Addressing the Complexity of Consumer Purchases
Many digital marketers will cite specific factors when taking about the buying process of a consumer. Variables such as age, location, gender and even income level come into play. There is no doubt that all of these concerns are very important, but are we missing something? To put it another way, what happens if you have identified all of these factors and your sales are still slumping? Assuming that you have not tried to market the chocolate tea kettle, the chances are high that you might still be failing to appreciate one key factor that is frequently overlooked. Namely, that the decision-making process of consumers can be broken down into three category (1). These are:
• Products that extensively solve a problem.
• Products that provide limited means to solve a problem.
• Everyday purchases (such as food and consumer goods with a limited lifespan).
Let's take a look at how these behaviors can affect the ways that a product is viewed.
The Mentality of the Buyer
A student who has just graduated from college is not likely to choose a product or service that extensively solves a problem (such as an expensive vacuum cleaner). Instead, he or she will normally be much more concerned with limited problem-solving products such as the cheapest type of pasta or whether it is better to choose powdered or liquid laundry detergent.
In the same respect, the mother of a newborn baby will tend to be looking for products that extensively solve problems as opposed to cheaper alternatives which may be of lower quality.
Finally, consumer goods such as cereal, socks and other “normal” items are not likely to be extensively analyzed for their ability to solve problems. There is very little thought involved during a purchase.
How Does This All Fit Into Digital Marketing?
Although this may appear to be common sense, you might be asking how these observations fit into the world of digital marketing. Even though these theories were written long before the age of the Internet, their principles in terms of buyer behavior are just as relevant. The fact of the matter is that whether a consumer realizes it or not, they are constantly making choices throughout the buying process. These choices are based upon how the product in question is PERCIEVED to help them. So, it makes sense that businesses which promote the problem-solving benefits of a product are more likely to enjoy greater success. To put it another way, consumers simply want to be confident that they are making the best choices possible (2). While this may not be as relevant when referring to buying a pair of socks, this concept is very important when speaking of email automation software or a website design service!
Clear and concise information is the best way to point out the benefits of a certain product. This could be a simple phrase, a mission statement or very literally stating with the item is intended to accomplish. Here are three examples:
1. Burger King: Have it Your Way
2. Johnny Walker: Joy Will Take You Further
3. Coca-Cola: I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke
In each of these phrases, the consumer is not only being told what the product delivers, but they also induce action. In turn, the buying process is simplified to an extent. This targets the very real human relationship between consumer and product.
You might have noticed that some of these strategies (such as the one produced by Coca-Cola) existed decades ago. Still, the principles are just the same in the world of digital marketing. Knowing how a product or service can solve a problem is the key to secure sales within your customer base.