All Customers Are Polygamists and How Direct Marketers Can Understand Them
Polygamy and consumers may not seem to meld in marketers' minds, but Peter Fader explains why they perhaps should. Polygamous consumers and the coin toss that is the wont of the desirable, inertial loyal customer are just a few highlights of a wide-ranging conversation with Fader, who co-directs a global marketing research initiative, the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI), a "data-driven research effort on interactive and digital media."
Fader's also a direct marketing thought leader in his own right, which is highlighted in the Five-Minute Interview in the October issue of Target Marketing.
The following interview, framed by an explanation of WIMI, takes a look at the research done by Fader, a marketing professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Fader also provides suggested reading related to this interview: "How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know" by Byron Sharp and works by the late marketing researcher Andrew Ehrenberg, who espoused the polygamist consumer metaphor.
Target Marketing: You've seen the more specific questions I had for you; can you talk a bit about your research?
Peter Fader: … So I'd love to talk broadly about WIMI and then there's my own piece of it; my own research about customer retention and some of the paradoxes and so on that I've observed … But I think the WIMI piece is broader. I think it's potentially of greater interest, greater impact. So maybe we could start with that one. And, in doing so, I'd want to make sure that we bring in some of the other key members of the WIMI team, as well, to offer their perspectives. Because it's not just my show alone.
… I think you'll find, in talking to my co-director, Eric Bradlow and our research director, Elea Feit that they have their own unique perspectives that are aligned with mine, but still distinct. So that's one conversation. The other is, again, to dive into the research that I've been doing and some of the not only surprising findings, but some of the almost heretical findings about what we know about customer retention patterns over time and across people.