Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweet Talkin'

There's a carpet store in my city that has a billboard that simply has their name and a phone number.

If they were well known, that might be all they need. But they are not. And they need more:

You Woo Me, But Can You Win Me?

The attributes and benefits of your brand can vary in how tangible they are to consumers. And that can affect buying decisions.

A product's intangible attributes are abstract—like quality, prestige, sentiment—and can't be experienced directly. For example, a new wine's ads can speak of romance; its label can evoke a feeling of exotic adventure.

Its tangible attributes are concrete—those that can be seen, tasted, touched, and smelled. The wine's taste and color fall into this category—and so does its price.

Research shows that each attribute plays a different role in customers' evaluations (what they like) and decisions (what they choose). Specifically:

  • Customers tend to place more weight on a product's intangible attributes when deciding what they like.
  • But they place more weight on its tangible attributes when they're choosing what to buy.

So, what's a marketer to do? Well, it seems the right formula might come down to this: Woo them, then win them over. Set the mood with the product's intangible attributes; then, when it comes down to making that sale, clearly state its tangible benefits.

The Po!nt: Consumers want to be woo'ed and won. Their preferences may not always predict their choices. To make sure you close that sale, stress the product's concrete, tangible attributes.

Source: "Stating Preference for the Ethereal but Choosing the Concrete: How the Tangibility of Attributes Affects Attribute Weighting in Value Elicitation and Choice." by Horsky, Dan; Nelson, Paul; Posavac, Steven S. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2004.

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