Decision Making Process of customer
As a marketer, the biggest challenge today in getting the mindshare of the customer. There is a overdose
of campaigns through mix of different media starting from SMS, print, digital, TV, outdoor, radio .Each
brand claims to be better than other & lot of their campaigns are crafted with subtle imagery thrown
around them by best of minds. This brings us to the basic question, what are basic rules of consumer
decision making process?
Consumer decision making process
The decision making process of the customer is remarkably consistent and almost everyone goes through a
five stage decision making process as shown in exhibit below
Has your customer heard of you as a brand?
This covers the basic question. Has your customer heard of you as a brand?. If you are a brand who has
been in business for years in B2C segment this may not be a challenging stage. But if you are a new brand,
this stage presents a challenge to be present where the customer is. Research has shown that customers
generally prefer to pick up products that they have heard of as it reduces risk in his mind. That does not
mean lack of awareness means those products won’t be picked up. In case of B2B brand, brand may be
many a times ingredient brand. There are many cases where brands have moved out of being an invisible
brand & become brand case in point being Intel
Then there are commodity brands where brands do not have any role in consumer buying behaviour. These
are low involvement products where customer does not feel like investing time to pick the product, he just
picks up whatever is available at counter. An example of such case will be typical nails that are purchased.
You just look at nails & pick it up & don’t think much about it
Does customer know what category your brand is in?
Once customer has seen the brand, he should know “what the brand can do “
This stage caters to category identification. There are many a case where brands are seen & customer still
does not recollect them at the point of purchase. Many new brands make mistake of building awareness
without aiding to familiarity thereby dropping off at this level in the decision making process.
Does your brand meet customer needs?
This is a predominantly a rational process .The customer is now aware what your brand is & now starts to
evaluate whether it meets his needs rationally. If a customer looks to buy a television, he basically looks at
all the brands that he is aware. Then picks some brands basis the attributes that he is looking at. He then
checks with his friends, does internet searches, visit some shops to figure out some brands which fit in his
Gate 4.Brand Preference:-
Does your brand meet my needs better than others?
While previous stage was mostly a rational process,this is an emotional one. Basically all the brands that
feature in the previous stage have all the features that customer is looking for. Now customer starts looking
at “which of these brands meets my needs better”. Mostly it does get down to subjective & emotional
decision basis the discussion he would have had with his peers or basis his past experience
This applies to not only the B2C business but also the B2B business .Many a times deals at B2B business
gets closed at this stage. So the firms are being shortlisted for a deal & asked to come to pitch. Once they
come to pitch, there are being evaluated not on whether they can do the job, but what is the team that they
bring to do the job
Gate 5.Brand Loyalty:-
“Does the brand live upto its brand promise”?
At this stage the brand has been bought & experienced and it leads to series of decisions by customer.
Should he purchase the same next time? Has it fulfilled his demands? Has it made him happy by using it?
If brand can succeed through all these then we reach the ideal situation in the consumer decision making
process,ie of brand loyalty