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October 22, 2007. Missing Link Marketing™

Author: Dr. Augustine Fou, Marketing Science Consulting Group, Inc.

In the "age of too much information" marketers need to focus on the information that customers need to get from "considering to buy" to actually buying. These missing links force a re-focusing of marketing messages and methodologies from pushing a benefit message out to allowing the customer to pull the information they need during their own research process.

Missing Link Defined     

What's the missing link?

- works for any product or service - reveals consumers' actions during the purchase decision - deliver practical information efficiently - give consumers what they want rather than what advertisers want to give Assumption

- the next evolution of marketing exists in a landscape where users reach out when they need something and ignore EVERY SINGLE marketing message that is "shouted at them" through traditional one-way channels such as TV, print, and radio. Instead at the moment they want something, who can better and more efficiently deliver the exact info they need (and no more) to help fill that "missing link" that gets the customer to the purchase. How missing link marketing works

- traditional marketing focus more on stimulating consumer's desire to buy products/services or reveal product info before consumer thinking to buy products/service. However, consumer may have difficulty to find the right information which could help to finish the last step - buying products/services. - missing link marketing will provide info to consumers who are looking for the info When/where/who to use missing link marketing?

When: the period between consumers made their minds to buy a product/service and they actually buy Where: around consumers who are seeking information Who: product/service providers who want to deliver information more efficiently Missing links classification

Dollar value of purchases \ amount of effort in decision making process Impulse Medium Considered Small Simple/basic info (where to buy) Basic product info Where to buy Price Product review Price Median Good price Trusted info Price Reliable info Price Big N/A Trust info Highly reliable info EXAMPLES

- soda (low ticket, impulse) - when the consumer already knows that soda they want, the missing link is where's the closest place to buy it now -- a mobile app or service which provides the location of the nearest store or even soda machine will do this - notebook computer (big ticket, considered) -- consumers don't trust what advertisers tell them; they prefer to trust their friends who have actually used the computer first hand; the missing link is the information from a trusted source; review sites which have a history of independent reviews of product will carry the weight of consistently objective info which the user will need to make the purchase decision - plasma TV (big ticket, considered) Rapid Creative Innovation Q&A Q1. There are so many brands/products/services in the market. Different brands/products/services have different identities and different ways to market themselves. How Missing Link Marketing could help all of the brands?

A1. There is slight difference between buying a product/service and buying a specific brand. People who decided to buy a i-Pod basically are searching for info different from those who decided to buy a mp3 player are looking for. We're providing our service for the latter ones. For example, when people consider to buy an i-Pod, they probably only need to decide what size of storage they like. For people think of buying a mp3 player, they may look for information about function, appearance, price...etc. Missinglink Marketing works on how to give them accurate information rather than a video of fancy kids dancing with cool mp3 players.

Q2. People have different life styles or background knowledge toward a specific product/service. How could Missing Link Marketing provide information which fits the diverse needs?

A2. Knowing more about a product/service could shorten the time period between thinking of buying and actually buying. But nobody knows everything. The goal of Missinglink Marketing is to save the time and money for consumers as well as for product/service providers.

Q3. Although much marketing budget is wasted, some marketing activities works and creates consumption. It's hard to say that all adverting work is wasted. How could you make sure that Missing Link Marketing would work without wasting?

A3. Missinglink Marketing focus on the time when consumers made their minds to buy a specific product/service. In this stage, consumers look for information they need actively. Missinglink marketing gives necessary information to whom really want it.

Q4. Is the missing link the only element between thinking of buying and really buying? How could you evaluate other possible reasons which could encourage people to buy or discourage people from buying?

A4. Possible, there are other elements could influence consumer's buying behavior, such as emotion, personal finance situation, or other consumer side reasons, even though consumer made his/her mind before. We couldn't control it. However, what we want to do is to make sure that consumers can easily find essential info when they're thinking of buying. We want to minimize the hard time of searching information.

Q5. People buy things for various reasons. Some for survive, some for fun, some for professional uses, some for personal interests, and others for no reason. How does Missing Link Marketing analyze the reasons behind buying and launch marketing campaign precisely?

A5. Our assumption matter what are the reasons which motivate people to buy products/service, the actions that people are going to take to fulfill the buying task are similar, including locating the stores, asking friends, searching on the Internet..etc.

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2007, Dr. Augustine Fou

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Fou Bio

experiential marketing

context-based clustering

inventory-centralized retail