How To Influence Consumer Decision Making Process: Marketing Guide
In this blog, I’m going to tell you the marketing secrets which you can use to influence buying decisions of your consumers.
I remember when I first started marketing I went from reading books on marketing to human psychology and much more. Initially, it was super confusing and frustrating but then slowly over the period of time working with real people and companies got me to know what works and what not.
And this is no-nonsense guide, I’ll try to declutter all the mess and give you the best that I’ve learnt over the years.
The Topic Overview
To make you better understand the consumer decision process I’ll quickly get you through the following:
- What is Buyer’s Persona?
- Consumer Behavior
- What are the steps involved in the consumer decision-making journey?
And then we’ll try to understand various actions that we as marketers can take to Influence buying decisions through digital technologies and social media.
Understanding Consumer Decision Process:
What is meant by the buyer’s persona?
A buyer’s persona is a detailed exploration and description of your target customer and their life. This is not a real customer, but an imaginary person who has the characteristics of your best potential customers.
One of the best ways to get into the mind of your prospect is to temporarily become them by creating an avatar(buyer’s persona). Like a police sketch artist, you piece together a composite that creates a vivid picture of them in your mind. It helps tell their story so that you can visualize life from their perspective.
Customer persona includes a name, demographic details, interests, and behavioral traits. It can help you better understand their goals, pain points, and buying patterns.
On the basis of the buyer’s persona, we try to understand consumer behavior. It can generally be classified as the decisions and actions that affect the buying behavior of the consumer. What drives consumers to choose a specific product with regard to others depends on various factors such as likes, dislikes, priorities, morals, and values.
What are the steps involved in the consumer decision-making journey?
There are 5 steps involved in consumer decision making process: 1.Need Recognition 2.Information Search 3.Evaluation of alternatives 4.Purchase decision 5.After Purchase behaviour
1. Need/Problem Recognition (Awareness):
The buying process begins as soon as the consumer realizes a need. Needs may include basic needs such as food, water, clothing, and shelter or others such as the need for recreation, education, and entertainment. To better understand Human needs you can take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
2. Information Search (Research & Familiarity):
As soon as the customer recognizes a need/problem he starts searching for it’s solution:
Internal Search- Search for the information which is there in their mind.
External Search– Search for information availible on the internet, visit stores, ask their acquaintances, do trials etc.
3. Evaluation of Alternatives(Consideration)
Now that the consumer has done the research, it’s time to evaluate their choices and see if there are any promising alternatives.
4. Purchase Decision:
After evaluation of alternatives, a product/service which has got minimum risk and maximum benefit are considered and purchased. Moreover, customers want to have a seamless and easy purchase experience, If they face any difficulty in making the purchase they may delay their purchase decision.
5. Post Purchase Behavior(Loyalty):
After purchase consumer may either be satisfied or dissatisfied. If they are satisfied they may consider repeat purchases and become clients, they may also consider writing reviews and recommending them to other people (Advocate the Product).
Various actions that we can take to influence the buying decisions through social media and other digital channels :
We can influnece consumer’s decison at various steps mentioned in the consumer buying process:
At the Awareness stage, the consumer realizes his/her need, So at this stage, we can create a need for certain products/services in their minds by making them become aware of the solution to the problems which they may face in the future. Moreover, we can also make them become aware of possible problems that they may face and then provide them with solutions through our products and services. At this stage, we use paid media to create an influence.
At the Research stage consumer searches for a possible solution to their needs. At this stage, we can use keyword Marketing to get our product included in their consideration stage.
At Consideration stage consumer makes a choice among various alternatives, here influencers play a very important role, Influencer need not be a celebrity, studies show that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers (micro-influencers) in buying decisions. At this stage, we try to get reviews, comments, testimonials, and recommendations from other users or from influencers whom consumer thinks that they are people like me.
4.Purchase Decision Stage
At the Purchase Decision Stage consumer has already come up with the decision so we cannot influence them to choose our product over others but if they have decided to buy our product in that case we should provide them with a seamless and easy purchase experience so that they consider us for future purchases.
Loyalty Stage comes after purchase is done I,e we have already gained a consumer so in order to make them our repeat customers(clients) and to make them our advocates (promoting by word of mouth) we must take utmost care of “After-sale services through our support system”.
That’s how most successful companies influence the buying decisions of consumers through social media and other digital channels. The best part about using this approach is, It’s not just based on complex theories — It’s proven to work in the real world.
Now you have everything you need to get started with marketing on social media and other digital channels. Let me know how excited you are to get hands-on with it by leaving a quick comment below.