Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video Analyzing the buying process, part of Marketing Foundations.
- Customers follow a distinct set of steps when buying anything. That process may take a matter of seconds, such as an impulse purchase at a store, or it may take a matter of months, such as the purchase of a new home or a car. Typically though these steps are as follows: First is the Need Recognition phase. This is where customers realize that they want something. That can be triggered internally, for example if a customer is thirsty that will trigger a need for some type of beverage.
But it can also be triggered externally through advertising or other stimuli. If a customer sees a TV commercial for a cold soft drink or perhaps sees a group of people drinking it, those could stimulate the customer to want that same drink. The Need Recognition step is very important because without it there won't be a sale. The next step is Information Search. Once customers feel a need to have something, they start gathering information about solutions for that need.
They get information from a wide variety of sources including commercial advertising, Internet search, while shopping in a store, and most importantly from other customers. This is a critical step because this is where a customer is most receptive to your marketing message. Once a customer gathers information they go to the next step, which is to evaluate the alternatives. Customers make choices based on two things, what features are most important and which brand does the best job in delivering those benefits? Customers will make head-to-head comparisons between your product and the competition, so it's critical that you give them a complete picture of how your product will best satisfy their needs.
Eventually the customer will narrow their choices down to one brand, and they'll go to the next step, the Purchase phase. Buying a product may take a matter of seconds, such as buying a soft drink at a vending machine, or it could take months that might involve negotiations, financing, training, maybe installation. Complex, expensive products usually take a lot longer to buy than your everyday consumer good that you'd find in a grocery store. Now you might think that the buying process ends here with the final purchase, but there's one last step.
It's called the Post-Purchase Behavior phase. Once customers start using the product or service, they compare the results with their expectations. Did the product work as expected? How did the product make them feel when they used it? This phase is also critical because customers will share their experiences, good or bad, with other customers. And with the way information spreads through social media that can be really helpful or hurtful to your marketing campaign.
Something else happens at this phase that a marketer needs to be aware of. It's called Buyer's Remorse. Customers might start having second thoughts on whether it was a good idea to buy the product. They start to wonder, "Gee, did I pay too much? "Did I really need this product? "Was there a better alternative out there "that I should have bought instead?" Marketers need to weigh in at this phase and remind the customer that they made a great choice. You can do that with advertising.
For example, many of the car commercials you see on TV are directed at the people who already bought that specific model. These commercials let the customer see what they look like to others when driving the car so they feel they made a smart decision to buy that model. But you don't need expensive TV commercials to do this. Post-Purchase follow up could be as simple as a phone call or perhaps an email to your customer. Either way you don't want to just assume your customer is satisfied.
Reach out and find out. Great marketers know they have a role to play in each step of the Customer-Buying process. They know where these steps take place, when they take place and whose involved. With these insights you're ready to develop an outstanding marketing strategy.
You'll also learn to address tactical challenges and present the plan to get buy-in throughout an organization, from the C-suite to the sales team, as well as use the marketing plan to guide outside agencies and vendors. Finally, you'll learn how to launch the campaign and measure its performance.
- Marketing in an organization
- Assembling the team
- Creating the marketing plan
- Analyzing your products, customers, and market
- Segmenting customers
- Creating a value proposition
- Developing a strategy
- Setting goals
- Setting prices
- Using social media
- Presenting your plan to leadership
- Budgeting your plan
- Measuring success