Does your marketing efforts make it easier for your customers to choose you?

Your marketing efforts MUST make the decision to choose you, easy and undeniable. This core principle anchors the way we, at Marketing Broker Australia, develop websites, and design marketing campaigns. So, let us explore how customers make decisions. The buying decision can range from habitual to complex. Habitual or low involvement decisions is when the consumer recognises a need ‘I’m thirsty’ and automatically buy their drink of choice. Complex or extended decisions is when the consumers devote considerable time and effort into seeking information and evaluating alternatives before making their purchase decision. They are often more expensive and can carry more risk. For example, they are buying a new computer or a new car. In between these two extremes are limited problem-solving decisions where consumers devote some energy to considering alternatives. Still, not a lot, perhaps choosing a new grocery item when the habitual thing is out of stock or buying a new pair of shoes.

Stages in the customer decision making process

As alluded to above consumers can go through a variety of stages in their decision-making process. Extended or complex decisions go through five stages as follows:

  1. Need recognition – a need or problem is recognised (a difference between desired and actual state) as result of arousal from internal and/or external stimuli, causing the consumer to be motivated to solve that problem or meet that need.
  2. Information search – the consumer searches for information on products that might solve their problem or meet their need. Information search may range from heightened attention to active search across various personal, commercial, public, or experiential sources. The information search results in a set of brands to be considered (known as the consideration set).
  3. Evaluation of alternatives – the consumer evaluates the brands within their consideration set, in terms of whether they will deliver desired benefits and the extent to which they have and will perform well on the required attributes to provide those benefits. The marketing organisation can seek to influence the beliefs and attitudes of consumers to generate greater interest in their brand.
  4. Purchase decision – the consumer, decides whether or not to purchase, and if to purchase, which brand and dealer to select. Purchase intentions do not necessarily translate into actual purchase due to intervening factors such as the attitude of others and unanticipated situational factors. Perceived risk (including functional, physical, financial, social, and psychological risks) can also result in changes to purchase intentions.
  5. Post-purchase behaviour – once the purchase has been made, the consumer will determine the extent to which the product performs to expectations resulting in some level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. In some cases, the consumer may experience doubt that they made the correct choice – known as cognitive dissonance (thinking disharmony). Post-purchase actions include word of mouth (either positive or negative) and repurchase decisions (whether to purchase again or not). Marketers should also understand how consumers use and dispose of their products.

Not every buying decision involves such a carefully considered process. When consumers are making a simple buying decision such as purchasing toothpaste or bread, they typically follow a less extensive or low involvement decision-making process. Regardless of how simple or complex the decision is, customers will naturally follow the same journey to make the decision.

If you found this article helpful, you might find our blog on the customer journey helpful, you can view it here.

If you are interested in having a website designed, taking into consideration how customers make decisions, check out our offers here.

Adapted From: Kotler et al., 2017, Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital.