Archive for May 2012

Habits – What Marketers And Businesses Should Be Paying Attention To

May 7th, 2012 — 4:28pm

Charles Duhigg is an award winning investigative reporter and NY Times Best Seller. You have probably heard of Charles Duhigg’s investigative report on Target… well, targeting pregnant consumers by mailing them coupons. Target was able to do this by tapping into their buying habits.

Habits, Duhigg explains in his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, focus on routine. In an interview with Welt Branding, Duhigg described the three components that guide habit understanding and change: cue→routine→reward. He explains that in the past decade we have learned it is most effective to focus on the routine component. For example, we experience a trigger (cue), and we then act out a behavior (routine), which facilitates a future craving for the benefit that we receive (reward). The behavior is the usual focus because this is the component a person controls when guiding habit change.

From a marketing and business standpoint, there is no particular need for comprehensive data in order to identify habits. Data doesn’t pin point cues and rewards — robust data finds correlations. For a company to be successful in identifying and leveraging on consumer habits, the company needs to watch consumer behavior.

Duhigg explained that marketers have to understand their own consumer in order to encourage habits. There are multiple opportunities to trigger behavior. Targeting consumers during a major life event is not necessarily the best opportunity for encouraging buying habit changes. For example, consumers make thoughtless purchases and these purchases change buying habits on their own. However, when consumers do experience changes in their life, these habits become particularly valuable because they are vulnerable to change as well.

To stay up to date with Charles Duhigg and The Power of Habit:

Buy the book
Tweet him @cduhigg

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