Messy Middle

I was at a Google event today in Leeds and whilst I found several areas of interest the one that stood out to me was ‘The Messy Middle’ (note: this does not relate to the messy middle book by Scott Belsky; vaguely related though not the same)

…Google’s own research found that while brand remains important when shopping for a holiday for example it is not the defining influence.

Personal observation: The following ‘messy middle elasticity’ will differ greatly depending on areas such as degree of product differentiation, brand elasticity to target audience, etc

The Google research studied the ‘messy middle’; the elongated phase of buying between initial inspiration > purchase. This phase is sometimes overlooked as some brands focus on ‘branding’ (TV, Press, above the line) or chase sale signals much deeper into the sales/ acquisition funnel (where Google normally plays a key role with the likes of SEO, PPC, retargeting and programmatic)

The unconscious factors that were scientifically proven (sample size: 100,000) to determine why people make buying decisions are numerous and include:

Mere-Exposure effect – people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar

Social norms – views and recommendations of friends/ influencers

category heuristics and Authority Bias – help customers shortcut decision making by using industry body kitemarks or awards

Power of free – added value benefits such as free additional extras

Reciprocity – when someone gives us something, we feel compelled to give something back in return (think an email address for a % discount of the price)

Scarcity – people are motivated by the thought that they might miss out on an opportunity (flights are a perfect example of this)

(For further information check out Dr Cialdini and the Psychology of Persuasion).

For me the above really highlights about getting your ‘offer’ (4 X P’s) ‘right’ (and right means constantly CRO testing to different target segments/ inputs by the utilisation of advanced techniques such as AI and marketing automation).

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