Just as marketers decide to push more of their budget from direct response and into brand campaigns, it could become more difficult to sway consumers in 2012 through loyalty. Consumers seemed easily influenced this year by advertised specials and daily deal coupons, but research suggests the online ad industry may need to rethink strategies and get to work on new technologies.
Target, for example, created a persona of stocking chic, yet inexpensive products, according to Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Mom Central Consulting. "Michael Graves could create a teapot, but it's only $11," she said. "They designed coolness into better prices. That's a persona."
When it comes to generating awareness, think about the variety of available ad media, although some don't necessarily convert to purchases, DeBroff said. Mobile applications on the smartphone that most consumers keep close to them can create brand loyalty through continual use. Those that offer discounts on goods and services provide incentives to keep consumers using tham.
The apps also can help brands create that persona DeBroff recommends -- a persona similar to the one Microsoft wants to create for its search engine Bing. DeBroff points to a "successful" Bing campaign that ran about six months ago to get consumers to set Microsoft's engines as their default for search. The research firm comScore reports that Microsoft's Bing gained a little ground against competitors in November, and now holds about 15% market share, rising .2% sequentially.
The online recommendation culture continues to gain importance, too.
The conversion to a purchase often happens through first-person recommendations, and frequency -- not the click of an ad, she said. People are open to recommendations through discounts, coupons and word of mouth.
Only 50% of moms recently surveyed by Mom Central Consulting consider themselves brand loyalists. About 66% of moms are willing to reach for the generic brand -- especially when it comes to finding that both products have similar ingredients.
Moms have been forgoing brands they have added to their shopping carts for years, with 89% reporting they are open to new products. Plus, 78% of moms will switch brands when offered a coupon with a significant discount. And 68% of moms will pay attention to the product when offered a sample; 65% said they trust others through online recommendations to try new products.
Only 3% of moms admit that targeted ads on their social networks strongly motivate them to make a purchase.