In a previous blog entitled Integration Takes Perspiration I touched upon a subject that I believe is hard-wired into human DNA. It appeared as a small almost unnoticeable reference, but because it is part of a much larger concept, I felt was deserving of further discussion. Please, let me explain.
As humans we are creatures of habit and we love when things remain the same. When faced with change we find it difficult if not impossible to embrace it. If you require evidence of this fact, you need to look no further than the numerous self-help books such as Who Moved my Cheese and Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, which are designed to instruct the masses who are struggling with change. The later title explains that change is easier to accept only when the rational and emotional part of the brain are in alignment. Another example is the environment we create when we raise our children. The popular belief is that children thrive on routine, so we create a home and learning environment built on repetition. Our children’s days are filled with scheduled activities. They rise at the same time, go to bed at the same time, do their homework at the same time and the list goes on and on. And for the most part it seems to work, they know what to expect, are well rested, and are happier throughout the day. Anyone who has deviated from this formula, by allowing their child to stay up later than usual, knows the firestorm they will incur. When we examine the evidence, it seems that we are born and bred to crave consistency.
In the marketing world, consistency comes in the form of integration. Marketers design company materials,packages, websites, and other touch points with a similar look and feel, in order to attract and promote top of the mind awareness for their brand. Often the reason why you love a brand is because it consistently delivers some important element well. For example, Target consistently delivers an excellent retail experience. Its well designed stores contain trendy products, great prices, and attentive customer service. And it does so with such finesse, you are never aware you’re in a discount store (did I mention I love their nifty ad campaigns).
So marketers know they can wield power over consumers by delivering consistency, but are they giving them all they crave? If you have confidence in the results of MyBuys/e-tailing group Consumer Insight Survey reported in the Forbes Blog What SchoolHouse Rock And Integration Have In Common, the answer is no. The results of this survey show a sizable gap in what consumers want and what retailers are giving them. For example, 85% want an integrated(consistency) shopping experience but only 50% get it and only 30% of the 72% who want an integrated marketing approach (consistency) are getting it. In addition, 44% of the retail respondents had no current plans to integrate their message.
While integration(consistency) is always a work in progress and 100% integration(consistency) may never be possible, humans crave consistency, consumers are asking for consistency, so as marketers we should strive to find ways to give them what they want. Integration may be the best tool marketers have in the battle for consumers attention. After all, the need for consistency may well be encoded in our DNA.