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Want More Loyal Customers? Study Intent
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As brands continue to posture around the marketplace, marketers and decision-makers need to know which types of people regularly buy their products. Of course, if a brand can develop some sort of customer profile, some archetype, then they will be able to attract that customer forever.

Forever? We wish. In these days, we hope to attract the same customer at least once a month, depending on the type of product we sell.

If you are a regular follower of this blog and our writings, then you will remember that we are big fans of the Fishbein–Ajzen model of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA). The theory suggests that we can be close to predicting the consumer's preference for one item versus another based on difficulty of substitutes (switching costs), product likability, and the intent of actually buying something.

We thoroughly enjoy this model because it brings in a component that, all too often, marketers neglect — intent.

Too regularly, we march and preach about how AdLand should get better at engaging and convincing consumers to buy certain goods and services. But what if the consumer had zero intent to buy anything? Yes, sometimes the consumer may actually be out in stores and malls and departments just to be out. So when the traffic count is high and the sales don't equate, it doesn't mean that someone picked up his take, but it could mean that the store or brand is not switching consumers over from the non-buy stuff or the no-graphic type.

What is a marketer to do? Follow intent. In order to see where these loyal, product-minded consumers go (these are the early adopters, innovators, and early majority), we must be able to engage in a meaningful conversation with them. We need to find out what their opinions are and how we are able to satisfy their need.

Have a real, structured conversation with an influencer, and figuring out intent will follow. Not only will marketers see how intent plays in buying, but we could see what activities and elements would even encourage intent.

What a world.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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