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What makes people happy to buy your stuff?


Here at Initiative we’ve developed a unique new tool called Decision Trees.

Decision Trees can help our clients uncover the important, but hidden, factors that influence a customer’s path to purchase. These factors determine whether or not a purchase is ultimately a success and is measured by metrics such as the chances of a repeat purchase and recommendation.

Our friends in Mediabrands Marketing Sciences worked with us to create Decision Trees using a mathematical technique known as classification and regression tree (CART) modelling. To demonstrate its power, we partnered with Respondi to survey 2000 British holiday-makers and short-break takers.

We simply asked them - What was important when organising your holiday?

Decision Trees split the surveyed consumers into two sections; those happy with their trip and those who were unhappy. A series of CART models were created for different scenarios such as hotel stayers, family city breaks and beach holidays.

The process has enabled us to better understand how the importance of different factors can affect the purchase decision when booking a holiday, all of which can be unbeknownst to the consumer. The research uncovered insights such as:

  • The more enjoyable the planning experience, the better the holiday.
  • Celebrity endorsements usually disappoint; photos are a much more important influencer.
  • Families who want unusual destinations are more likely to be disappointed with their holidays.
  • People, who are more reliant on emails from holiday companies, or reps at their destination, are less content with their holidays.
  • Families taking city breaks have a better time when they use Trip Advisor to plan.
  • For beach holidays, the ethics of the travel company has a bigger impact on the success of the holiday than the brand does.
  • Online advertisements are particularly helpful for holidays with friends.

The beauty of Decision Trees is that it unearths the hidden factors behind our choices. Not what we necessarily think is most important, but what is actually driving our decisions. The Decision Trees analysis can be applied to any category or product, revealing more about consumer decision making than other standard surveys do. We can now provide this tool and use it to the marketer’s advantage in the campaign planning process

If you would like to find out more about Decision Trees and how it can work for you, please contact:

Ben Haley
Head of Insight, Initiative UK
Ben.Haley@initiative.com