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When Customer Referral Programs Backfire

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Marketing

A new study reveals that customer referral programs can sometimes backfire: customers are less likely to recommend innovative products when they are rewarded for finding new customers. The study explores the reasons for this surprising negative impact.

Idea #745
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Photo by Charlie Deets on Unsplash

Why Gender Differences in Shopping Styles Are Stronger than National Differences

Idea posted: July 2019
  • Marketing

A study of consumers in 10 countries supports the view that gender differences in shopping styles have evolutionary, not socio–cultural, roots. At the same time, the study’s authors argue that national culture characteristics can increase the effect of evolution–driven consumer behaviours. The implication for international marketers is to segment customers based on hard–wired evolutionary traits and national cultural influences. 

Idea #746
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Source: Pexels

Consumers Reject New Products To Stay In Control

Idea posted: April 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A recent study confirms that consumers’ desire for control over their lives can act as a psychological barrier to the acceptance of new or innovative products. However, framing a new product as increasing consumer control can eliminate this barrier.

Idea #701
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Source: Pexels

CMO Survey: Value of Company Spending on Social Media

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Marketing

While digital age marketing channels such as social media marketing and mobile marketing has captured the public’s attention, the view from the Chief Marketing Officer’s desk is more measured, according to a new survey of marketing leaders in the U.S. Social media marketing continues to grab more and more of the marketing budget, for example, but measuring its impact on the bottom line remains elusive.

Idea #697
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The Boy in the Red Vest (detail) Cezanne c-1890 (Courtesy: Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zurich)

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Covert Marketing

Idea posted: March 2018
  • Marketing

With traditional marketing losing its impact in today’s overcrowded marketplaces, marketers are developing creative covert campaigns to create buzz around their products. Sometimes, however, these covert campaigns can backfire. 

Idea #694
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Louis Vuitton store, HK Landmark, Hong Kong (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Practical Features Sell Luxury Products

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research reveals that buyers of hedonistic, luxurious products often feel guilty about their indulgent purchase — but that bundling even a small utilitarian feature with the product can assuage this guilt and make consumers more likely to buy and increase willingness to pay.

Idea #687
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Photo by Jenna Day (Source: Unsplash)

Brain Drain: How Cell Phones Distract Customer Attention

Idea posted: July 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Cell phones are distracting, pulling our attention away from our current tasks and activities. New research reveals that the mere presence of the phones, even when they are turned off and we are consciously focusing our attention on another task, is enough to reduce our thinking capacity.

Idea #665
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Shopping for hats in London,1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What ‘First Impression’ Data Reveals About Customers

Idea posted: April 2017
  • Marketing

Companies can form a ‘first impression’ of a customer based on the information collected during a customer’s first transaction with a company. This first impression data can help companies predict how often new customers will purchase in the future and how much money they will spend on each transaction. It can also help companies target their marketing campaigns more effectively.

Idea #651
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Official U.S. Navy Imagery – a sailor presents his girlfriend with an engagement ring (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Competitive Implications of Customer Expectation

Idea posted: July 2016
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Past research has shown that products and services that don’t fit specific market categories are more likely to fail in the marketplace. A new study demonstrates that even a product with all the attributes of its category can fail. To truly understand the competitive dynamics of its market, a company needs to look beyond categories, and focus on the customer expectations that underlie those categories. 

Idea #612
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Varied Effectiveness of Paid Endorsements on Social Media

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Marketing

New research reveals the potential benefits and pitfalls of including paid social media endorsers in new marketing efforts. The research notably revealed that paid endorsers are either eager to participate or very effective — but rarely both.

Idea #599
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Plastic face protection from snowstorms. Canada, 1939 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Great New Products Fail

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Many excellent new products fail because companies fail to understand how customers make their purchasing decisions. Specifically, customers decide what they want to buy based on one of two things: their search for new information or the inferences they make based on the information they have. Great new products fail when through their searches or inferences, customers fail to recognize their value.

Idea #601
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How a Marketing Doctrine Overcomes the Flexibility Vs Consistency Conundrum

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Diversified or decentralized firm face a conundrum: How do you ensure that marketing decisions are consistent across the entire company without undermining the flexibility required to tailor marketing decisions to local circumstances? The answer: A marketing doctrine based on unique principles that guide without dictating. 

Idea #584
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Why Anthropomorphism Works In Marketing

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Marketing

Talking geckos and other anthropomorphic “spokes-characters,” are ubiquitous in advertisements. Various studies reveal some of the psychological reasons explaining why and how anthropomorphic marketing works — as well as some of the potential risks.

Idea #564
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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What Companies Learn from Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Marketing

Are customer satisfaction surveys worth the trouble? Addressing and correcting for some of the core issues with customer satisfaction surveys — specifically, that they are based on perceived and not actual performance, and that there is a potential bias in the results based on who fills out the surveys — a new study confirms that they provide vital information for businesses, including the link between performance and customer behaviour.

Idea #543
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Buyers of Experiential Products and Consumer Reviews

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Marketing

Shoppers find consumer reviews to be less useful, and are less likely to seek out such reviews, for experiential purchases (events to be lived through such as vacation packages) than for material products (objects to keep such as electronics). 

Idea #546
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Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, Giacomo Balla, 1912 (Courtesy: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, New York)

Tracking Customers Who Leave Without Saying Goodbye

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Marketing

Customers don’t always inform a business that they are no longer customers. A new model, developed by researchers from Columbia Business School and London Business School and based on customer behaviour, allows companies to disentangle customers who are still active customers from customers who have ‘silently left’. The model also identifies customers who are in danger of leaving. 

Idea #538
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Don't Jay Walk, 1937 PSA poster, USA (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Neurobiological Clues to Advertising Effectiveness

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Recent research identifies physiological reasons that public service announcements (PSAs) are effective. Specifically, the researchers show that increases in two neurochemicals — adrenocorticotropic hormone and oxytocin — result in greater attention and action from viewers. 

Idea #517
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Social Media Grabbing a Major Share of the Marketing Budget

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Marketing

Companies will be steadily increasing their spending on social media marketing in the next few years, even though most marketing executives cannot measure the financial impact of such spending. The shift in consumer buying patterns to online makes a shift to social media marketing a logical step, despite the current inability to demonstrate ROI. The pressing issue now is for companies to integrate social media activities into their general marketing campaigns. 

Idea #456
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Gedränge vor dem Geschäft Thomas Prewein, by Josef Engelhart, 1941 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Surprising Benefit of Long Queues for Customers and Business

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

The accepted wisdom is that long lines are bad for business. In fact, they can be very good for business, as long as they are not too long. Research shows that long lines help customers learn what’s worth waiting for, and help businesses attract uninformed customers.

Idea #446
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EU Energy Label

Why Differentiating Rating Scale Labelling is Important

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Marketing

Rating scales, such as those used in online review platforms or stores (for example, Amazon or Tripadvisor) or by government rating agencies (such as agencies rating energy savings), allow consumers to evaluate the performance of products or services. However, new research shows that when the scale levels of the rating scale are not distinguished visually (e.g. by colour) or linguistically (e.g. using the linguistically different A, B, C, D rather than A, A+, A++, A+++), consumers are more likely to ignore them — and this can hurt the sales. 

Idea #431
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Building a Brand Image Across Multiple Countries

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

Multi-country brands should position themselves consistently across markets only on image attributes that are very important in all of the various countries. For example, brand image attributes related to benevolence or self-direction, which are valued highly in most countries, can be used consistently. Better to be inconsistent (used in certain markets only) with a divisive value such as hedonism or power.

Idea #372
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‘Dans le Souk aux Cuivres’, Nicola Forcella, an Italian painter born before 1868 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Customer Participation Builds Loyalty

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Marketing

Companies focus on encouraging customer word-of-mouth while ignoring the benefit of customer participation — encouraging customer feedback and suggestions to the company. Yet, research shows that participation can increase customer loyalty even more than word-of-mouth. 

Idea #364
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Guests lounge at the pool at the Dolphin Village Hotel in Shavei Zion, 1954 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Overlooked Longevity of Experiential Goods

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Marketing

When consumers feel financially constrained, they are more likely to choose tangible material purchases over experiential purchases in the belief that those material purchases will ‘last’ longer. This longevity factor can be deceiving, however; material purchases can often be more frivolous (and thus less valuable) than experiential purchases — and experiential purchases can last longer, through memories or well-being for example, than material ones.

Idea #351
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The Three Wise Men at Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Cercanías station, Madrid (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Optimal Marketing Claims: The Power of Three

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

When putting together an advertisement campaign, how many positive aspects of the product should you include? The temptation is to put in as many as possible, but according to this Idea, three is the optimal amount. Add more and you risk raising suspicions in your customers about the authenticity of all of the claims. 

Idea #328
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Marmite pop-up, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Building Brand Equity through Event Marketing

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Marketing

Brand event marketing will increase brand equity through brand experience, especially if the event involves a direct and intense customer experience with the brand. But brand attitude increases brand equity only for certain types of events (namely, trade and street events, but not pop-up shops and sponsored events). Pop-up shops exemplify the best type of brand experience-driven event marketing.

Idea #251
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1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Coupe, detail from advert in Life Magazine April 1957

How Customers Watch What Others Buy

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Marketing

While consumers (and the marketers who market to them) believe that purchasing decisions are based on a combination of emotional and rational factors, a research team from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania identify a more basic motivation that pushes people to buy: they look at what others around them are buying. 

Idea #223
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Samurai at a Waterfall, 19th Century Japanese Woodblock Print, Fuji Arts

Grapes of Wrath: How Self Control Leads to Anger

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Does making a healthy food choice make us angry? In an important piece of consumer research, a relationship is found to exist between exerting self-control, and a preference toward ‘themes of anger’ in e.g. entertainment. This mismatch - getting irritated by our own self-control - has far-reaching implications for marketers and policy-makers as we try to further understand consumer behaviour.

Idea #034
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Last Call for Social Media Sceptics

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Social media sceptics have all but scurried back into the woodwork. The game is up and the die cast: social media is here to stay. Each week the ‘fad’ seems to blow open a new way of doing things in a different industry; democratizing our flow of ideas even further. The scope of opportunity for science, art, and business here – seems infinite. But what role can leadership play to facilitate those opportunities and create value for their organizations?

Idea #062
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