Gap closes between consumer action and marketing strategy


Richard Madden’s review of Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy by Phil Barden gives me some hope that we are getting closer to bringing together behavioural economics and marketing strategy.

However, I’m left stumped by the conclusion that ‘consumers do not buy a brand’s personality traits but it’s expected instrumentality to achieve a certain goal’. Surely that relates to product selection choice rather than brand?

The cup of coffee, Coke, cracker or a bowl of soup example given supports that, yes, consumers select a product to resolve emotional and functional needs but the sub-selection of a brand remains far more related to the mysterious whimsy of Dr Kahneman’s ‘System 1’ than we care to admit?

Jo Arden, head of strategy, 23red

Keep deal offers real and relevent to extend shelf life

The closure of Nectar’s Daily Deals platform, not long after the Happli and the Gumtree deals sites ceased to exist, show the inherentproblems of such services.

While offers such as these initially receive a positive reception from consumers who are excited by and interested in the discounts, this attitude does not tend to last as the offers quickly turn stale and lose their appeal. An Indian head massage, for example, will only ever have limited appeal – even if it is at 50 per cent discount.

In our experience the offers that make the biggest impact in terms of capturing consumer interest and actual take-up, are for those things people use on a regular basis, such as discounts on high street brands and supermarkets. 

Another top performing area, we find, is travel when there is a good level of saving available throughout the year. This enables people to get the best deal at the time they actually want to travel, such as during school holidays, rather than being limited to off-peak seasons.

For offers to be appealing they have to be relevant in content and timing. With our inboxes being full of marketing communications, those brands that regularly highlight offers which the consumer does not feel are relevant will end up simply losing those consumers.

Daniel Nugent, head of Entice

Will banks pick up the trust baton?


According to your article ‘Banks still failing to invest in public trust’ people believe customer service is okay but the relationship is fragile due to a lack of trust.

The challenge for providers – as individual brands and the industry as a whole – is to restore people’s faith against a backdrop of changing regulation. The new Financial Conduct Authority’s public remit is “to make financial markets work well so consumers get a fair deal”; consumer groups and the public will be watching to see how the sector responds to this new framework.

One of the key ways banks can repair broken trust is by acknowledging the problem. Recently we have seen the likes of Tesco taking out ads to apologise for the horsemeat scandal and Southern Energy promising to lead an overhaul of the energy industry.

Trust is the year’s watchword so far. The question is, will financial services providers follow the lead of other sectors and respond to the breakdown in consumer trust with more transparent and trustworthy communications?

Samantha Wilding, director of sustainable business, Corporate Culture, Liverpool and London

Banks should mind their language

In the same post as my copy of Marketing Week [last week] was a standard letter from my bank. It was operational, internally focused, unfriendly and hard to understand.

It highlighted your article ‘Banks still failing to invest in public trust’ beautifully. Operational communications are just as important as marketing material. In fact, because people need to understand and act on them regularly, they’re far more influential on loyalty, repeat purchase and retention.

We’ve just run a survey asking people how easy it is to understand everyday communications from a range of industries, and 41 per cent rated financial services material as hard to understand.

Operational communications must match marketing promises.

Mark McArthur-Christie, The Brewhouse

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