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Have You Heard About “PMO?”

By: Sagefrog

Ever wonder what goes on in the mind of a consumer when making a purchase decision? According to an article in the Harvard Business Review titled, “What Marketers Misunderstand About Online Reviews,” consumer purchase decisions are affected by three different factors:

  1. (P) Prior preferences, beliefs and experiences
  2. (M) Information from the marketers such as advertising, packaging, marketing materials, etc.
  3. (O) Input from other people and information services

The authors go on to say these factors create a zero sum game meaning that when one factor is highly weighted in determining a purchase, the significance of the other two factors go down. What is even more interesting is that the importance of the P, M, and O factors is less determined by consumer demographics and more about the type of product they are buying.

Here are a few examples:

  • With a low investment, routine purchase such as a carton of eggs or a stick of butter, “P” is the most important factor.
  • Luxury items, such as an expensive watch, are O-independent because these products appeal to buyers’ emotions instead of their utility.
  • Digital products, like a camera, a big screen television, and a laptop, are extremely “O-dependent” because buyers look to the early adopters and more educated users for input and buyer recommendations.
  • The “M” is weighted heavily on days like Black Friday where consumers do not have the time to do extensive research on the products that they would otherwise conduct (Granted there are exceptions to this rule).

The authors conclude by saying that, “as the influence mix evolves, success will come to companies that can closely track the sources of information their customers turn to and find the combination of marketing channels and tools best suited to the way those consumers decide.”

A few things that marketers can do in the meantime:

  • Strategically move to the luxury end of the consumer spectrum – where emotion overrides intellect
  • Strive to build an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand because building brand value is a strong technique marketers can use to both sell more products and reduce the effect of others’ opinions.
  • Cultivate a strong brand advocate culture to help promote products – Read our post titled “6 Ways to Build and Maintain Loyal Brand Advocates” for more information!

For branding and all other full-service integrated marketing services, please contact Sagefrog Marketing Group at 215-230-9024 or visit