Published on August 29, 2012

The unspoken habit

We go through our daily lives doing the things we do so well, unknowingly we fill our days with hundreds of habits. I have the same breakfast every morning, a slice of toast with butter – I doubt that will change anytime soon. But maybe one day it could or should change?

The change from one habit to another is where the magic lies. Marketeers have a window of opportunity to break those habits and create new ones, from consumers buying their competitors’ products to consumers buying their products.

The understanding of consumer habits has become ever so important in today’s society, with increasing digital platforms and social media taking the forefront in the daily lives of consumers. The power of habit is huge, yet often left ignored and seen as the unspoken marketing principle. The simplicity of habits may be the exact reason why they become faded into the background, but now it’s time to listen up and pay attention.

How can I pay attention?

There are few moments in people’s lives where habits change, but capturing those moments in marketing campaigns can make a big difference. Those moments can be anything from changing jobs to having a baby, get it right and you can form consumer habits that last for the long haul.

Despite new habits only occurring on rare occasions, there’s room for more opportunity when advertisers begin to observe habits closely. For instance, most of the time consumers do not make informed decisions about purchases, they simply buy through habit. Companies must understand this sense of maintaining the status quo and avoid challenging it. As for competitors, you must effectively disrupt this status quo and show consumers what else is available, to break the habits of a lifetime.

An example of paying attention to habits is explained by mobile business director Steve Wing who told the audience at Marketing Week Live that news consumption is heavily dominated by mobile apps in the morning, whereas Facebook and are used more frequently during lunchtimes. These specific schedules highlight consumers habits falling into place, news corporations are now paying attention to these routines and marketing their content on different platforms at different times of the day to adhere to these consumer needs.

As Laurence Green writes “The bottom line is this: brand owners will profit from a better understanding of the consumer habits at play in their category”.


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