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“Double Jeopardy” in Marketing: What it is and how it affects your online efforts

 What it is and how it affects your online efforts

Back in the 1960’s, a social scientist named William McPhee coined the termdouble jeopardy to describe people’s likability and tendencies toward certain behaviors. Then after a few years, Andrew Ehrenberg, a marketing statistician, applied the term purely in the marketing world.

What is double jeopardy in marketing?

It is a phenomenon or an empirical law where brands with lower markets shares suffer both from low purchases and low brand loyalty. Simply put, “less popular” brands not only have fewer buyers, but also have fewer loyal customerscompared to popular brands.

First, we must define popular: the popular brand is the one with the majority of market shares. It’s not necessarily the “oldest” or more traditional product; it could be anything from an established brand to a newcomer, as long as it dominates the market.

Take for example the coffee industry. Folgers is the largest-selling coffee brand in the US, owning 22% of the market shares. Obviously that means more people buy Folgers than any other brand, compared to, say, Millstone, which only nabbed 2.24% share of the market. According to the double jeopardy phenomenon, Folgers would not only have the biggest buying percentage, but it would also have the most loyalty.

This “double advantage” makes it difficult for less popular brands to convince their customers to buy their products consistently. People are apparently under the notion that whatever everyone else is buying has the best quality, although that might not always be the truth.

In online marketing, the same concepts take place, but only with a different measure of quality. Basically, an online marketer’s goal is to establish a following on their blogs and social networking groups, but popularity rarely happens overnight, especially if your approach is content-driven. Naturally, regular blog hoppers would tend to visit (and revisit) sites which already have established names, or the one they’ve already had a connection with. For a less-popular blogger, he may have to wait for a trigger – a great post or an achievement in SEO rankings – that would put his blog on the map.

Marketers should understand the while a blog may not rake in loyal visitors, it is not entirely the fault of the blogger. Taking into heart the double jeopardy concept, a less popular blog would not have loyal visitors –that’s normal – and only until it can establish a large “market share” would its visitors think of going back to the site.

Bottom line: work on that trigger. Instead of wondering why your visitors don’t come back, accept it as a normal phase of the journey, and channel your energy in enhancing your site. Improve your content, redesign your pages, and strategize your SEO. When you’ve given them reasons to be loyal, everything else will follow.