Portland Marketing Analytics (PortMA) | Portland, Maine

Purchase vs. Recommend: Which is Better?

SurveyIn this industry, measuring a consumer’s propensity to buy or recommend a product is more than common, it’s a must.  The majority of the surveys we work with ask these baseline questions to get an idea of how much impact their experience with the brand ambassador made.

The question is, which of these metrics is more important?

The obvious answer is purchase as this will tell you whether or not they’ll run out and buy your product, right?  Wrong, unfortunately, as these surveys are not binding contractual agreements, we have to really analyze the consumer behavior behind each response.

We use an ‘actual’ purchase filter when calculating impact because we’re very aware that a consumer checking a box on a survey or saying ‘sure’ when interviewed by a brand rap does not actually mean they’ll drop everything and run out and buy the product.  We certainly have a high level of confidence that they will actually behave as stated when in certain situations, like if they took the survey in a grocery store where that product is being sold.  Most situations, however, are a bit more complex than this.

So what about the consumers that say they’ll recommend it to a friend or family member?  Well that should be easier to predict as they’re not actually spending any of their money.  But then you have to think about the actual product and it’s applicability to the general public.

For example, if the product in question is an umbrella (something I wish I had brought with me today) a consumer might be truly impressed by the technology and brand experience they had at the marketing event.  If that consumer already has an umbrella they will probably report that they have no intention of purchasing, but maybe they’ll agree that they’ll recommend it to someone they know.  That’s great, except we never asked where they were from and as it turns out they hail from southern California and chances are, what umbrella to buy probably wont be coming up in a conversation anytime soon.

This is why there is no ‘one size fits all’ survey or reporting strategy for us here at PortMA.  Every campaign has it’s own quirks and the value of various survey metrics can vary greatly.  Our client’s always know their industries like the back of their hands, but knowing the consumers is our job.

We know what questions to ask, where to ask them, and how to word them.  One of the biggest challenges for me is bridging the gaps between what our clients want to see, how the market will react and finding the right set of metrics to make our research valuable.

So which is better?  We’ll if the survey respondent is flat broke, but intends tweet to their 250,000 Twitter followers about how awesome the product is I’d say recommend.  If they have money to burn and have no friends outside of their immediate family I’d say purchase.

The real answer, of course, is neither and this is exactly why you need us measuring your campaign!

Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebees/4982556761/

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