA.

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Thanks Ali for joining us today.

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Thanks very much for having me.

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Natalie:
Can you talk to me about what you call the messy middle?

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Alistair:
Okay, the messy middle.

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So, today’s consumer has a lot more information and choice.

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So there are search engines, there’s social media, price comparison sites, aggregators,

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review sites, video sites, blogs sites.

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Not even to mention the actual retailers themselves.

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(That’s what we call the trigger.)

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It happens between that and the purchase.

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All of that choice and information.

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When you put all that together, that’s what we call the messy middle.

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And it was such a mess, in fact, that we decided we’d try and tidy it up and sort of reimagine

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a model of what behavior looks like in that space.

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Natalie:
Tell me about that model.

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Alistair:
The model.

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I’m glad you asked me that.

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What we’ve done is we’ve taken this spaghetti-like mess, this messy middle, and we’ve codified

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it into just two mental modes.

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So whatever you’re doing, be it looking at a search engine, you’re on a review site,

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you’re on a retailer site; you’re doing one of two things: You’re either exploring

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or you’re evaluating.

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When you are in exploration mode, and you’re adding brands and products to your consideration

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Then when you go into the evaluation mindset, this is a reductive process and you start

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to narrow down your choices again.

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But here’s the thing, because we have so much choice, we are encouraged to go back

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into exploration mode.

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You can see in our model, it creates this infinity loop.

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Technically, there’s no end to how many times you can go back and forward through this loop.

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This distinction is really important, because there is, as well as being two distinct mental

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modes, they have their own reward structures.

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And actually they require a different set of marketing tactics to approach them effectively.

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Natalie:
And how CAN marketers be most effective?

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So, there are three big takeaways for marketers, really.

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The first of those is to ensure brand presence.

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We’ve seen that just by showing up in the messy middle at the right time, this can really

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have an impact on the outcome of the decision making process.

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The second big takeaway is about the intelligent and the responsible use of the principles

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of behavioral science.

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It’s the discoveries made in the messy middle that often determine the outcome, and small

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changes can have a really, really big impact.

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And the third and final takeaway for marketers is about closing the gap between the trigger

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And this might seem like a really obvious one, but it’s really important, is good

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If the page loading speed is poor or the navigation isn’t intuitive, you’re you’re giving

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the shopper every excuse to go and explore and evaluate somewhere else.

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Natalie:
Really interesting.

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Ali, thank you so much for joining us today.

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Alistair:
My pleasure.

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Natalie :
And for more on the latest marketing insights

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visit ThinkWithGoogle.com

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