Monday, January 21, 2013

The Five Dimensions of Customer Behavior

There was an interesting article written by Danica Alann in the January 2012 issue of Quirk's Marketing Research Review titled "transcending brand and loyalty."   In the article she reflects on the research by Pinker, who wrote about how the mind works.

Adweek in September 2008 made the following statement:
 "Whatever the methodology, it's increasingly clear that customers desperately want goods and services, communications and marketing campaigns that dazzle their senses, touched their hearts and stimulates their minds - delivering a positive experience that will remember. Businesses will live or die not by the attributes they promise but by the brand experiences and  value they offer customers at every touch point."

There's been considerable research performed that has confirmed Pinker's five dimensions.  Those five dimensions are sensorial, social, behavioral, cognitive and emotional. A brief description of each of these dimensions is described below.
1. Social is the dimension of interacting with others. It is a dimension that creates a bond between the customer and the company.
2. Intellectual is the dimension of thinking. It is the dimension that causes me to reflect and try to understand and compare experiences.
3. Sensorial is the dimension of senses. It is the dimension that interacts with one or more of my five senses of smell, touch, sound, taste, hear.
4. Emotion is the dimension concerning my emotions.  It is the dimension that affects the way I feel or react to a situation.
5. Behavior is a dimension concerning my actions. It is the dimension that describes my physical reaction or responses to the situation.

In her article Ms. Allen translates these five dimensions into more consumer-friendly words of talk, think, since, feel and act.  These words make it easier to develop strategies that will best capture the customer dimensions most appropriate for specific products and services.

While not all five dimensions will have equal weight in any service encounter, all will be present. It is the challenge of the company who wants to understand its customers to determine how each of these five dimensions are working with their customers. For example food-service companies will obviously focus on the senses, such as sight and smell of their products. On the other hand, companies that sell products such as cars, boats, motorcycles and airplanes would probably be interested in the sight and emotional impact of the product on the customer.

The bottom line is that a better understanding of the dimensions of the customer should lead us to better metrics.  The remaining question is how to translate these five dimensions into an overall metric that best represents the customer.


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