Replacing the Top-Down Mindset With Bottom-Up Response

Al Ries, who wrote one of the seminal books on marketing with Jack Trout years ago entitled “Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind,” has submitted a challenge to big company marketers and C-level execs to stop “top-down thinking.” Ries states this type of thinking – where marketers and brands push seemingly indistinguishable products – is leading to consumer confusion, disloyalty and ultimately lost profits.

“Quit thinking like an executive and start thinking like a consumer.”

In AdAge Ries urges these big company types to “Quit thinking like an executive and start thinking like a consumer.” Ries writes “Clearing up customer confusion [is vital]. Most customers don’t want to waste time picking out absolutely the best and cheapest product on the market. They just want to make a good choice.”  He calls on marketers and C-level execs alike to put themselves “in the place of customers and [try] to figure out what would please them.”  Ries calls this strategy “bottom-up thinking.”

“Top-down” mindsets are not the way to go to turn consumers into customers. However instead of just putting yourself in a consumer’s shoes as Ries suggests – and risk that your worldview as a “consumer” is everyone’s worldview – wouldn’t it be even better to ask consumers exactly what they want (and need?).

Digital analyst and futurist Brian Solis of Altimeter Group agrees.  He notes in a piece entitled “The Perception Gap” (where he covered the disconnect between what customers want and what executives think) that, “Asking is one part of the ongoing customer research your team should embrace now and over time. Research can lead to insights and insights can lead to innovation. Other byproducts of good research include the ability to feel customer empathy and translate it into inspiration, a powerful emotion that strives for relevance.”

We at ChoiceStream agree. Engaging in a two-way dialogue can help increase the effectiveness and relevance of your advertising, while increasing your overall knowledge and understanding of consumers and customers.

ChoiceStream’s Active Audience ads and our site are two of the ways we engage consumers in a 2-way dialogue with your brand. Consumers are twice as likely to engage with an Active Audience ad. Using the answers consumers provide, you’ll gain deeper insights into your target audience’s attitudes. These insights help you identify new audiences of self-declared high-value consumers.

Further, using perform-alike targeting to expand your ad campaign’s reach, ChoiceStream will find more consumers like the respondents who are likely to convert into customers, thereby improving ad campaign effectiveness while providing deeper insights into audience attitudes.

For example:

One recent Active Audience campaign we ran on behalf of a large Quick Service Restaurant chain shows the power of asking. This brand was introducing a new product line. To make the launch of the product a success, they had to determine who was most likely to buy their product.  However to buy the new beverage product, the target audience needed to own a specific piece of equipment in order to prepare the beverage.

QSR Sample Ad

By asking if consumers had the piece of equipment ChoiceStream Active Audience ads were able to drive bottom-up response that added to the bottom-line.  For example, these ads:

  • Increased ad response rate by 68%
  • Exceeded target reach by 1131%, reaching 1.98 Million unique consumers
  • Drove 25% more social engagements than typical banner ads
  • Generated actionable insights into audience behaviors and engagement driversAs you can see, ChoiceStream supports Bottom-up response.  Our Active Audience ad units are the idea way to increase not only your campaign’s performance but to also increase the knowledge you have about the audience you want to reach. Consumers want to tell you what they think. Let us know if you need more information on Active Audience.
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