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Taking Loyalty’s Measure

By Feb 01, 2000

THE DEBATE OVER attitudinal research vs. product use history won’t likely be settled soon, but now at least it has a moderator. Segway, a new joint venture between ACNielsen U.S. and Market Facts Inc., offers marketers a way to link behavior analysis, such as consumption patterns, and brand perception research.

Marketers who put their trust in product-use indicators hold that consumption equals affinity. According to these marketers, frequent flyer program participants, who make several trips a year, are a more desirable target for promotions than dilettante flyers who make only one or two trips but express a desire to travel often.

Those who believe in attitudinal research say that an airline basing decisions on behavior will learn only about the use of its product, not about a consumer’s total involvement in an industry – such as the total number of flights taken in a year. There could be more business to gain from this consumer – or worse, total defection.

Segway combines ACNielsen’s Homescan Consumer Panel, a projectable sample of U.S. consumers who scan their packaged goods purchases into in-home readers, with Market Facts’ Conversion Model. The Conversion Model measures the strength of consumers’ self-reported brand commitment. It then ranks consumers either secure in their loyalty or vulnerable to switching due to such market forces as price, promotion or packaging.

The model also anticipates the potential of consumers to switch their alliances, labeling them either receptive or not to trying a new brand.

Segway is particularly useful for building market share in mature markets. The Homescan data offers a snapshot of a given good’s consumption volume, while Market Facts lets a DMer target segments based on their propensity to switch, as well as the potential share of the market each segment represents.

Homescan’s data is most valuable for packaged goods analysis. Brand-loyal buyers within a category can be rewarded through special programs, packaging designed for greater consumption levels, or discounts. Consumers susceptible to switching can receive offers for bonus packs; receptive non-buyers can be targeted with high-value incentives.

Careful list choices, made using this service, along with targeted prospect marketing, become a possibility even for low-margin goods. If a marketer still finds direct mail too costly, kiosks and checkout coupons, along with Internet-based programs, may benefit a tighter budget.