Does Your Marketing Use The Purchase Decision Chain Effectively?
When it comes to marketing it’s widely accepted that you need to know your prospective customers. You need to know who they are and how they think. You need to understand their problems and desires. This is marketing 101.
However, there’s a part of understanding your prospects that is often missed. And that’s found by asking a key question; Where are they in their decision-making process? Too often small businesses start their marketing by promoting their brand. The marketing is focused on setting them apart from competition, which is great, if your prospect is at the stage where they have already decided to buy and are deciding which brand they will purchase. If they are not at that stage, you won’t convert them to leads.
In his book E-Myth Mastery, Michael Gerber, explains that the purchase decision chain for prospects includes:
- Awareness – prospects begin to have a general awareness of facts.
- Purchase Motivation – they start to see the features and express that they need or want something different.
- Product Acceptance – prospects see that the product/service you offer will fulfill their needs/wants.
- Brand Preference – they see that your product/service is better than the competition.
- Purchase Transaction – prospects feel it’s easy to purchase.
- Customer Satisfaction – they feel their needs/wants have been met.
If all your marketing messages start at Brand Preference, you’re missing your market. You’re missing the prospects that haven’t yet decided that your product/service is what they need. It doesn’t matter how amazing your brand is, if your prospects are not motivated to buy or have not yet seen the link between how your product/service fulfills their needs/wants.
To be clear, you can - and should - build Brand Preference, as you work on purchase motivation. A marketing message will include multiple parts of the decision chain. But, too often, the Purchase Motivation and even Product Acceptance are skipped as the focus is building the brand.
A simple challenge is for you to look at the last five marketing pieces that you sent to prospects. Where on the decision chain did you start? Walk through each area of the purchase decision chain and take notes on your target market.
- What awareness would your target market have about your business or even products/services, before they saw this message?
- What is their Purchase Motivation? Why are they buying? What problem does it solve or what does it fulfill?
- What creates Product Acceptance? How clear is the connection between what the product/service does and what result they want to achieve?
- How are you creating Brand Preference?
You might notice that you’re skipping part of the purchase decision chain, which means you’re moving too fast for the prospects. You need to focus on where they are. This changes with markets. For instance, a customer that does business with you already may have more Purchase Motivation than a brand new client.
Once you’ve looked at your past marketing campaigns, this becomes a checklist for all of your marketing efforts. For each campaign, step through the purchase decision chain from your prospects’ point of view. If the Purchase Motivation isn’t clear, you need to back up and start the campaign from where your prospects are.