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Understanding consumer minds: What Oreos and your customer engagement strategy have in common

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When you think about a customer engagement strategy, the last thing that might come to mind is a delicious, infamous cookie like Oreos. However, both Oreos and your customer engagement strategy are all about creating delightful experiences that leave a lasting impression. What lessons can you learn from the iconic Oreo cookie and how it’s priced, packaged and promoted that draws you in and leaves you wanting more. 

Finding the perfect balance

One of the key reasons that Oreos have stood the test of time is their perfect balance between cookies and filling. Similarly, in customer engagement, finding the right balance is crucial. It’s about striking a harmonious blend between automation and personalization, self-service and human interaction, and proactive outreach and responsive support. 

Just like the cookie’s two halves complement each other, your customer engagement strategy should blend technology and the human touch. Leverage automation to streamline processes and provide quick responses, but don’t forget the importance of personalization and human interactions. Strive to understand your customers’ preferences and needs, and tailor your engagements accordingly. By finding the perfect balance, you can create a memorable experience that keeps your customers coming back for more. 

Understanding consumer behavior requires hyper-personalization, which is achieved when you truly understand their motivations, needs and preferences behind their decision-making – otherwise known as behavioral science. 

Understanding motivations

Behavioral science can provide you with insights into what motivates customers to share their time, money or energy engaging with your business. With all three in scarce supply, this can be the difference between driving sales and long-term customer relationships versus disregarding your messages, or even worse, severing ties with your business altogether.  

While we consider ourselves rational and logical, emotions, external influences and past experiences often affect our decisions. Our actions are shaped by how we see things, what we like or need, our preferences and our personal situations. Understanding the underlying scientific principles shaping customer behavior is vital to creating interactions that motivate customers toward a desired action or outcome. 

The surprising psychology behind your purchase 

Now, let’s apply what we know about the importance of motivations bring it back to Oreos. Consider why you decided to purchase Oreos to begin with or what motivates you to pick them up while doing your regular groceries. Was it the packaging? Was it a coupon? Was it word-of-mouth? Let’s dive into a behavioral science example that highlights that there are many factors at play when you and your customers are making a decision. 

Let’s imagine you are looking through the weekly flyers and come across the following bundled grocery offers: 

  • Get $1.00 off total when you buy milk & Oreos 
  • Get $1.00 off milk when you buy milk & Oreos 
  • Get $1.00 off Oreos when you buy milk & Oreos 

Which one represents the greatest savings? Across the board the discount is the same, but is it in fact equal? The answer is yes, but not all would motivate you to purchase. It is likely that milk, which is often considered a necessity, and therefore was likely already on your list. While a discount on milk is always welcome, it would likely not motivate you to purchase Oreos.  

However, due to mental accounting, Oreos are categorized as a treat or extras bucket. The $1 off the Oreos can help offset the guilt of a treat, meaning that you’re more likely to buy the bundle with the dollar off the cookies over the milk or the combined bundle.

Bringing it together

Blending both a great product with understanding of what motivates consumers toward purchasing that product is what every business strives to deliver every day. By providing perceived value and meeting consumer expectations, you build trust and credibility, fostering long-term relationships. Additionally, a comprehensive understanding of your target buyer enables you to make informed decisions, refine your marketing strategies, and stay ahead of trends that affect your buyers. 

Surprisingly, there are several parallels between Oreos and your customer engagement strategy. Both emphasize finding the perfect balance between automation and human interaction, and deeply understanding your customers. So, take inspiration from this iconic treat and start crafting a customer engagement strategy that leaves a lasting impression on your customers’ hearts and minds. 


Download our 2022 consumer report, The Great Shift in Billpayer Behavior, to discover more about what’s driving consumer behaviors. Find out what support service providers can offer customers to overcome the impact of exhaustion and uncertainty, and to engage with them more effectively.