CLIK Behavior Research Forum Focuses On Real-World Applications

The CLIK Consumer Behavior Research Forum, founded five years ago by the Universities of Cincinnati, Louisville, Indiana and Kentucky, offers educational entities the opportunity the present papers grounded in media research. This year, topics included “Starbucks America vs. McDonald's America” which studied how political ideology influences consumer affinity for brands, and another diving into the question of “Should Marketing Messages Be Assertive?”

The forum is sponsored by Louisville-based agency Doe-Anderson whose EVP/COO, John Birnsteel, noted that the current CLIK conference offers more applicable insights for marketers, concentrating more on the business and utility of research and not just theory.  “Our industry is rife with subjectivity,” he explained. “Any opportunity we find to help build marketing decisions on grounded research is one we support.”

For Professor Michael Barone, chair of the marketing department at University of Louisville's College of Business, “Doe Anderson’s involvement prompted us to veer our research talks in a little more relevant way. To me, the best research has two components- Its rigorous, but it is also relevant, and for me that always means starting in the marketplace.”



Charlene Weisler: What are the best pieces of advice for marketers from the forum?

Birnsteel: I found calls to action quite interesting. You would think a strong call to action would really make people sit up and listen, but it almost had the opposite effect. [Marketers] being too assertive can turn us into stubborn consumers.

Another piece of research done by a fellow at Indiana University mined “chat” conversations, using AI machine learning to determine what the chatbot was and what it wasn’t able to answer.

Barone: What I found interesting from a business standpoint is that the company that gave the researcher the chat data was able to put a price on that data they shared with the University of Indiana and donate it as a tax deduction.

We all talk about the value of data, but the way the company was able to put a value on that to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars was fascinating.

When it comes to blockchain, trust marks brands like Fairtrade and USDA Organic that validate claims are helpful, but research highlighted that leveraging the power of blockchain to verify claims leads to higher purchase intent.

Weisler: What was the most surprising outcome or finding from CLIK?

Birnsteel: I was surprised to learn about the power -- or in some cases lack thereof -- of influencers. The closer someone identifies an influencer as being “like me,” the more likely that person is to be turned off by a brand that is disclosed as paying that influencer to promote it. It seems that followers wonder why the brand isn’t paying them the same attention as the influencer, and get upset.

However, this is not the case for well-known celebrities who are identified as receiving payment from a brand. In these instances, followers tend to gain affinity for that brand.  Bad news for #NextDoorNina, but Kim and Khloe can breathe easy.

Also, with online shopping experience,s when consumers are served a list of products and the highest priced one is the one the retailer recommends, most consumers are likely to under-weight that recommendation, because they believe the retailer is trying to benefit itself.

Barone: I thought the chatbot finding was surprising. You think about typing in sensitive questions about certain products with a computerized entity. You think about who knows where that data goes, that people would trust it less. But, in fact, I think because of the embarrassment factor, they actually prefer that mechanism rather than talking to a real person.

The best research finding are ones, when you hear them, you’re like "oh yeah - I get it!" but you never would think about them initially.

Weisler: What’s the long-term goal of CLIK and the partnership between U of L and Doe-Anderson? 

Barone: There’s this international group called the Marketing Science Institute (MSI)-- academics who want industry partnerships to access data, share findings. The CLIK Forum is like MSI on a smaller scale where we’ve got academics and industry folks working hand in hand to uncover new insights in marketing.

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