Should Digital Marketing Be Implemented At Every Stage Of Customer Buying Decision?
Over the past decades marketers researched the consumer behavior when they’re purchasing a product or service, while trying to put a rule or structure of every stage of this buying process. However it’s really hard to draw this process due to the ever-changing nature of people’s behaviors over the years with the advent of technology and Internet.
Roughly speaking, there’re five stages the consumer went through before taking the purchasing decision.
- I have a need
- I’ll gather information about the best which fulfills this need
- Evaluating the offered options
- I’ll purchase this!
- My experience with the product/service after sale
This is the basic shape of the process that all of us experience when having to purchase a product/service. The question here is, do social media efforts impact the consumer through this? Which digital channel impacts any of the stages mentioned above?
Let’s discuss each stage of the buying process in details:
- I have a need. If there’s not a need, there’ll not be a purchase. The need is the gap between a man’s actual situation and the desired one. Once he felt that need, he keeps trying to satisfy this, however not all needs end up on a buying behavior.
And here comes the impact of the internal and external stimuli. The power of internal stimuli is determined based on how complex the need is whether it’s physiological, safety, love, self-esteem or self-actualization according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Role of Digital Efforts: The role of digital marketing here comes as the external stimuli that urges the consumer to satisfy this need and buy the product or just consider it as their way to fill this gap. This happens through consistent content marketing strategy, digital advertising campaigns and social media updates work to boost peoples’ awareness of the product and take them to the next stage, information gathering.
- Information Gathering. This stage highlights that the consumer has just considered fulfilling the need by buying a product. This is based also on customer experience with this product before and it takes less time especially if he/she purchased the product before. The external information sources are mainly from family and friends and seeking product reviews.
Role of Digital Efforts: In this stage the consumer is not ready to get his information from a direct advertisement, in case he’s the first time to purchase this product, since he’s better seeking other trusted people opinions. So, blogging outreach campaign, where the brand is building relationships with industry bloggers and sustain this connection. This campaign is intended to direct all bloggers to talk about the product. People trust bloggers and their product reviews are trustworthy to them.
- Choosing the best option that fulfills the need
As mentioned above this involves the previous experience of a product or it’s left to the customer based on two aspects; objective (Product features and functionality) or subjective (his/her perception of the product and its reputation)
Role of Digital Efforts
– In this stage, marketers might offer the customer with trial versions of the product for free, blog posts by product development team reviewing the product or some informative video content explains the benefits provided by the product. Then, drives them to a landing page where they can be converted.
– On the other hand, some consumer in this stage has a previous experience (May be with the CS team) so it’s recommended to take care of the post purchase behavior as it largely affects the second purchase.
- Post Purchase Behavior
This stage is the last but never been the least, but it’s much important since it sustains the loyalty of the consumer once the brand was keeping up with a good customer experience or it could cause a bad impression to the customer if he/she’s gone through a bad experience even with your call center agent.
Role of Digital Efforts: Digital here plays an important role in building communities for the current consumers where they can get a great customer service. The main target, besides the CS platform, is to build a base of brand advocates who’re supposed to speak on behalf of the brand and help other customers in other stages (I have a need – Collecting data) to consider the product as a potential purchase.
Buying process is a complex structure of stages where the today’s customer can enter this at any stage. Every successful marketer has to be ready with the adequate plans, content and tools to easily convert that user into a customer. The one and only tip for marketers who feel that their digital efforts can’t create the need or even stand out their products from the competition, you’re totally wrong. Digital and Social efforts definitely can work towards creating this need or at least get the brand among the first options offered to the potential customer.
- Keep your social updates conversational
- Use Remarketing strategy across Social and Google Advertising.
- Be engaging with your fans to build trust they need when making their minds
It’s now your turn, drop your comment below and tell us what do you think of the above stages and add to this story