Customer Purchase Decision Process: How Information Plays a Vital Role!



Customers & Information Based Decision Making
Information plays critical role in purchase decision process; useful and relevant information from customer point of view can be a deciding factor between your brand and that of your competitor.

Majority of purchases involve information, information that customers utilizes to decide whether to buy a product or not and so providing useful, relevant information can help your brand to become the major brand when it comes to satisfaction of a certain need, solving a certain problem.


Now since human brain tends to forget or neglect information that is not relevant or useful to it unless a need arises or situation demands, that means a given product, service information only matters when a need for that product/service arises and so only then, a would be customer look for relevant useful information, remembers that information, ponder on it, make logical, rational conclusions on basis of it, consequently leading to a purchase or no purchase decision. 

Good Old Days of Mass Media

Now back in old days or early days of mass media, when communication technology wasn’t evolved much and when advertising clutter and information overload wasn’t immense, consumers used to look to the mass media and word of mouth whenever available to get the needed information about a product/service to make a purchase decision, to satisfy a need or solve a problem.

This has worked for some time, it still works (albeit for big brands check Familiarity Principle) but most of the small medium business owners have realized that it doesn’t deliver the kind of results it used to, the reason (according to research) is, due to availability of product information on ever increasing sources, mediums along with ever increasing advertising clutter have resulted in a consumer that is less attentive to traditional advertising [1][2][3].

Fact: Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision-Making found that giving people too much information causes them to “reach cognitive and information overload, which leads to poor decision-making and errors.

This means for most of small medium businesses it doesn’t matter what type or kind of information you provide via traditional mediums it will always have little to no affect on consumers or target market you are targeting.

The Advent of Smart Era!

That lack of attention to marketing on part of consumers has led to another phenomenon that is, whenever a need arises the consumer utilizes his/her smart gadgets to get relevant, useful information to make a purchase decision.

This is something all of us do all the time, whenever we need to get some form of certainty about a given situation in terms of information, we go to google (or social media) and look for information that answers our questions, satisfy our informational needs.

Why do we do that, well in my own subjective opinion it is because we tend to believe the internet provides useful, relevant information because there are authority sites, people on the internet who knows things better than us! information is fresh etc etc

Plus we connect with our social circles and explain our situation and ask for their recommendations or look for recommendations from “people” over the internet (eWOMM) to satisfy our informational needs consequently taking different decisions!

Some Facts related to Smart Era

Ubiquity of smart gadgets is immense and internet is available worldwide
  • Recent statistics indicate that the number of people going online is now close to 2 billion. [4]
  • Nearly two third of Americans uses smart phones [5]
  • Nearly 85% of Americans have personal computers. [6]
  • There are over 2 billion smart phone users worldwide. [7]
  • 80% population of the world has “mobile phones”. [8]

With passage of time and development of user friendly, cheap technology will convert most of the “mobile phone” users around the world in smart phone users consequently in smart consumers, it is just matter of time and technology.

Fact: According to a Google survey, 51 percent of smart phone owners have bought from a different company than they intended on the basis of information found online.

The Question!

Now the question is, if traditional advertising (information distribution) is not effective and consumers still look for information, then what kind of information do they look for ?

The answer isn’t simple one, but there are some clues to the type of information they look for, they look for eWOMM or electronic word of mouth marketing, they look for credible authorities who have no links to the brand, company, they prefer personal blogs over company blogs.

They prefer social media, their social media friends over company online CSR’s, chat basically they look for the same old honest WOMM, made possible by ubiquity of internet, smart phones and social media.

Impartial, unbiased WOMM is what they look for because they are sick of advertising, sick of company, brands hard selling so they want honest, reliable WOMM to satisfy their informational needs.

Here are some objective scientific facts that support my view!


  • A total of 70 percent of consumers have turned to social media properties for information about a product, brand or company, with 49 percent of these consumers using the information they gather to make a purchase (DEI Worldwide, 2008).[9]
  • Online information seekers claim that product and service information provided by other consumers through social media sites is more valuable than when this information is provided by marketers (Greene, 2009).[10]
  • If negative word-of-mouth is received from sources that are viewed as credible, it is likely to have a more significant influence on customers’ evaluations than information received from commercial sources [11].
  • According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Because friends don’t have personal interest in recommending a particular product, brand and thus their recommendation are perceived more credible [12].
  • Research shows that around 70% of internet users trust eWOMM [13].

That’s it over to you guys!


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References:

1.      McDonnell, F. (2005), “Integrating word of mouth marketing”, paper presented at the International Word-of-mouth Marketing Conference, 6-7 October, Hamburg, in Andres, N. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 1st International Word-of-Mouth Marketing Conference, Brand Science Institute, Hamburg, Germany.

2.      Nielsen (2007), “Trust in advertising, a global Nielsen consumer report”, October, available at: www.nielsen.com/solutions/TrustinAdvertisingOct07.pdf

3.      MacInnis, Deborah J., Christine Moorman, and Bernard J. Jaworski (1991), "Enhancing and Measuring Consumers Motivation, Opportunity, and Ability to Process Brand Information From Ads," Journal of Marketing, 4 (October), 32-53.

4. A typology of internet users based on comparative affective states: evidence from eight countries George Christodoulides and Nina Michaelidou

5.      http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/chapter-one-a-portrait-of-smartphone-ownership/

6.      http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/acs/acs-28.pdf

7.      http://www.emarketer.com/Article/2-Billion-Consumers-Worldwide-Smartphones-by-2016/1011694

8.      http://www.go-gulf.com/blog/smartphone/

9.      DEI Worldwide (2008), “Engaging consumers online: the impact of social media on purchasing behavior”, available at: http://deiworldwide.com/files/DEIStudy-Engaging%20ConsumersOnline-Summary.pdf (accessed 6 April 2011).

10.      Greene, M. (2009), “Justifying social marketing spending”, Forrester Report, available at: http://a964.g.akamaitech.net/7/964/714/d8ab5e007929d7/www.forrester.com/imagesV2/uplmisc/justifyingsocialmarketing.pdf (accessed June, 4, 2011).

11.  Richins, M.L. (1983a), “Negative word-of-mouth by dissatisfied consumers: a pilot study”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 68-78.

12.  Silverman, G. (1997), ‘‘How to harness the awesome power of word of mouth’’,Direct Marketing, Vol. 60 No. 7, pp. 32-7.

13.  Accenture (2010), “Global consumer survey: ‘Social media... dramatically accelerating the exchange of customer opinions’”, available at: www.accenture.com (accessed 20 November 2011)

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of www.easymarketinga2z.com and www.topexpertsa2z.com

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