How to influence household decision-makers

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Household decision makers are the people who are most likely to take charge of home purchases - from food shopping through to appliances and holidays

They are the individuals most likely to control the household budget and are frequently the people making the physical act of buying goods and services.

Of course, this is a highly nuanced concept. In any household - whether that is a family home or a shared house - there are different influencers. And different influencers may take control over different purchases across multiple categories. For example, the person who plans meals for the week and organises energy bills may be different to the person who researches and buys a new flatscreen TV.

The fact remains, however, that there is typically one individual who holds the most power over the household purse-strings. In fact, a recent survey carried out among over 11,000 people within the Nextdoor community found that 70% of households have one person in charge of maintaining a budget.

The research also suggested the power of these individuals is growing in light of the cost-of-living crisis. In fact, over a third respondents (35%) reported that they would be more likely to put just one person in charge of household purchases to avoid overspending. So, how can companies efficiently target the people who matter the most and get the best ROI on their marketing spend?

1. Understand who household decision-makers are: Brands and marketers should invest more resource energy in finding out who the household decision-makers really are - e.g. male or female, a parent or a homeowner. Specific audiences will of course differ depending on the brand, product, or service - however we can draw the general conclusion that many household decision-makers will be juggling multiple priorities and responsibilities. This is an important context to understand what marketing messages are most likely to resonate with end customers.

2. Pay attention to pressures they are under: Our research explored some of the biggest concerns for households during the current cost-of-living crisis. Indeed, the main cost increases impacting households were reported as energy bills (92%), food shopping bills (79%) and fuel costs (56%). By understanding the changing pressures households are under, companies will be able to continually update their marketing content and approaches.

3. Tailor targeting opportunities: Brands can target their audiences based on many factors, including location, audience, interest, device, and time of day. Perhaps one of the most important considerations when it comes to more practical household purchases, however, is reaching people when they have a ‘high-intention mindset’. Marketers will achieve significantly higher engagement if they target individuals when they are in the mode of getting things done, sorted and fixed. Brands need to think beyond ‘right time, right place’ and think more about ‘right mindset’.

4. Influence the influencers: While one person may be identified as the main decision-maker, household dynamics are incredibly complicated. Marketers should invest time and energy finding out who (living under the roof) influences their buying decisions and engage this wider audience appropriately.

5. Look beyond the household perimeter: Household decision-makers look to their local community to help make important decisions, however there are nuances in how neighbours can influence purchases. For example, we have observed that women on Nextdoor are more likely to be influenced by neighbour recommendations for events & attractions, home & garden, and food & drink, whereas men are more likely to be influenced by neighbour recommendations for video games, travel, and personal finance.

Marketers have always been highly aware that they need to exercise the most influence over household decision makers, however the current cost-of-living crisis means they need to pay even closer attention to the people holding the purse strings. With access to the right consumer behaviour insights, they can create a strategy to cost-effectively engage the people who matter the most.

By Paps Shaikh, EMEA Commercial Director, Nextdoor