The complexities of consumer motivation have never been more complicated. While there are many theories and models for predicting consumer behavior, the common thread is the need for some level of understanding related to customer motivation—the thoughts, impulses, and needs that drive decision making. Consumer motivations are in constant flux, changing with societal trends in our always-on, digitally connected, and rapidly evolving world. Some motivations are explicit, rational and easy to articulate, but most motivations are an amalgam of emotions, values, beliefs and subconscious forces.
The key to success is understanding what consumers care about right now and how they are being influenced by the current cultural landscape. Millennials are at the center of it all. Projected to spend $1.4 trillion in 2020, this generation is shaping the future of how we do business. 5W Public Relations released its first annual report which looks at consumer culture and the biggest influences behind today’s buying behavior, diving into impulse behavior, spending habits, purchase gratification, social media, marketing, publicity, and brand activism.
Just The Numbers:
- 82% will purchase an item the first time they see it if they like it enough
- 68% say they prefer finding new products in-store to finding them online
- 83% say it’s important to them that companies they buy from align with their values
- 76% like it when CEOs of companies speak out on issues they care about
- 65% have boycotted a company they have previously purchased from because of their stance on an issue
- 62% enjoy buying products that show off their social or political ideologies or beliefs
- 71% would pay more for a product if some of the proceeds went to charity
- 67% think it’s important for a brand they purchase from to have a charitable component
“There is a common misconception that brick and mortar is completely dead, but no one lives the entirety of their life online. When it comes to discovering new products and brands, brick-and-mortar retail is still at the top of the list across all age groups—Millennials included—beating out ads and influencers on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube,” said 5WPR founder and CEO Ronn Torossian. “Thirty-eight percent of Millennials typically learn about or discover new beauty products/brands they want to try in-store, while only 34% cite Instagram ads and 32% cite Facebook or YouTube ads. The lesson is clear—omnichannel marketing is critical in the purchase journey, and retail still plays an important role in the discovery stage.”
- Showcase customer reviews that talk about how much use they got out of the item (e.g., how they didn’t know what they ever did before getting that beard trimmer or how that moisturizer has become part of their daily routine).
- Tell stories (visual or otherwise) about the experiential value of the product beyond the dollar value (e.g., how that dress was perfect for the holiday party and they ended up having the best night ever).
- Validate that even something bought on a whim can become a favorite—indulging the splurge mindset.
- Give options for “now” or “later” purchases—including payment plans and watchlists.
- Take the regret out of impulse purchases through easy return policies.
- Keep in mind that the future is social and that social is not one thing—it comes in many shapes and there is likely to be something new on the horizon that will launch a whole new set of influencers into the market.
- Facebook reigns supreme as the most-used social media platform. Furthermore, the trio of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube will offer the most bang for your buck across all age groups (let’s not forget that Boomers still have a lot of money to spend!), so investing in content on these sites is still powerful.
- Don’t forget about retail as brick-and-mortar still has a role to play in the purchase funnel.
- Allow opportunities for discovery, sharing, and conversation.
- Know your customer—what do they think, feel, and believe, and how can your brand purpose motivate them to engage with you?
- Stories about a product in the news, magazine, or newspaper still remain the most impactful in making purchase decisions when compared to traditional advertising.
- “We’re going to see huge growth in cause marketing in 2020,” predicts Torossian. “71% of Millennials will pay more for a product if they know some of the proceeds go to charity, meaning brands have the opportunity to create a positive corporate identity and increase sales if done correctly.”
Photo: Brannon Naito via Unsplash