2.2.2 Buyers decision making process Marketing communication strategy represents all efforts to communicate to target audience and channel members (Kotler et al. 2012, 955). Smith and Zook (2011, 90) state The first step in formulating a marketing communications strategy is to identify, analyse and ultimately understand the target market and its buying behaviour. This understanding can help develop messages which are likely to reach and make sense to customers (Arens et al. 2011, 160). The stage model of the consumer buying process, developed by marketing scholars and presented by many authors such as Smith and Zook (2011), Arens et al. (2011), Kotler et al (2012), consists of five steps. Table 2 presents a summary of buyer’s behaviour at each stage and gives examples of corresponding marketer’s tasks. Some concepts presented in the table and set out in italics is defined more precisely further.
8 TABLE 2. Five-stage model of the buying process Stage Buyer’s behaviour Examples of marketers tasks Problem recognition - problem recognized or need triggered by internal or ex- ternal factors - identify what triggers a need or interest- increase buyer’s motivation Information search - buyer becomes more receptive to information - buyer actively looks for information - buyer learns about existing brands - identify information sources to which consumer will turn - identify influence of the sources on the buying decision and evaluate their importance - identify the hierarchy of attributes of the product which guide buyer’s decision Evaluation of alternatives - brand information is processed- product attributes are evaluated- preferences are formed - intention to purchase is formed - identify how buyers form their preferences - stimulate greater interest by changing the product, affecting consumers beliefs or attitudes towards the brand, its attributes or competitor’s brand Purchase decision - intention to buy may result in actual purchase - intention to buy might be modified, postponed or avoided - buyer is influenced by per- ceived risk - understand factors which induce a feeling of risk - provide information to reduce perceived risk Post- purchase behaviour - consumer experience post- purchase dissonance - marketing communications should reassure the consumer’s choice - monitor post-purchase satisfaction, actions and use
9 Internal factors concern situations when a person’s normal need rises to a certain level and become a drive. A need can also be aroused by external factors such as advertising, a neighbour’s new product or family influence. According to the American Marketing association (2014) product attributes are the characteristics by which products are identified and differentiated. The process of detecting hierarchy of attributes (also called market partitioning) consists of identifying those attributes that explain the grouping of members of a product class into directly competing subsets (Carter and Silverman 2004). In other words customers may prioritize certain characteristics of a product such as price range, country-producer, size, quality, and then consider alternatives in the chosen group. Attributes on which the company’s product competes can be emphasised in designing, positioning, pricing and promoting products (Carter and Silverman 2004). The concept of perceived risk refers to a feeling that there maybe unpleasant consequences associated with the purchase of the new product under consideration Goodwin. Its level determines the consumer’s involvement in purchase decision, the degree of personal relevance a consumer perceives a product, brand, objector behaviour to have (American Marketing Association 2014). The perceived risk determines the amount of time and effort that a buyer puts into any particular purchase and when the perceived risk is high, customer tends to decrease it and therefore is ready tore- peat information search and evaluation stage of the purchase decision. Post-purchase dissonance is the insecurity that a buyer feels about the appropriateness of the purchase after the decision has been made (American Marketing Association 2014). This should be addressed for example by after-sales service, additional advertising, and results of successful tests. If the product matches the promise and customer is satisfied, both repeat purchase and word-of-mouth are possible (Smith and Zook 2011, 97). Understanding what experiences and impressions have the most influence at each stage of the buying process help allocate the marketing communications budget more efficiently (Kotler et al. 2012, 779). The presented model of the buying process should not be hierarchical as there might be loops or consumers might skip some stages. This
10 model it is considered to be more relevant for high-involvement purchases (defined in chapter 2.2.1 Response hierarchy model. Even though this it shows a simplified version of the decision making process, it provides a valuable guide to the types of communication that are most appropriate at each stage (Blythe 2006, 19).