12 November 2008
Despite the immense hype about new media and their ability to trigger product interest among consumers, traditional mass media, such as TV and print, still triumphs when it comes to eliciting purchase desire across most product categories - according to the latest study by Omnicom Media Group (OMG). The study, Pathway, literally maps the consumer’s purchase journey, which is made up of a series of relationships between brand and consumers through various dimensions such as purchase duration, the buying stages and the role of media. Despite the immense hype about new media and their ability to trigger product interest among consumers, traditional mass media, such as TV and print, still triumphs when it comes to eliciting purchase desire across most product categories - according to the latest study by Omnicom Media Group (OMG). The study, Pathway, literally maps the consumer’s purchase journey, which is made up of a series of relationships between brand and consumers through various dimensions such as purchase duration, the buying stages and the role of media.

Pathway researchers interviewed over 600 consumers (aged 15-59) in four key market centres in Malaysia, i.e. Klang Valley, Penang, Ipoh and Johor Bahru. The survey also covered seven other markets across Asia including India, Singapore, China, The Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The total number of people interviewed was at 5250.

“The consumer purchase journey is a complicated labyrinth of interactions between brands and their consumers and Pathway is designed to understand these intricate relationships and processes by product category types”, said Florence Oong, Director of Communication Insights, APAC, OMG. “By understanding the significant touchpoints of this journey, marketers will be able to gain unparalleled insights into the purchasing psyche of consumers,” she added.

Across the region, 79% of respondents claimed their interest to purchase was triggered by advertisements in traditional media (TV, newspapers, magazines and radio), as compared to 18% from new media (Internet, mobile phone, e-mail, brand websites, online forum, SMS and MMS). In Malaysia, it is 84 percent for traditional media versus 12% for new media. Television in Malaysia has a particularly stronger influence on households (57%), quick service restaurants (56%), personal grooming (56%) and everyday food (53%) consumers.

Pathway disclosed that Malaysian consumers can take as long as nine months to make a decision on car purchase compared to as short as eight hours on snacks. On average, car buyers spend nine months to buy a car. However, male buyers spend longer time on car purchase (ten months) compared to the females (seven months). In contrast, when it comes to snacks, male consumers have the shortest path to purchase, six hours at most compared to the female consumers, ten hours.

Pathway highlighted four different routes to help decode the path to purchase – Quick, Winding, Long and Long Winding. “The duration of a consumer’s purchase journey is indicative of the amount of time a prospect is open to communications. A quick path means advertisers have no time to waste in establishing effective communications with consumers. It is important to add variety to touchpoints to engage consumers to trigger purchase,” said Florence. “For the long and winding path, marketers need to focus on research media such as company websites, blogs, trade review sites, etc. Equip buyers with tools and options throughout the buying process to stay ahead of competition,” she added.

Malaysia consumers registered the highest interest in the car category (61%), followed by baby products (58%), travel (57 percent), personal grooming (55%). Interestingly, in the personal grooming category, 69% of Malaysian consumers claimed to be knowledgeable and 73% will not ask for advice. “This shows that on personal grooming, consumers do research and form their own opinions. With such product knowledge, brand relationship or emotional attributes play major role to boost brand appeal,” according to Andreas Vogiatzakis, Managing Director of OMG, Malaysia.

“Pathway pinpoints how consumers go about making their purchases and this is essential to us as well as the marketers. For example, the petrol loyalty program, perks and product offers plays a major role in influencing petrol usage and signing up of petrol loyalty programmes. Besides word-of-mouth and television, note that point systems, redemption value/channels and free gifts are key compelling factors. For petrol, consumers want to see tangible values that translate into savings, or gains. Pathway helps us to understand what information to put in, when to put it in along the path of purchase,” Andreas Vogiatzakis added.

The findings by Pathway enables the development of winning communication strategies and optimisation of media opportunities for marketers. It is an extremely valuable piece of information and even more so at a tiring times, when consumers everywhere are tightening their belts amidst concerns of a slowing global economy.
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