A recent study from the Advertising Research Foundation (available to members only) — Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process — claims that consumers are always shopping … at least in our heads.
“… thanks in part to social media, the purchase process never ends. With constant updates from social networks (including from friends and colleagues who are talking about their own recent purchases in social networks), consumers are constantly shopping, even if they are doing it in a passive manner.
“People have a [predetermined] mental image of the marketplace even if they’re not in it. Even if you’re not a snowboarder, you probably have an image of what the market is like,” Todd Powers, executive vice president, primary research, the Advertising Research Foundation, tells Marketing Daily. “By the time you start that active search, you already have the view of the marketplace.”
The study credits social media with creating an environment where consumers have available a wealth of both information and emotional support for purchasing.
Should we jump to the conclusion that consumers are always looking to donate?
No, not in any conscious sense … any more than they might be always consciously thinking about buying a hammer.
But yes, in the sense that we are always alert to stimuli that promise a satisfying emotional experience … and the fact is, we shop for pleasure more than for need.
Once again, the point for fundraisers, like any marketers, is to offer an emotional experience first, then let the information follow.
With social media, you are likely to be ‘pinged’ by a friend on an emotional level — they just made a great buy or discovery, you could to, responding to their enthusiasm. Or they have been moved or angered by an urgent need, and you feel their emotion as you learn about what triggered it.
Potentially, powerful stuff, this social media.
But stay tuned for what Roger has to say on the subject.