Implementing any type of marketing program requires an in-depth understanding of your customers’ wants and needs. However, before diving in with both feet, Elaine O’Gorman, vice president of strategy for Atlanta-based e-mail marketing services provider Silverpop, recommends taking into account the two psychological preferences that most impact your customers’ purchasing habits. She maintains these drivers can help explain buying patterns and the reasons behind the consumer decision-making process. Each has its own strengths on which a marketer can capitalize to achieve relevance with an audience.
• Implicit preferences are behavioral cues that reveal who your customer is. To determine this information, marketers should study the data that consumers directly have contributed, such as links they’ve clicked on, products they’ve shopped for or items they’ve purchased, O’Gorman says. Driving sales based on a knowledge of implicit preferences can be done through suggestive selling, either by recommending products similar to an item your customer already has purchased or based on what others in his specific demographic have shown an interest in.
• Explicit preferences are based more on the person your customer wants to be, or products he wants to be associated with. Although O’Gorman maintains that a consumer might not always want to lay cash on the line for products that appeal to him in this way, there are certain markets, such as luxury goods or technology, that thrive on this form of aspirational marketing. To successfully speak to your customers’ explicit preferences, she recommends that you provide information that leads to a better understanding of your product line, either through a newsletter or an e-mail communication that spotlights the newest information/technologies. Customers have to understand what the latest and greatest products are in order to tell you about their detailed product preferences, she says.