ACTION PLAN: PUTTING JUSTIFIERS TO WORK


ACTION PLAN: PUTTING JUSTIFIERS TO WORK

To move shoppers to action—that is, to buy something they don't need—consumer marketers must provide sufficient justifiers to overcome barriers to purchase and give people a reason to buy.

To move shoppers to action—that is, to buy something they don't need—consumer marketers must provide sufficient justifiers to overcome barriers to purchase and give people a reason to buy. Because consumers buy products for many different reasons, marketers need to make sure all of those reasons are reflected back to the consumer at every point of contact, including advertising and point-of-purchase. Key for any marketer is to understand how a particular product improves the quality of the consumer's life. Marketers need to define the different dimensions on which the consumer derives satisfaction from their products. Then they must communicate the new quality-of-life value proposition clearly and effectively. The 14 justifiers examined in this chapter all play a part in driving the consumer to action. Marketers may stimulate an impulse purchase with an attractive sales offer, capture more add-on sales as a consumer makes a major planned purchase, or offer stress relief and comfort through the product's use or the shopping experience. For discretionary and luxury purchases, consumer marketers and retailers need to stack the value equation in favor of the consumer, to break down barriers and encourage consumers to buy.

Here are some additional tips to encourage people to buy things they don't need:

  • Justifiers work together to create a predisposition to buy. Consumers ultimately make the decision to buy in their hearts—at the emotional level—but they need justifiers to rationalize the purchase decision with their heads. All the rational justifiers in the world will not make consumers buy things they really do not want. Marketers need to capture the attention of the consumer, draw him or her emotionally into the product, help create personal fantasies about how life will be enhanced through ownership, and then provide rationally based justifiers that give permission to buy.

  • As the consumer's purchase decision is multidimensional, so too must the justifiers be multidimensional. No single justifier works alone. Rather, they work together to encourage the consumer to buy. Marketers need to explore the comprehensive scope of how the product enhances the quality of the consumer's life. In my experience, company executives may think they know how their products enhance the quality of customers' lives, even when they have not done any research. However, rarely do they have a clue about the real emotional hot buttons that turn a desire into a need in the consumer's mind. You need to dig deeply into the consumer psyche to figure it out. It takes hard work and a commitment to consumer research. High-quality, highly intuitive consumer research is critical to uncover the full dimension of justifiers at work when consumers make a purchase decision. Focus groups, in-depth one-on-one interviews, and other qualitative research methods are useful tools to find out the real reason why consumers are drawn to the product.

    Consumers ultimately make the decision to buy in their hearts—at the emotional level—but they need justifiers to rationalize the purchase decision with their heads.

  • Discretionary product marketers compete against other companies and products within their class as well as across a wide range of product categories. Today's consumer can pick among many different products and services to achieve stress relief, relaxation, pleasure, and so forth. Marketers must work hard to make sure the consumer picks their product, not a competitor's. They need to view the competitive landscape horizontally, as well as vertically. With such stiff competition, no company that wants to grow and succeed can ignore the need to engage their consumers on an emotional level, to turn wants into needs, and win their hearts through effective marketing and communication.

    Marketers need to view the competitive landscape horizontally, as well as vertically.

  • Justifiers are even more important when marketing to women. Women as a rule are more frugal than men are. They are less willing to spend money on themselves, and when they do, they spend less money than men do. It takes more effort on the part of marketers to get women to open their pocketbooks and buy products they don't need. Therefore, in the marketing of products that appeal mainly to women, marketers need to work even harder in stacking the justifier equation in the consumer's favor. Women need more permission to buy, and justifiers are the secret.

  • The cascade effect offers opportunity for add-on purchases. One purchase often leads to another as the consumer uses the original purchase as a justifier for a cascade of additional purchases. Marketers and retailers can put this cascade effect to good use to spur additional sales. Opportunities abound to offer items in groupings, special-offer packages, and suites. Make these deals even more attractive by offering special-discount pricing to give the consumer one more reason to buy today. Look at ways to engineer products in order to offer more indulgence value for a lower price. Promotions that focus on delivering more to the consumers, such as "two for the price of one" or "buy two get one free," are on target for today.

Women need more permission to buy, and justifiers are the secret.