Monday, March 25, 2013

Marketing 101: Purchase Decision

In my examination of the Buyer Decision Process I've explored the first three steps: Need Recognition, Information Search, and the Evaluation of Alternatives. Generally the completion of alternative evaluation will lead to our fourth step, the Purchase Decision.

The Purchase Decision
We can define the Purchase Decision simply as the consumer's choice of which brand to purchase.  Once the consumer forms their beliefs and attitudes about a product segment's brands, the consumer will usually purchase the most preferred brand.  Notice that I said usually.  Sometimes two factors can come between the purchase intention and the purchase decision: the attitudes of others, and unexpected situations.

Sometimes the attitudes of others can change our minds before the sales transaction. For example, someone in a family group or social group might think that you should get an Apple iPad instead of a comparable competitor's tablet device.  If this person is important enough in your life, they may exert enough "peer" pressure to cause you to suddenly alter your attitudes and beliefs, greatly reducing the chances of you buying another brand of tablet.

Your tablet purchasing decision may also be altered by our second factor: unexpected situations.  Consumers will usually form their purchase decisions based on factors such as their current income level, expected prices, and assumed product benefits.  However unexpected events often will change their original purchase intention.  Some examples of purchase altering situations are unexpected sales, competitors dropping their prices, a sudden economic downturn, or a sudden change in employment.

Marketers need to understand that their work is not done once a consumer reaches the point of making a purchase.  Because consumers can, and often will change their minds, consistent messaging needs to be placed in front of the consumer all the way up to the actual sales transaction.  Even then our job is not done.  In my next post I will explore Post-Purchase Behavior.


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