Q&A with Kantar PH Chief Client Officer Vicky Abad on Consumer Path to Purchase (Part 2)

Vicky Abad brings with her 27 years of marketing and research experience in the arena of creating innovative products and solutions as well as helping build great brands. She is now Chief Client Officer for the Insights group of Kantar Philippines where she leads collaboration across Kantar operating brands to bring the best of the group to clients.

Q1: In the consumers’ path to purchase, where should a market challenger intercept their competitors?

VICKY: Ideally, brands should be able to intercept competition at discovery phase. This is to ensure that the brand will be given a good chance to be considered even before the consumer forms a clear opinion about another brand, at which point it may be difficult to change initial decision. However, as Gary already mentioned, there are other points in the purchase path that may either support or undermine, encourage or discourage, facilitate or inhibit actual purchase by shoppers. When a challenger brand can’t compete against strong and established equity of bigger brands, the point of sale provides yet other opportunities to win where it really matters – closing the sale. Therefore, market players (be they leaders or challengers) should compete strongly in the

First, the offer of delivering true value for money should be supported by access and convenience. Even if you’re offering value, if you’re not available or you’re extremely hard to find, you won’t get much traction. A challenger brand simply must be available when and where the target shopper needs to buy the category. There is always a chance that availability can trump equity at the moment of need.

Second, with online SEARCH for information as a new primary step in the path to purchase, it is key to make product/ brand information easily accessed and available on every relevant platform as well as presented in a compelling manner. In fact, where programmatic is an option, brand information can be pushed where category searches are made or is deemed as a relevant allied topic.

The third one is about amplifying positive experience in various communication channels. This includes testimonials as well as viral positive feedback on social media. Good management of
online assets and activities can also seed the creation of user-generated content that shares positive product experience of both new users and regular users. This could also include content that encourages potential buyers to decide in the brand’s favor.

Q2: How different is path to purchase for brick-and-mortar versus online stores?

VICKY: Everyone knows that the internet has provided an avenue for consumers to study and consider their choice more extensively than ever prior to actual purchase – irrespective of whether they consider to buy via the traditional retail outlets or online stores. Even social media has afforded a platform to get more actual buyer experience and feedback – both positive and negative – before a final consideration is set. Interaction between and among consumers is likewise facilitated allowing for a more diligent search of options to meet one’s needs. While brick and mortar purchases still allow for a more hands-on experience prior to purchase, we see how online is already providing more before and after-sales options to trial use or return purchases as needed should the consumer feel that they do not get exactly what they paid or are about to pay for.

On actual purchase, we see how both channels now allow not just credit card purchases but also cash purchases. Online transactions will continue to have the more convenient advantage of ordering remotely as well as delivering goods direct to consumers. And convenience will be something that, more and more, consumers will be seeking.

Q3: Is the importance of digital influence, the so-called zero moment of truth (ZMOT), overstated or understated?

VICKY: Given that zero moments of truth continue to grow as technology becomes ever more integral to how people live their lives, it certainly remains understated, especially in the Philippines where technology infrastructure is still not sufficiently efficient and affordable enough to translate fully the eagerness of Filipinos for technology adoption into actual practice. We have certainly yet to capture comprehensively and realize fully the tangible effects of winning at ZMOT.

As online access continues to gain traction, zero moments of truth in the consumers’ path to purchase will exponentially grow in importance both among people who increasingly get used to reaching immediately for things they need when they need them as well as among marketers who must make sure they are effectively and impactfully present when and where customers require product information and availability.
– Is your brand salient enough to be remembered at specific ZMOT? If not, is your brand’s communication available, sufficient and compelling when the consumer reaches out for information at a ZMOT?
– When the consumer receives your brand communication at a ZMOT, does the way you present your brand connect to both mind and heart to create relevance and preference?

Clearly, the first step to winning at ZMOT is to identify and then own the Zero Moments of Truth that really matter. We should remember, nonetheless, that there are still the First Moments of Truth (point of purchase) and Second Moments of Truth (product consumption) to manage well in order to win on the long term. The point of view of Kantar is that moments that matter are the intersection of people, occasions, emotions and products that provide critical contexts for understanding product use. When the investigation is done right, we can uncover tension-based opportunities, inspire creativity, prioritize ideas and add value to testing products.

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