12th of February 2024

Published by Irish Times See original article

Tuning out the noise to better hear the quiet consumer

Is your brand tracking blocking your growth? Jenni Romaniuk, international director at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute explains all to dentsu’s Dave Winterlich, on this week’s Inside Marketing podcast.

It’s time to take a closer look at how we measure brand health, says Jenni Romaniuk, author of books such as Better Brand Health;Building Distinctive Brand Assets; and How Brands Grow Part 2 – revised. From the institute’s base at the University of South Australia, she and her colleagues are known worldwide for advancing marketing knowledge and busting pseudoscience and marketing myths. Among the top fallacies is an over-emphasis on heavy users – our most loyal customers.

“One of the reasons I wrote a book on brand health tracking was because I was concerned that we were kind of missing the point,” says Romaniuk. Too often the impetus is to “dive in”, trying to separate out heavy users to look at them, she explains. In fact, “You actually have to separate out the light and non-buyers because they’re the ones that are hard to hear.”

She likens it to a full room with 100 people, 10 of whom are yelling. It’s the others who should be of most interest to you but our focus on heavy users drowns them out.

“That’s one of the big problems of brand health tracking. It has been so heavily weighted, either implicitly or explicitly, to the heavy loyal buyer that we haven’t been able to see opportunities for growth,” she says.

Be careful about categorising

Don’t make assumptions about buying behaviours either.

“What we think of as fast-moving consumer goods actually don’t move that fast. Yes, there are a few categories we buy really frequently, but if you look at something like window cleaner, the vast majority of people buy that once a year, and that’s it,” she points out.

Common assumptions about how much people know about a brand, or a category, and how often they shop, are often erroneous. We appreciate that people buy insurance once a year but miss that they buy window cleaner on the same basis.

“So maybe they’re not that different after all. But there are different behaviours with insurance, so the metrics change. With something like window cleaner, we might focus on purchase frequency as a loyalty metric. With insurance, we might focus on renewal as a loyalty metric or its reverse, defection, because not many people defect. So the laws of growth – the metrics – might change,” she says.

Read the full article in Irish Times.


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