What happens when customer doesn’t tell you everything you want to know?

Dalibor Šumiga Behavioral marketing/Neuromarketing, Marketing

Imagine this scenario: You have a house and you want to build a facade. You are aware of the fact that this is not a small investment and you want to find the best option, hence you surf through the Internet and notice these 4 adverts (not necessarily at the same time):

Which of these adverts would you click on?

Remember your choice, we’ll come back to this subject later.


According to the HDC Research analysis, there are four main reasons why a customer didn’t buy your product:

01) It didn’t come to his mind – you have to enhance your marketing

02) He can’t find it – you have a problem with distribution, positioning of your product or a website with bad SEO, or you don’t promote it well

03) They can’t afford it – it’s necessary to communicate your benefits more (value for money) by giving less attention to the price, if you’re not the most inexpensive one on the market

04) It’s not relevant to their needs – you are not communicating clearly enough what are exactly the problems your product solves

However, these are not the only reasons. As in many other situations, the context in which the customer sees your product is very important.

The brain of the customer perceives your product while including other conscious and subconscious signals he receives and processes. Regarding that the brain is exposed to subtle influences of the environment and the past experiences, it is estimated that around 40% of customers changes their opinion on the buying spot because they saw, heard or found out something new.*

Therefore, there is a large chance that you don’t actually know the real motives standing behind the decisions of your potential customers. This brings us back to the question from the beginning of this article – which advert would you click on if you were buying a facade?


The adverts you’ve seen are a part of the experiment we conducted for the company JUB, aiming to better understand the real dilemma bothering the potential facade buyers.

Regarding that you don’t build a facade every day and it’s a large investment, everybody, including facade experts, will say that the main factor to this decision is – the price.

The experiment was conducted in Croatia (Google Display, random stratified sample, confidence level 95%, standard sample error +5%) and only the winning banner collected more than 4.000 clicks in two weeks (statistically relevant sample demanded 400 clicks). This is the one:

I know, most of you are asking yourselves – how?

I showed this case study during several lectures in different places around Europe, to the audience not being familiar with the product, and I believe your reaction was similar to theirs. You didn’t choose the banner communicating the price because it seemed too obvious; you chose the banner communicating the appearance of the house or, less likely, the guarantee. The thing is that the context and time in which you saw the banner was not the same as for the participants of this experiment.


One of the main factors for this pattern of behaviour in our experiment is – a  subsidy given by the government.

In the period this experiment was conducted, there was an active state campaign – subsidy of the costs of facade aiming to increase the energetic efficiency of houses.

One of the most important factors for getting the subsidy was the minimal facade thickness, because you can’t buy just any material and apply for subsidy supporting energetic efficiency.

If you think a bit more about it, this experiment actually proves that the main factor was the price – if you don’t have an appropriate thickness of facade, you won’t get the support which means that you’ll have to pay the full price of the facade by yourself.

However, the context is much more complex than the simple “this is expensive” or “this is cheap” way of thinking.

What can we learn from this experiment? Although they can sometimes seem as such, things are not always black and white in the heads of our customers. When you set up a sales and marketing strategy, try to predict (or check if it’s possible) in which context your customer will see your advert or your product. It is also important to keep track of social trends because they’re a significant factor of influence.

A customer is not an island, your brand is not an island, and perception of both can sometimes be completely the opposite, just as on this picture:

*Dhar 2012