What's on Tap...
A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

Five Category Cues Marketers Can Focus on To Change Human Habit

By Amy Xiong on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 @ 08:44 AM |


The Power of HabitWhen making everyday purchases, people rarely stray from the product they have grown familiar with when it comes to items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, dish washing soap or any other commodity we all buy on a regular basis. Try as they might it’s hard for marketers to push consumers into a brand outside their regular purchase. These habits are difficult to change because hardly any thought is put into these types of purchases. We just buy what we did last time, unless it turned our teeth blue, burned our armpits, or made all our hair fall out. So how do new products break into the market in the commodity space when so many of these purchases are made based on habit? The key is to find a way to change purchasing habits.

In order for marketers to change these habits, they need to look for certain cues in people’s lives which influence the habit of choosing the same old products. These cues can be found in five different categories in our daily lives. These five include: time of day, specific location, type of emotion, the type of people consumers are with, or a ritualized behavior.

There are certain people whose habits are more easily changed than others. Consumers experiencing major life changes such as a having a baby, moving into a new house, divorce, or being a college student (since they are moving basically every year). Of course, marketers need to have good timing in order to change these consumer’s habits. As a marketer, you need to reach these individuals before the rest of your competitors. You can create a loyal customer if you are able to hit them with the right messages at the right time.

Charles Duhigg’s article in The New York Times  explains Target’s use of statistics and outlines what the company has done in order to follow their customer’s buying behavior.  This article takes an in-depth look at the buying process and outlines how Proctor & Gamble revitalized the Febreze brand by changing the buying criteria. AdAge also did an interview with Duhigg and you can read that here.

What have you done to ensure your messages are hitting the right people at the right time? Let us know in the comment section below.

consumer behavior