Why'd I buy that?

by Randi Garrett on December 23, 2009

in Just Sayin',Uncategorized

As the New Year quickly approaches, I find myself thinking about resolutions.  Sure I can stick to my usual goals:  lose ten pounds, eat better or actually go to bed instead of watching reruns.   But this year I think I will try to break a habit.  I’m addicted to lip balm.  It’s true.  I have at least five tubes of it on me at all times. .. a couple in my purse, one on my desk, another in my pocket.  I don’t even realize I’m constantly applying it anymore until someone points it out.

When I make my weekly trip to the lip balm section of the drug store, what makes me grab a certain tube?  My mental index card.  Every one of us is exposed to multiple brand messages a day and without realizing it, we are storing that information on little index cards in our brains.  Once we are in purchase mode, we pull this information (again, usually subconsciously) from the index card and make our selection.  What is written on that index card is up to the companies selling and marketing the products.

This is why it is important for companies to focus on what they are going to say, to whom they are going to say it, how are they going to say it and what they want the audience to do about it.  In order to know what to write on your audience’s index cards, at the start of any marketing campaign, a discovery session should be conducted.  Company execs and a pool of target audience members (both current and potential) should be asked tons of questions in order to determine what people think of your brand and product/services.  With this information in hand, well crafted messages can then  be sent to the masses and index cards can be updated, stored and  called upon at purchase time.

My lip balm purchase craze proves that we marketers are doing our job well.  So in support of my industry (and inadvertently the lip balm industry), I will not be giving up lip balm in 2010 after all. I guess I’m back to weight loss.  Someone pass the celery sticks.

What’s on your mental index cards?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joshua Sweeney December 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I’ve never quite thought of consumer targeting in this way, though I do try to refer to those mental index cards consciously. When I think about a product, I generally recall if the marketing campaign was offensive, annoying, mean-spirited, or misleading, rather than the positives. It’s sort of a boycott purchasing system. I tend to reward the company that engaged its customers via humor or honestly. Is it cynical? I feel like that’s not representative of most consumers…

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Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard December 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

How can you possibly eat celery when Hilshire Farms packages arrived, cookies came, candy, etc… You have more will power than me! Just out of curiosity, do you use Burt’s Bee’s from right here in NC? If so – any BB marketing people listening? :)

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Morgan Siem December 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Randi – welcome to the Media Two Point {Oh}! blog. Great post. It’s true that knowing what’s important to your audience and what they think of you matters. For instance, if I were choosing a lip balm, what would matter more to me: that it’s made locally? that it smells good? that it’s glossy? or that it’s organic / all natural? A marketer who researched me would know.

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Morgan Siem December 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Hubbard – Burt’s Bee’s was the brand in mind when I asked if being local matters for marketing to me. Hint: it does. I love Burt’s Bees! (p.s. where’s your avatar? Do I have to come over there?)

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Randi Garrett Randi Garrett December 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Hi Joshua – thanks for the comment and sorry for my delay in response (holiday travels and such). I don’t think your view point on index card content population is cynical. Our index cards are a mix of both negative and positive brand points. Again referring to my lip balm purchasing system, I look for companies that do not conduct animal testing, are environmentally friendly, do not over “sexify” their campaigns, etc. If they do, these become stored as brand negatives. For those of you that asked, yes, I tend to buy mostly Burt’s Bees – no animal testing, use post-industrial content, use all natural ingredients, no bikini women lying across hoods of cars to pimp their products (Umm, could that be a negative to the males purchasing lip balm?)

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Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard December 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I’m going back to chapstick :)

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