Business Week: Pinning Down the New American Shopper by Mark Penn

Business Week

Pinning Down the New American Shopper
It’s about information, value, and being green: Today’s discriminating consumers are careful about how they spend, and they’re concerned about the planet

By Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne

The consumer that marketers have had a lot of fun selling to over the last few decades is disappearing. Those were the days—when a snappy jingle did the trick, a celebrity carried the day, and a higher price signaled higher quality.

The old obsession with personality, emotion, and overarching experience is giving way to the green eyeshades of facts, research, and greater rationality. Not all consumers are changing, but enough are to start altering the way we market to and treat consumers. Originality and zaniness will still have their place, but marketers will have to deliver some cold, hard messages at the same time.

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DMA Point Magazine: The New American Shopper by Mark Penn: How Business Can Make the Most of the Current Economic Climate

DMA Point Magazine: The New American Shopper by Mark Penn

Read The New American Shopper by Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne, featured in the Direct Marketing Association’s Point Magazine (Spring 2009)

iMedia Connection: Reach Consumers Who Friend Before They Spend (Microtrends)

iMedia Connection

Reach Consumers Who Friend Before They Spend
Ever scoured the web for information about a brand of shampoo you’ve been considering using? Did customer reviews on Overstock or Amazon play a role in any of the purchases you made this past holiday season? Have you “Googled” a date’s name before, or after, going out with them? You may be a New Info Shopper if… (read doing your best Jeff Foxworthy) you answered yes to any of these questions. And, according to a recent online Wall Street Journal article, advertisers and marketers looking to improve their bottom line may want to start paying closer attention to the way you and your fellow NISs operate.

Finding, then seeing, is believing
E. Kinney Zalesne, who co-authored the WSJ.com article, along with the book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes with Mark J. Penn, contends that this new breed of consumer primarily trusts information it finds on its own — not necessarily what you provide in your outreach. The Microtrends shopper’s survey conducted for the January 8 article found that 92 percent of those surveyed believed information they got on their own over information they got from a salesperson or clerk. And 78 percent of the respondents felt television ads don’t contain enough information to make a purchase decision.

“That’s really a profound shift in attitudes towards shopping,” says Zalesne, who attributes at least some of this shift to a decrease in the power of branding. “I think part of what we’re seeing in the New Info Shopper is that people are not as willing to rely on brand. And they’re not as willing to assume that a fancy name, or a popular name, will be the right product for them.”

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Mark Penn Participates in BusinessWeek’s 2009 Media Summit



Mark Penn participated in the summit’s panel entitled “Global Media and Advertising: The Transition – TV, Broadband, Mobile and Social Media,” alongside other communications industry leaders. Participants addressed the transformation of advertising in the face of digital media, with a view towards a more holistic understanding of what the next generation of the industry will look like.

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Value is the New Green

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published March 13, 2009

Until recently, being green was the best way for companies to demonstrate a sense of social responsibility, and for consumers to feel good about their purchases. Healthy food, hybrid cars, energy efficiency — these were the attributes that burnished brands.

But now green is taking a back seat to a new core value — value. Green hasn’t gone away, but companies are having to consider their “value” equation to try to serve the millions of consumers who either can’t afford premium experiences, or just don’t want them anymore.

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Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: New Info Shoppers

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
By MARK PENN with E. KINNEY ZALESNE
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published January 8, 2009

With so much attention on psychological marketing these days — finding new ways to tap into people’s heads — perhaps the single most neglected trend out there is the move towards more hard-nosed information-based shopping and purchasing.

While elites were busy shoveling money into Madoff’s black box these past few years, strapped consumers have been poring over product spec sheets, third-party reviews and expert blog sites. This past holiday season they watched every dollar. A special kind of consumer has taken a major role in the marketplace — the new info shopper. These people just can’t buy anything unless they first look it up online and get the lowdown.

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Politico: Negative ads: They really do work

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published August 11, 2008

Clever negative advertising works. That is reality.

The tactic meets with media and pundit disapproval and spawns accusations of negativity, but the reality is that a clever negative ad can be devastatingly effective.

The 2008 presidential race is shaping up to be a close battle, and the tighter it is, the more the advertising will be ratcheted up, by both of the campaigns and the myriad independent groups sure to emerge.

Of course, voters publicly condemn negative advertising and suggest they would never be swayed by it. That was my experience in focus groups more than a decade ago, which found negative advertising to backfire. But Republican consultants such as the late Lee Atwater have used these tactics successfully in campaign after campaign. When reality and research differ, it is the research that is wrong.

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Forbes: The Emotional Trap

The Emotional Trap – Forbes.com

“…Interestingly, some folk are finally beginning to weigh in on the more rational approach to selling. Mark Penn, in a new book called Microtrends, makes the point that “the rational side of people is far more powerful in many areas of life than the purely emotional side.” He should know, as he is widely regarded as the most perceptive pollster in American politics. He is also the worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a very large PR firm…”

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