Just What Are Consumers Thinking?

Research would indicate that consumers don't know what they're thinking. According to an article written by Jack Shimell (2002) for Quirk's Marketing Research Review, Consumers make their decisions and react to advertising based more on unconscious emotional processes than on conscious rational processes.

There appears to be an interplay between the conscious and the unconscious with the unconscious being the driving force, when it comes to reactions to advertising and purchase decision making.

There is also a distinct personality / temperament factor involved in consumer thinking and behavior. People with moderate extrovert traits tend to react more positively to advertising, while introverts and people with few extrovert traits would appear to be very difficult to affect through advertising.

Part of this may reside in the fact that introverts tend to be energized by solitary activities that are less affected by outside factors while extroverts tend to be energized by outside influences such as social status, social engagement, peer relations, and social value of products or services.

The introvert tends to be more affected by internal factors that can be analyzed and processed at their leisure. They operate based on facts, information, and internal beliefs and attitudes.

The above discussion is why you must develop a demographic profile of your ideal customer. From this profile you can develop advertising and a marketing campaign that feeds the unconscious of the consumer.

Based on the research presented in Shimell's (2002) article, marketers and advertisers would be smart to incorporate elements that target both the conscious and unconscious processing of targeted consumers.

Unconscious elements would be music (the research in the article indicated that music was an very important factor in positive reaction to advertising), color, graphics, and movement. Conscious elements would be text, voice-over, overt product offers, and interactive elements such as redeemable coupons.

Different segments, audiences, and occupations tend toward predictable personality and temperament qualities which can guide targeted marketing and advertising. Take the time to know and understand your ideal customer and adapt your advertising to their personalities and unconscious processes. In your marketing campaign it's smart to have a combination of conscious and unconscious elements that tie into different media channels and your consumer's personalities.

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Darrin F. Coe, MA holds a master's degree in psychology and operates "The Center For Understanding Consumer Thinking" at http://www.consumer-thinking.com

Contact him for consulting at [email protected] or 719-275-5907 after 5:00 PM MST
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