Marketing to Moms: What Moves Moms to Holiday Shopping?

December 22, 2009 § 1 Comment

The practicality of the shopping season is seen in the results of a new survey that showed that coupons are the number one influencer in holiday shopping, followed by word-of-mouth, advertising inserts, broadcast TV, newspaper and direct mail.

The survey was conducted by Big Research on behalf of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, as they sought to understand what was inspiring shoppers to select a particular store.

However, the Ad Age article seems to indicate that only one media is involved in inspiring a consumer (read Mom) and that the human brain works in a very rational and logical way to make decisions.  The article also implies that likability of an ad is not important in the purchase decision process.

While I think the actual findings of the study have merit, the interpretation does not take into count the complex retail world we live in today.  Take for example my quest (Mom) to buy a purse for my daughter for Christmas.  She asked for a specific type of purse, one that she cannot afford.  The purse is from a brand name that creates a very distinct luxury image for itself in a variety of high fashion magazines, focusing on new styles for each season.  My daughter and I know and love the brand, and read the magazines regularly. Her friends love the brand and talk about it with a passion that men cannot understand.   Her request for the purse sent me to a variety of favorite Internet sites since the brand is not sold in Nashville.  I shopped several online sites I am known to frequent – Amazon, Nordstrom, Bluefly and Zappos.  I often see online and offline advertising for these sites, follow social media for the sites and receive e-mail advertising.  The site from which I chose to purchase had a sale on the bag and free shipping, which they had communicated in an e-mail on exactly the same day.

Did the brand advertising or the sale and free shipping cause me to buy the bag?  Well, both did.  Without the brand advertising I would not have been aware of the brand and been predisposed to a purchase.  Without the need (Christmas Birthday Daughter), I would not have sought out retailers that sold the bag.  And without the sale and free shipping, I might have chosen another online retailer.

Research on advertising typically focuses on the last step remembered in the purchase cycle.  In this case, a coupon or incentive is the last thing many remember as they try to be smart in their purchases.

And my purchase?  It was delivered free of charge, two days after I bought it online.  And it’s under the tree now.

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