How Do You Know if Your Product or Service is a Considered Purchase?
A considered purchase requires more from a marketer. Considered purchases necessitate more patience, more marketing materials, the infrastructure to track consumers across touchpoints and, most importantly, a thorough understanding of the buyer's journey. When you can predict what buyers might do, it's much easier to reach those individuals at the right time.
The first step in creating a successful marketing strategy for a considered purchase product or service is to know whether you are one. Here's how you can tell if the goods and services you're marketing are considered purchases.
1. Prolonged Information Gathering
For a consumer to feel comfortable with a considered purchase decision, they must go through multiple phases of investigation, inquiry and gathering feedback. They take more steps and spend more time on their way to becoming a customer.
Few people buy a vehicle or new appliance without doing some serious investigating. And even if your product or service isn’t a consumer durable, it may still warrant significant information gathering by your consumers. For instance, choosing a wireless provider or a SaaS software solution is still a considered purchase, and it can take just as much time and research as a car purchase.
Impulse buys and on-the-spot purchases require minimal or no research. But research on its own does not necessarily indicate a considered purchase. More than 80 percent of retail shoppers look for information online before buying. However, the longer the research period, the more likely it is that the item in question is a considered purchase.
Marketers of considered purchase products should understand the length of the path to purchase and the kind of research that’s being done. Some considered purchases can be researched in a day or two, while others might take weeks or even months.
2. A Clear Buyer’s Journey
For businesses that deal in considered purchase items, there’s nothing more important than a clearly defined buyer’s journey. Why? Because considered purchase consumers go through different phases of interest as they consider a purchase.
They start off in an awareness stage, as they attempt to put a name and solution to their pain point. They then move to a consideration stage, where they look at multiple solutions against each other. And finally, they come to the decision stage, where they know what solution they’d like to go with, but need the last push over the line into a sale. All along this journey consumers encounter different touchpoints with your brand that help them pivot from one stage to the next.
As a marketer, you need to be well-versed in all the stages your consumers go through and the pivot points along the way. This way, you’ll know what it takes and how long it takes for consumers to move to the next stage in the journey.
Today, two-thirds of the buyer’s journey is conducted online. It’s important for considered purchase marketers to not only be aware of the twists and turns of the typical buyer’s journey, but they must also have the capability to link different website visits, inquiries, social media follows and in-store visits together. If you miss even one step of the buyer’s journey, it can damage your ability to close the deal. Omnichannel marketing must be a major focus for all modern marketers, especially when it comes to considered purchases.
3. Common Pain Points
If your product or service solves common pain points among your customers, it’s likely a considered purchase. For instance, a considered purchase often begins with a search for remedies for a particular pain point—rather than a direct query for a specific product or service. This gives considered purchase marketers the opportunity to produce content geared directly toward educating consumers about how to solve their pain, rather than touting product or service features.
Because searchers look for pain point solutions rather than specific products, a searcher is likely to see multiple options. In fact, now that Amazon has eclipsed Google for the most popular starting point for a product search, consumers are seeing more options than ever.
But whether it’s a B2C or B2B purchase, it takes time for consumers to sort through the different offerings and figure out which one works best for them. This is the essence of considered purchasing. It's important for marketers to have the necessary materials ready to educate consumers as they're preparing to make a choice.
4. Multiple Decision Makers
A significant purchase is likely to have more than one stakeholder involved in the process. For instance, an individual might bring his or her entire family to test drive a car, or a woman might consider her husband’s needs while purchasing an exercise bike. B2B purchases like a new CRM or location for the annual sales conference often require input from several levels of management. There’s a lot to evaluate in these scenarios, and the impact of the purchase can affect quite a few people.
In this scenario, marketers find themselves trying to appeal to two different sets of people—the users of the product or service, and the actual purchasers of the product or service. While a manager might approve of the cost of a server or phone system, it doesn't mean much if the end users have difficulties or if basic functionality is lost. A good marketer will appeal to all sides of the equation and make sure everyone has reason to buy in.
5. Financial Consequences
The final key hallmark of a considered purchase is consequence—if there’s no consequence for making the wrong choice, then there’s no point in considering anything to begin with.
The entire point of a considered purchase is that it’s something that has to be entered into carefully. As a consumer, a considered purchase has to resolve your pain points, it has to work for yourself and possibly others—and it has to be expensive enough where it’s something that you absolutely have to get right the first time.
No one wants to look at a house and agree to a mortgage payment, only to find unwelcome surprises within days of moving in. That’s why homebuyers research real estate agents and neighborhoods, visit more than one home and have inspections. They’re willing to spend time going through the buyer’s journey gathering information, reading reviews and asking for advice because there’s a serious consequence if they don’t.
If, after reading the above five points, you know your product or service is a considered purchase, it’s now critical to understand the process your consumers go through while making it. Guiding a consumer through all of the steps along the journey and convincing them and their fellow stakeholders to buy is a major challenge, but with the right approach to considered purchase marketing, you can be successful.
Written by Shawn Murdock
Shawn’s 30 years of brand innovation and entrepreneurship have led to incredible growth for Icon’s clients – both the long-standing and the new. Starting with a focus in consumer durable goods and CPG, Shawn’s vision as Icon’s President is to bring decades of customer journey expertise to digital innovation. In addition to leading the agency, Shawn is an active investor, mentor, and advisor in the startup community.