I read this article Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places by David Edelman recently and found it very interesting. It talks about how marketers spent all of their budget on wrong places and fail to achieve their marketing goals.
There are four stages of consumers’ purchasing behaviors:
Consider: consumers browse and come up with brands for a certain product in their mind
Evaluate: they research details of the product, look for reviews, recommendations and comparison info, and usually have more brands added in their mind as they research more
Buy: they take actions on purchasing
Enjoy, Advocate, Bond: they write reviews, look for how-to-guides for the products they purchased, and continue to follow & interact with this brand
Marketers often pay attention and spend most of the budget on the stage of consider by running tons of online and offline ads to increase visibility of their products and draw customers’ attention; they also spend most of the money on the stage of buy by having tons of retail promos, like offering coupons, discounts, and many other various deals.
However, they forget about the stage of evaluate and enjoy, advocate, bond. In fact, many consumers already have your brand in their mind, they are probably very familiar with it already. But they still didn’t choose it because they found bad reviews of your products online or from their friends. Moreover, you can also lose potential customers while your old customers write about their bad experience during the stage of enjoy, advocate, bond.
Now it’s alert that marketers should put more effort on the stage of evaluate and enjoy, advocate, bond. You should not only focus on putting tons of fancy ads on paid media, but also try to own media (like websites or blogs you run), and earn media (maintaining a good reputation in customer-created channels, like online communities).
From my personal experience as a customer, I like to research reviews, rating and ranking of products, especially for cosmetics, education programs, and etc. Also, I like to divide products as experience products and value products:
Experience products are those that bring me a one-time or short-term experience, like food. I wouldn’t know how it tastes until I try it even if I read other customers’ reviews. So I pay for the TRYING experience.
Value products are those that bring me a long-term experience and I will only pay for the VALUE because I don’t want to waste time and risk money for just trying it, like an education program.
Therefore, for those who sells value products, you should really pay attention on the reviews of your products because customers will not buy them until they really trust the value in them. Also, getting your products outstanding in the market will require you to have good marketing strategy in positioning and differentiating your products with competing products. To have a better understanding of what your customers research before they make purchasing decisions and how to reach them at the exact right moment & location, I strongly recommend you to browse ThinkwithGoogle daily especially read the Micro-Moments and Consumer Trends sections. You can also use Google Trends to see what people are searching nowadays.
On the other hand, I am not encouraging marketers to ignore the stage of consider and buy. Repeated marketing could be annoying for customers sometimes, but research shows that a familiar brand name has an incredibly strong influence on customers’ purchasing decisions and they are much more likely to choose a product under a familiar brand over an unfamiliar brand.
All in all, what I am emphasizing here is that marketers should deliver an integrated experience for customers, rather than only focusing on one stage over other stages of the consumer purchasing behaviors.