Sunday, June 19, 2011

Customer Purchase Decision Making Process Part 2

Another important factor we have identified in the customer purchase making process is the attitudes and dispositions they develop about your brand.

If there is a negative emotional judgment made about an aspect of your brand there are several ways you can change this to positively influence your prospects.

First is to focus on the authority figures who can influence your prospects attitude. Things such as Consumer magazines, celebrities, government and consumer advocacy groups can positively influence your prospect.

You also want to deconstruct the underlying reasons why a prospect is motivated to buy your brand and then analyze anything getting in the way of making a purchase.

You can also use the AIDA formula to help understand what psycho-emotional process your customer is going through.

AIDA stands for...


Generally these stages occur in order. First capturing your prospects attention, getting them interested in what you have to offer, building desire for your product, and finally getting them to take an action.

There are other behavior models for how a consumer may move to a purchase which you should consider when evaluating your marketing.

The Think-Feel-Do model is another process for how purchase decisions are made. The interesting thing about the TFD model is that it is not linear.

Customers may feel first, do, then think. Or feel, then think, then do. Which order a prospect takes is usually dependent upon the type of purchase;

For transactions with higher risk, or areas where the prospect has less confidence, they are more likely to take a think first approach.

With areas of a low perceived risk  or where the prospect holds more confidence, they are likely to follow feeling first.

For example you do not read the ingredients list and spend 5 minutes analyzing the merits of various soft drink brands. Instead you just go with what you feel like having.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

This is Maslows famous pyramid of psychological needs. We can define a need as something a person feels that they must have. The lower you go on the pyramid, the more powerful the desire is.

However in todays society the lower parts of the pyramid are generally able to be fulfilled very easily - so most marketing efforts are focused on the higher levels of the pyramid.

Which area do you think you could most effectively use to sell your products or services and strengthen your brand?

Customer Purchase Decision Making Process Part 1

There are many factors to consider which affect your customers decision making process.

In this series we will go in depth into how your customers make their purchase decisions - and how to influence them to choose your products over your competitiors.

So the question is, what affects consumer purchase decisions? One of the things we know that affects it is community. Your customers are a part of a larger social group.

The thoughts, ideas, and feelings of this larger group context have a powerful impact on what decisions your customer makes.

Marketing programs seek to connect their brands with a community of other brand advocates.

Organizations such as Ferrari have strong insular cultures where owners are friends with one another, belong to special clubs and receive brand messages both as a community and as individuals.

We have also found that influence from family and friends can have a powerful effect over a consumers decision making process. Publicity and word-of-mouth campaigns can be extremely effective at tipping a purchase decision in your favour.

We also see influencer's in the consumers life which can alter their attitudes towards a brand. This sphere of influence includes people personally involved in the consumers life and also public figures and authorities.

Its important to understand the people who are capable of influencing the decisions of your target market - then actively using those influencer's to help generate favorable opinions of your brand in your prospects.

You must also remember that prospects are influenced by those they do not want to be like.

Endorsements from a negative or undesirable source can hurt your brand reputation and negatively affect the decision to purchase.

Customer Reactions To Your Marketing

Understanding how & why your customer reacts to your marketing promotions is an invaluable asset for any company. In this post we will attempt to dissect this process to help you gain higher profits.

The first step is understanding your core audience, knowing who you are talking to and how they react to different messages.

Different prospects will respond to different marketing approaches, knowing what ways your prospect will react to different marketing messages is the role of a marketer.

Its also important to integrate this into customer retention. Using brand reminders to keep your brand at the top of your customers mind and increase the lifetime value of your customers.

Do not assume your customers will simply keep buying from you "just because." You must proactively maintain your brand in your customers mind if you are to keep their business.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brand Interaction

Any point that your customers interact with your brand is important. Every interaction adds to the customers perception of the brand.

There are also "key interactions" which have a very strong impact on customer loyalty. In your company you must identify the key interactions which take place that make or break your customer relationship. This could be order fulfillment, customer service, sales, etc.

Here is the criteria you can use to identify these points:

  1. 1-10 Impact on brand loyalty
  2. 1-10 Ability to influence the interaction
  3. 1-10 Cost to improve interaction
  4. 1-10 Ability to deliver positive brand messages
 You need to pay attention to several different areas of customer-brand interaction. These are

  • Company solicited interaction (such as advertisements)
  • Interactions required to make a purchase
  • Interactions with the brand outside of company control
  • Customer solicited interaction (for example customer service)
 Company solicited interaction is easy to control.

The interactions required to make a purchase are more difficult. They may involve third parties. What you should do for these interactions is map out all the stages a customer must go through from beginning to end to make a purchase.

Then analyze each of these interactions to evaluate what kind of brand messages are being sent. 

Find ways to innovate and differentiate yourself at these interactions. Use your brand message to develop more powerful ways of delivering value to your customers. 

Interactions outside of company control can involve word of mouth, bad press, etc. Good public relation management is the key to success in these interactions.

Brand Communication

In communication theory we have a 6 step model to refer to for how communication works

As you can see we have 6 steps outlined in this chart. The first stage is the source.


The source is the source of the message, the company or person behind what is being said.

One important key to how your customer recieves your communication is how trustworthy it percieves the source.

The more credibility and authority a source has in the customers mind, the more positively they will recieve the message.

The more your customers trust your brand the less skeptical they will be when recieving your messages and the easier it is to be judged favorably.

You want to provide proof and reasons why your company will fulfill all its promises.


The next step in our communication process is the message itself. A message is not just what you put in an advertisement or in your emails.

Messages are anything and everything that a customer sees as related to your brand. From the time it takes for the delivery company to how long your customer is on hold for at customer service.

You must constantly be on the alert for what types of messages are being sent by your organization. A failure to do so could result in far lower ROI. One negative message hurt hundreds of positive brand messages.

Pay attention to identifying messages being sent which are inconsistent with your brand. Everything a company does and even what it fails to do is a message, you must manage these messages to maintain a strong brand.

Also think about the types of messages which are being sent by the image and appearance of your product. Think about the message the imagery of the IPhone sends.

You also want to pay attention to the brand messages sent by the four P's of marketing:

Think about the message sent when you raise or lower the price of your product.

Price can be used to make your product stand out from the competition.

We have found that the lower the price of a product, the more average it is percieved by consumers.

Pricing must be integrated with your brnd messages. When trying to determine your pricing, keep in mind what kind of messages you are sending.

Furthermore we see differences in brand messages based off of where your product is displayed.

If you take a piece of art from the sidewalk, put it in a gold frame and place it in an expensive gallery - the same piece of artwork now has a dramatically different message its sending.

Keep in mind what you are associating your products with when you choose the place to show your products.


Finally remember that in your marketing promotions, it is not just what you say in the promotion - but the way you present that message that affects its perception.

Just as you can show the same piece of artwork in a high end gallery in a beautiful frame or on the sidewalk - so too can you display your messages in ways that strengthen or weaken your customers perception of your brand.

From which magazines you choose to put your ads in to the layout and design, everything will affect your brands overall message, not just the advertisement itself.

Next in our first drawing we have the channels. Which channel you choose affects the message. Putting your franchise offer in a small biz op magazine sends a different message than putting it in Forbes.

Remember you are associating your brand with whatever channel you use.

Next, lets talk about noise going on in the environment. All of your marketing messages are subjected to distractions and influences on your customer.

Its hard at times for your customers to maintain attention to your brand messages. They are being bombarded by messages. So under these circumstances its important to keep your brand messages very consistent and easy to remember.

Inconsistency, changing messages, or lack of clarity only confuses your reader and weakens brand messages.

You should also pay attention to what your competitors are saying right now, where, and how they are saying it.

Monitoring this will help keep you up-to-date on marketplace influences that could be changing your customers interpretation of your brand messages.


When considering how your reader will respond to your message, you must take their past experiences into account. Past experiences and evaluations make up for future evaluations.

Its important to understand your market and how they will recieve your message. Will they be open to it? Will they be skeptical? What frame of mind does your reader recieve your brand in?

Also how your message is recieved is influenced by what is going on with them in the moment. If they are thirsty, an ad for Coca Cola may get much more attention than if they just finished a meal.

One approach you can take to help ensure your message is understood clearly is through the use of the three T's.

Tell them something
Tell them what you told them
Tell them that you told them

What this basically means is you give your reciever the same message in multiple ways. This helps to reduce the confusion created in recieving an advertising message.

Another way marketers strengthen the force and clarity of their messages is through multiple channels and an integrated approach to marketing where all messages are consistently communicating the same idea.

This helps to get through to the prospect.

When crafting your messages, its helpful to apply the KISS rule. Keep It Simple, Salesman! You want to keep your messages, clear, simple, easy to remember, and persuasive to your target audience.

It is also important to ensure your message is setting clear expectations for what your reciever can expect from the product or service. Unrealistic expectations created the messages decoded by the reciever weakens brand relationships.

Tracking and managing customer perceptions is one of the most important keys to successful brand management.


Feedback is consumer and marketplace response. It tells us if the messages sent have been effective and if they have been recieved clearly.

When we see an increase in sales, and customer interaction, we see positive feedback for the brand. We also find delayed feedback where sales build over time as a result of brand awareness.

Its important to ensure your messages are being recieved clearly and that they are resulting in the desired responses from your target audience. This is the key to building successful marketing campaigns.

4 Ways To Raise Your Brands Value

There are four aspects you can focus on to increase the strength and ROI from your brand. These are:

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Percieved quality
  3. Association
  4. Customer Loyalty
 By paying attention to these four areas, and finding where your company is weakest in - you can raise the value and ROI you receive from branding.