Understanding your consumer decision making process is extremely valuable for all businesses. There are 5 important steps that a consumer makes before they decide upon purchasing a product or using a service. What goes on in their head? Understanding these processes will help with developing marketing strategies targeted to the consumer.
Okay, so why do people want to buy things? It’s because there is a problem, and they are looking for the solution to their problem. This is where the marketer can do several things to make their product or service more enticing to the consumer. If the problem is inactive, your job as a marketer is to make that problem active. Want an example of great marketing? Just look at how Steve Jobs came along with the iPhone. No one needed it, but he made sure that the iPhone was something that everyone needed to have. Think of this simple equation here:
Problem = Desired State – Current State
This part of the consumer’s decision making process is where they are looking for more information. They search for this either internally or externally. What’s the difference between the two? Internal search is what someone already knows, such as pre-existing knowledge of the product or from the consumer’s memory. An external search is as simple as the consumer going on Google to look for a product review or perhaps even video demonstrations on YouTube.
Evaluation of Alternatives
What other options does the consumer have available to them? Some things they will consider are effectiveness and cost. When you’re buying a new car, don’t you look into other choices you have between other brands? The consumer can make their choice based on attributes or attitudes. For example: “Oh wow, this new Ford has so many great features! Hmm…but if I get this BMW, it will make me look rich and important to all my friends.”
Purchase and Outlet Selection
At this fourth step, this is where the purchase finally happens. However, where will the consumer be buying your product or ordering your services? Will they go online or visit a physical retailer?
Post Purchase Evaluation
This final step is somewhere a lot of marketers just completely forget about. Are you following up with the customer after their purchase? It’s important to build a healthy long lasting relationship with your customers. This is why you can’t leave this last step out! What are you doing right now to find out if your customers are satisfied with their buying experience?
What Should Your Strategy Be?
Each step requires a different kind of strategy to get your business ahead of the competition. There are two main factors that you should consider when developing a marketing strategy for the consumer decision making process. Your brand is either in the evoked set, or not in the evoked set. In other words, is your brand already on the consumer’s mind when they’re about to make a purchase, or have they never even heard of your brand at all?
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