What is Consumer Psychology?

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Why is Consumer Psychology Important?

Most of you will have worked with customers or clients in some capacity. You may have had the opportunity to act as a representative for your company, agency, institution, or organization. Perhaps you’ve been in charge of prospecting new business or working on existing accounts. If so, then you are familiar with psychology as it applies to marketing and sales.

What Is Consumer Psychology?

Marketing psychology is the study of how consumers make purchasing decisions. In order to understand it, you first have to examine the consumer decision-making process itself as well as the different psychological factors that influence it. This article will review these topics so you can apply this information when selling and marketing.

Before you can fully understand consumer psychology, you must first be familiar with the stages that comprise the consumer decision-making process. Understanding this will help you when selling and marketing to customers or clients because it gives you a clearer picture of how they make decisions.

Consumer Psychology

The Consumer Decision Making Process

In order to go through with any purchase, a consumer must go through five distinct stages. These stages are:

  • Awareness. In this stage, the consumer becomes aware of a need or condition for which he/she is seeking to find a solution. This can be anything from needing new tires for his vehicle to wanting a faster and more efficient way to cook eggs in the morning. In order for the consumer to be aware of this, he/she must first receive information about it. This may happen via print, television, radio, internet or some other form of media. He or she is left with a general feeling that there is something missing in his/her life and that perhaps there’s something out there (your product) that can fix it.
  • Consideration. In this stage, the consumer begins to evaluate various choices for solving his/her problem or addressing his need which he now knows exists (i.e., a new brand of tires). This is where he or she will decide what product will work best and compare your product with others on the market (if there are any comparable products).
  • Evaluation. In this stage, the consumer decides which product he or she wants to purchase and does some research on it (i.e., reading reviews or calling other companies that offer similar products for more information on your product). He then makes a decision as to whether he is going to buy the product (i.e., place an order).
  • Purchase. In this stage, the consumer purchases the product he or she has selected and receives it.
  • Use. Finally, in this stage, the consumer uses and enjoys his/her purchase (or not). This may also include using a service to solve his problem or addressing his need. So if you’re selling widgets, the consumer is using or enjoying your product rather than throwing it away because he’s not satisfied with what he received.

Consumer Behavior

The Consumer Decision-Making Approach

Consumer decision-making may appear to be a very linear process (as outlined above) but in reality, consumers do not go through these stages in a linear manner or in an exact order.

In reality, the consumer decision-making process is part of larger approach that consists of six decisions:

1. Problems/Needs. At this stage, consumers become aware of certain needs and problems that they are facing (i.e., the need to fix their roof before it starts leaking).

2. Information Search. After a problem or need has been identified, the consumer will start searching for information related to it (i.e., how to find reputable roofing contractors in their area).

3. Evaluation/Evaluative Criteria. During this stage, consumers compare various products that can address their need or solve their problem. They will also evaluate each option based on certain criteria such as price, quality and customer service (or some other factor important to them).

4. Purchase/Choice of Product. At this stage, consumers make a decision as to which product they want to purchase in order to address their need or solve their problem. The consumer’s decision may be based on price, quality of the product or customer service.

5. Post-Purchase Behavior/Post-decision Process. This stage involves how consumers feel about their purchase once it has been made and their after they have purchased the product. Did they make a good choice? Are they happy with the product itself? Would they consider purchasing another product from the same company in the future?

6. Alternative Purchase. During this stage, consumers consider switching brands or choose to purchase an alternative product altogether (if one exists). They may decide to repeat their original purchase decision a second time and buy the exact same product again, create a new need for a different product or evaluate their original purchase.

By considering the stages outlined above, your marketing plan can be set up in such a way that effectively targets the consumer at each stage of his decision-making approach. When you’re thinking about how to structure your online marketing campaign, you need to consider what type of information you should provide and how it should be structured.

Information at Each Stage of the Consumer Decision-Making Approach

However, you want to be careful when you present information that consumers may use during their evaluation and purchasing stages because this could result in a negative reaction to your site. For example, if he’s comparing products online and finds out yours is slightly more expensive than all of the others, he might lose interest in your product and move on to the next one.

In order to avoid this type of reaction, there are some guidelines you can follow about how information should be presented at each stage of the consumer decision-making approach:

Problem Awareness Stage. Consumers should not be exposed to too much information that can overwhelm them at this stage. Instead, you need to offer them just enough information to get their interest and make them want to learn more about your product/service.

Information Search Stage. This is when the consumer will start searching for information that he can use to evaluate different products or companies that might be offering the solution he’s looking for. In turn, this means that you need to provide enough information on your site in order to help guide the consumer through his evaluation process.

Evaluation Stage. This is when consumers are going to be looking for reviews from other customers and are interested in finding out what other people think about the product or company they’ve discovered. In addition, they’ll want to see what other companies are offering similar products or services.

Purchase Stage. During this stage, the consumer will be looking for information that will help him make a decision about which product he wants to purchase. (i.e., is it better than other options?)

Post-Purchase Stage. This is when the consumer will want information that can help him better understand how to use the product or service he purchased and/or provide additional support.

Of course, these are only guidelines – not hard and fast rules. So when you’re thinking about how to structure your online marketing campaign, feel free to consider all of the above-mentioned factors.

There are no right or wrong answers when you’re developing your marketing plan.

Consumer Psychology and Consumer Behavior

Preparing a Marketing Plan for Your Online Business

Now that we’ve discussed the different stages involved in the consumer decision-making approach, let’s take a look at how you can put this information to use. Specifically, let’s explore how to prepare an online marketing plan for your business. As you’re going through this process, remember that there are no right or wrong answers – it’s really about what works best for your business and its customers.

So, how can the consumer decision-making approach be used to create an effective strategy? Remember when we discussed segmenting your audience in the previous chapter? Well, these segments can be used to guide your marketing plan. Here’s what you need to know about each stage in the consumer decision-making approach along with some of the different segments that you might want to take into consideration:

Problem awareness stage. In order to target consumers who are at this stage, you need to make sure they are aware of the problem that your product or service can solve. For example, if you’re selling home security equipment, then you need to figure out a way to get your target market focused on the idea of home security and show them they have a problem with no measures in place for protection.

Information search stage. If you want to target consumers during this stage, you need to make sure you’re the one that they remember when they start looking for information about your product/service. In addition, if they have a positive experience with your company while searching for information (i.e., it’s easy to find information on the web site), then there is a good chance that these consumers will consider you when they start evaluating other companies.

Evaluation stage. During this stage, you need to make sure the consumers remember your company/product and can easily find information about how it measures up against similar offerings on the market. For example, if you’re selling a weight loss product that is part of a larger system, then you need to make sure your target audience remembers that fact and can easily find information about the rest of the system on your site.

Purchase stage. Now is when you want to make sure that people remember who you are. In addition, consumers will be looking for additional support about how to use your product or service as well as give them reasons why they should purchase from you and not your competition.

Post-Purchase stage. Again, consumers are going to be looking for additional support to make sure that the product/service works as advertised (or at least have a good idea of how it’s supposed to work) as well as find out ways in which they can get help if something goes wrong with their purchase.

Notice how the consumer decision-making approach helps guide your marketing plan? It’s not only a great way to segment your target audience, but it also keeps you focused on delivering value during every step of the strategy.

Marketing psychology

Now that we’ve discussed some ways in which you can use the consumer decision making approach in your marketing plan, let’s take a look at some of the different steps you’ll need to follow once you’ve started putting things together:

Set Your Marketing Objective

Your marketing objective should be based on what you want your target audience to think, feel and/or do after they interact with your company (i.e., is it lead generation, brand awareness, customer retention or something else?). Before you can write your marketing objective, however, you need to do some research and figure out the following:

  • What resources are available to accomplish your objectives?
  • How much time and money will be needed to get these objectives accomplished?
  • What kind of a ROI will you get once the objectives are accomplished?

After you’ve answered these questions, then you’re ready to write your marketing objective. Be sure to always tie it back to your target audience in some way so that it is clear what their behavior should be after interacting with your company:

Create Your Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve set your marketing objective, you can begin putting together a marketing strategy that will help you accomplish it. Your strategy should be built around the consumer decision-making approach and come with action items for developing messages, finding opportunities to reach out to consumers based on their stage in the process, in addition to outlining how to connect with consumers and deliver value.

Remember that your marketing strategy should be a living document, so you need to revisit it periodically and adjust it based on changes in the marketplace or as you learn more about your target audience.

Here are some things that you want to make sure are covered in your strategy:

  • If appropriate for the decision-making process, you need to explain the benefits of your product or service as well as any guarantees that your company is willing to make. If you don’t have a guarantee, then you need to be honest with consumers and let them know how they can check out your offering before buying.
  • Who are the important people in your organization who will be responsible for communicating with the target audience? You don’t want to overlook this step because, in addition to identifying who is responsible for communicating with consumers, you also need to make sure there is a way for consumers to get in touch with those people if they have questions or concerns.
  • What’s your marketing budget and what resources will be needed to accomplish your objectives? This should be a pretty straightforward step, but it’s important to include in your plan so that you don’t go over budget or run out of resources (like flyer paper, for example).
  • How will you know if the marketing strategy is successful? You need to come up with at least some basic metrics to measure how well you’re doing, and you should include them in your marketing strategy.

Be sure to update your marketing strategy after the first round of marketing efforts are complete, so that you can assess how well they did. This will help inform any changes that need to be made for future rounds of marketing activities.

Create Your Marketing Communications Plan

Your marketing communications plan will include a number of different elements that are needed in order to accomplish your objectives. This includes both the messages you’ll communicate to consumers and the channel(s) through which you send them.

Depending on what kind of marketing communications strategy your company typically uses, it may end up being pretty straightforward or quite complex. It will also depend on how complex your product or service is. For example, a company with a complicated offering like a smartphone may need to include more information about the product/service and the technology behind it than they would if their offering was as simple as a candy bar.

Once you’ve got your information together, it’s time to put them into some kind of order so that all the different pieces of content work together. This way, you’re delivering a consistent message and not leaving out anything important. Here are a few tips for putting your marketing communications content together:

  • Don’t make your target audience work too hard to figure out what you’re trying to tell them. You want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to take the next step in the decision-making process.
  • Put the most important pieces of information first and then wrap up with any updates or changes. Don’t leave out anything important. It’s better to provide a little too much information than too little, but don’t give consumers so much information that they tune you out.
  • When possible, use pictures wherever the words will do the job just as well. This isn’t always the case in marketing materials, but when it is it can be a great time saver.
  • Keep everything on one page whenever possible so that consumers aren’t overwhelmed by different messages on multiple pages. When there is more information than can be kept in a single page, consider adding tabs or buttons to help guide your readers through what you’re trying to say. Keep the number of pages and tabs as low as possible.
  • Design your document so that it looks good, and be sure to include any branding elements you use in other marketing materials. You have a lot of information to convey, but this doesn’t mean that you can forget about aesthetics.

Create Your Sales Support Materials

If your company is like most others, chances are pretty good that you’ve got salespeople selling your products or services. At a minimum, these people need to be trained on how to answer common questions about your offering and what value it provides the consumer.

Sales training can take many forms, including:

  • sales kits – this might include information sheets and brochures for consumers (e.g., about your product or service)
  • sales kits – this might include information sheets and brochures for consumers (e.g., about your product or service) training documents – these are usually prepared with the assistance of salespeople, so they can learn more about the subjects they’re selling to customers
  • training documents – these are usually prepared with the assistance of salespeople, so they can learn more about the subjects they’re selling to customers mock-ups – these are usually brochures that include pictures and descriptions of your product or service
  • mock-ups – these are usually brochures that include pictures and descriptions of your product or service case studies – these are helpful for showing how consumers have benefited from your product or service
  • case studies – these are helpful for showing how consumers have benefited from your product or service sales scripts – this is where the salesperson has written out their pitch to give to customers. Again, this document will be created with the help of people who do actual sales calls so that it’s more accurate and realistic.

When you’re putting together your sales support materials, be sure to:

  • include information about how consumers will use and benefit from your product or service
  • include information about how consumers will use and benefit from your product or service identify all the benefits of using what you have to offer (e.g., time savings, money savings, increased productivity)
  • identify all the benefits of using what you have to offer (e.g., time savings, money savings, increased productivity) include photos that represent your product or service (if they’re available)
  • include photos that represent your product or service (if they’re available) make sure that you only talk about things that the consumers are likely to complain about (things like pricing, shipping time)
  • make sure that you only talk about things that the consumers are likely to complain about (things like pricing, shipping time) include a short section on what to do if there is any issue with your product or service – how will it be handled? How long will the process take?
  • include a short section on what to do if there is any issue with your product or service – how will it be handled? How long will the process take? include a brief testimonial from someone you’ve helped in this way, with their permission, of course.

Create Your Field Sales Materials

Sales materials aren’t just for your salespeople, of course. For example, if you have a new product or service and you’re trying to build some demand – perhaps in anticipation of an official launch that will take place at a specific time and date – then you might want to consider putting together some direct mail pieces.

These could be one-page flyers, brochures or anything else that might give people an idea of what you’re doing and how they can take advantage of it. These pieces often include:

  • a call to action – This is where you briefly tell your customer what you want them to do next. For example, if you’re running a contest for a special product, then you’ll want to tell your customers how they can enter. If you’re asking them to visit a special website and sign up for more information, that’s the call to action.
  • a call to action – This is where you briefly tell your customer what you want them to do next. For example, if you’re running a contest for a special product, then you’ll want to tell your customers how they can enter. If you’re asking them to visit a special website and sign up for more information, that’s the call to action. your logo
  • your logo testimonials – these are great because they show potential buyers what others think of you and/or your product or service
  • testimonials – these are great because they show potential buyers what others think of you and/or your product or service a lead capture system. This is where you offer up something for free, like a coupon or some other kind of incentive that will prompt people to take action and provide their contact information in exchange.

If you want your sales materials to be successful, consider these tips:

  • Create a design that’s simple and easy to read – nothing fancy because you’re not writing an article.
  • Create a design that’s simple and easy to read – nothing fancy because you’re not writing an article. Keep things relevant – if your goal is to get people to download a whitepaper about the topic, then that’s what you should talk about.
  • Keep things relevant – if your goal is to get people to download a whitepaper about the topic, then that’s what you should talk about. Keep it short and sweet – not everyone is going to read it right away so you only have one chance to catch their attention.
  • Keep it short and sweet – not everyone is going to read it right away so you only have one chance to catch their attention. Include a call to action – Make sure that you make it clear what your customer needs to do next if they want more information or whatever else might be on your agenda.
  • Include a call to action – Make sure that you make it clear what your customer needs to do next if they want more information or whatever else might be on your agenda. Keep it simple and direct – Don’t try to get fancy with too much hype, jargon or high-pressure sales tactics. If you want someone to act, make it easy for them to do so.
  • Keep it simple and direct – Don’t try to get fancy with too much hype, jargon or high-pressure sales tactics. If you want someone to act, make it easy for them to do so. Be consistent – the reason that direct mail pieces are effective is because they’re delivered in a very consistent way. If you’re going to send letters, make sure you also have a follow-up plan in place that will allow your campaign to deliver the results you want.
  • Be consistent – the reason that direct mail pieces are effective is because they’re delivered in a very consistent way. If you’re going to send letters, make sure you also have a follow-up plan in place that will allow your campaign to deliver the results you want. Don’t be too pushy – if your customer has said no once, then don’t keep pushing it on them. You’ll just frustrate them and ruin any chance of doing future business together.
  • Don’t be too pushy – if your customer has said no once, then don’t keep pushing it on them. You’ll just frustrate them and ruin any chance of doing future business together. Include a call to action in every piece of communication you send out – whether it’s an email or a letter. Tell people what you want from them and make things as easy as possible for them to take that next step.
  • Include a call to action in every piece of communication you send out – whether it’s an email or a letter. Tell people what you want from them and make things as easy as possible for them to take that next step. Whether you’re selling products, services or both, there are some things you should never mix – people get really confused when you’re trying to sell them two different things at the same time. You want your customers to know that they can trust you, so don’t add in anything that will cause doubt or mistrust.

 

What is consumer psychology

The best way to track results is through a good lead program. If you haven’t built one of your own, it really is worth the investment. Here’s why:

A good lead program will track everything for you – This includes where they came from, what content they interacted with and how many times they’ve looked at things that you’re selling. A good lead program can also help automate some of this so there are very few things that you actually have to do. A strong lead program will help you focus your efforts – If you’re sending out mailers to everyone, then that’s a good way to ensure that none of them will read it. Once you’ve really honed in on the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer, then you can make sure they get more information and make it much more likely that they’ll buy.

If you’re not tracking where people came from or what content they interacted with, then it’s pretty easy for things to get out of hand really fast – imagine if someone was visiting your website 100s of times per day and wasn’t converting. You can quickly waste a ton of money there, so make sure you have these features in place.