Better your business by understanding the buying cycle better…
Isn’t it every seller’s dream to get non-fussy customers who are also swift decision-makers – goes to the check-out page with the least hiccup. Alas, we wish selling could be such an easy proposition….On the other hand we have witnessed the rise of skeptical consumers as a powerful stakeholder in the selling process – where the success of a transaction is determined by the benefit-perception of the customer.
What areas of consumer behavior are vital for organizations?
- The consumer psychology of comparison – comparison between brands, products, retail chains and value perception.
- Understanding the mix of major influencers for the consumers – sociocultural values, family structure, media, peer affinity, social perception, societal identity, community recognition
- Behavioral pattern during shopping and while making other marketing decisions
- Major motivational blocks for an average customer in a particular demography
- Persona identification and isolation
Understanding the Buying cycle – mind you, the customer is wired.
21st century consumer is a critique, examiner, judge and broadcaster first – and then a buyer. He / She is wired to the product manufacturing and quality control process – has a firm grasp of the product / service market perception – and is well versed in the value analysis of every single penny that he / she spends. Well, that may suggest like selling is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, we can state that selling is not for the illogical…
A knowledgeable customer wants the best bang for the buck and goes to great lengths in search of a quality buy (very literally, we have this demonstrated every time Apple comes up a new version of iPhone – customers line up 24 hours before the iPhone hits the stores). When it comes to the online world, customers leave enough footprints during their search process – helping the marketers to understand the buying stage of the customer.
Keywords are the key – Deciphering the buying cycle
Time is of essence and modern day customers have an increasingly diminishing attention span – they arrive with a goal and conduct their search with an objective. The pattern of search does give us a glimpse of the customer’s buying stage…
[i] The inquiry / Curiosity stage: In simple terms, it is the browsing stage – with a very weak intent to buy.
Example: “Formal Shirts”
[ii] Research & Evaluation Stage: At this stage, the customer is highly interested in the product and service and seeks a better understanding through knowledgeable research.
Example: “Formal Cotton shirts”
[iii] Comparison & Inference Stage: At this stage, the customer is close to decision making and refines his search even more to narrow the selection field – making it even more suitable for a comparative analysis.
Example: “Discounted Formal Cotton shirts”
[iv]The Buying stage: This is the time for decision making. This is the culmination of a well planned conversion process.
Example: “Discounted Formal Greek Cotton shirts”
Buying Cycle vs Stick Shift
Most of us have driven a car sometimes in our lives or aspiring to do that. If money is not a constraint for us, then it is highly likely that an ‘Automatic’ transmission will find the favor – But, if we are driving with a budget or for the thrill of the driving control, then there is no escape from the ‘Manual transmission’ / Stick shift. The capacity to change gears provides the adequate checks and balances into our driving regime.
A knowledge of the ‘Buying cycle’ during the Search marketing campaigns (SEO / PPC) provides us the right insight for optimizing the conversion potential. It helps us to manage our bids, segment our keywords and point our marketing messages at the right set of customers.