NEW YORK: Creating customer "excitement", rather than maintaining "satisfaction", should be the key aim for marketers, McKinsey has suggested.

In a new report, the consultancy claimed satisfaction is useful for retaining consumers already loyal to a product or service, but that excitement is needed to attract new customers or encourage shoppers to pay a premium.

The study defined consumer excitement as "the feeling of experiencing something unexpectedly positive".

"Companies that want to acquire customers for the long haul must surprise, thrill, and captivate them," it added.

"Customer excitement creates immediate value because it gets customers talking about products and increases their willingness to buy and pay higher prices ... marketing experts need to understand and channel these supposedly random occurrences and set up a process for systematically producing excitement."

McKinsey claimed that selecting the correct market research techniques is a crucial part of this strategy.

For example, customer sentiment might not be most usefully gauged by gathering as much data as possible and then looking for average responses.

"Customer excitement ... always occurs at outlier points and is not found in standard quantitative measurements," the report stated.

"It is therefore recommended to use new techniques and metrics that enable the tracking and assessing of emotions, such as capturing sentiments in social networks."

Case studies cited by McKinsey as evidence for this view included that of Fiat, which successfully launched its Fiat 500 model in 2007 through a "big bang" campaign which resulted in a "huge wave" of customer excitement.

As a result, the Italian carmaker was able to charge as much as 30% more for the Fiat 500 than rivals in the same category.

Tipp-Ex was also praised for creating "wow effects" thanks to its viral "A hunter shoots a bear" video, spread via YouTube.

The spot generated 10m hits soon after launch and "massive" word of mouth on social media platforms, blogs and online forums.

Data sourced from McKinsey; additional content by Warc staff