Live from NEMOA: Put Customer Attitudinal Behavior into Action

Cambridge, MA–In her March 27 presentation at the New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA) conference here, Gayle Davey, partner/senior consultant at research firm Yankelovich, discussed the importance of knowing customers’ attitudes as well as their past behavior.

Attitudes generally precede actual behavior, Davey said: “We see people doing things before they do them.” Attitudes can also drive product development. Davey cited Sony’s creation of its Walkman personal tape players: Customers weren’t banging on the doors of electronics stores demanding such a product, she noted. Rather, Sony took note of the increasing mobility of consumers and anticipated a desire for that sort of product.

What’s more, knowing attitudes “can drive the tone and messaging of communications,” Davey said. “You have the chance to refine the way you speak to customers in ways more meaningful. If you understand what things to tap into, you can tap customers in an emotional way.”

Turning her attention specifically to direct marketing, Davey said that according to recent Yankelovich studies, 70% of consumers made purchases through nonstore means, including catalogs and the Internet. Of those who purchased via direct mail or the Web, 40% said they did so for the convenience, while 35% cited availability, and 28% price—not the lowest price, but the most fair and reasonable price. Of lesser importance, Davey said, 11% said it was more interesting and fun to shop direct, and 8% said they felt like they were on the cutting edge, that it was “the cool thing to do.”

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