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Forgetting What Makes Us Spend As A Consumer 03/20/2017

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Although I’ve spent much of my professional life as a marketer, it’s safe to say I — like most of us — have spent much of my personal life as a consumer.
Recently, a colleague asked me which brands I was loyal to, and I had to really think about it. Finally, I recalled a particular coffee brand that I always buy.

It’s not due
to their advertisements or their purposeful role in society. I buy it because a friend told me that it has the most caffeine. For all I know, “my brand” may not be more caffeinated, but I
believe that it is because the person who told me is credible. Now, that coffee company doesn’t know who I am or what “activated” me or why I keep coming back. I’m just an
anonymous uptick on the sales curve, and a source of brand spend inefficiency because my consumption is driven by a product feature that the brand never mentions.

How Marketers
Act When We’re Consumers

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This exercise got me thinking: How does the way I act as a consumer align (or not) with how I allocate spend as a marketer? As a consumer in an
active purchase mindset, I usually start with online research. But when it comes to the actual purchase, I want validation. I can’t think of the last time I tried a new restaurant or booked a
hotel without checking reviews. Habitually, I turn to friends and family, especially when buying in a category for the first time. Those inner-circle recommendations are the ones that go the longest
way.

How We Act When We’re Marketers

Something happens to us marketers when we separate our professional selves from our consumerism. We manage our
brands incongruently to the way we make purchase decisions. We spend on research to find the largest population of consumers to develop into a target — looking for the most promising chunk of a
large pie. Then we drill down, aware of but ignoring nuances in an attempt to isolate the most common mass themes of demographics or psychographics. 

If market research…

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