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Unlocking the Hidden Impulses that Drive Customer Choice

What are the underlying motivations that compel a consumer to click, share or buy? What personal values and aspirations do your customers prize most dearly while encountering a product or brand experience? What deep-seated beliefs and principles color their browsing and buying decisions?

The onslaught of unending digital distractions can easily get between your customers and your brand messages, and, as marketers, we can no longer afford to guess when it comes to creating meaningful customer engagement.

The brutal truth is that most of today’s customer research is not very actionable when informing marketing experiences. Most research techniques ask customers to react to something — be it a multi-choice survey or focus group setting. And when asked, a person is likely to provide a misleading or exaggerated response. The fact is most people don’t really know why or how they make a purchasing decision. It has even been suggested that we use different parts of our brains when processing a choice. One part that is intuitive and nearly automatic, while the other is more methodical and conscious. The combination of the two makes it hard for us to discern the origin of a decision.

So, how can we get a clearer picture of the root of a customer decision?

Determining how people make a decision requires an investigative process that combines the benefits of specialized qualitative research with advanced analytics to uncover the complex and integrated cognitive drivers of consumer choice.

Right now, at Merkle, we are using a new investigative technique called MAVEN, which is directed toward customer choice and allows marketers to get closer to their customers. We are gaining a clearer visibility into the underlying motivations that drive consumer behavior.

The heart of our process is a blending of the quantitative with the qualitative. We aim to understand the emotional criteria that drive decision behavior. It gives us a clear and simple illustration of consumer decision drivers in the context of the broader brand picture and helps us to “see” the whole customer perspective.

The output of this research not only defines the pathways to purchase, but also illuminates ownership of pathway drivers to support the development of potential business strategies. We translate those results into actionable customer mindsets. By locating the prevailing sentiments within our results, we focus our attention on the linkages that derive a clear, audience-verified, personal value. Most appropriately, this is delivered in the form of a customer perspective that demonstrates the prevailing emotional criteria that will best inform how we can influence a customer decision behavior. We then overlay these mindsets with a "mapping of motivations" where we deduce the most appropriate behavior stimulus (motivation) that best connects the customer values and will generate the required customer response needed for our business drivers.

Armed with this rigorous mapping of customer attitudes, values and emotional needs, we at Merkle are able to inform smarter, more effective messaging and creative strategies which tightly align a marketing experience with the unspoken expectations and aspirations of our customers. Ultimately, this leads to a better audience response without the guessing game.

If you are interested in learning more about our MAVEN process, please contact either myself Kevin Walsh [email protected] or Bob Wood [email protected] of our Advanced Analytic Product Team.


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