Impulse vs. Considered Purchase Marketing: 3 Key Differences
There’s a reason why stores of all types put drinks and snacks right by the register—they want a customer to buy something without thinking about whether or not they really need it. Other purchases require research, planning, and analysis, and can be found in both B2C and B2B.
Regardless if the purchase is a car or new CRM software, the buyer must go through a process of awareness, consideration, and decision-making before they proceed with a transaction. This process can take weeks, if not months.
Successfully marketing either type of product requires a deep knowledge of the psychology of the target buyer’s thought process. However, deploying the right content via the right marketing technique at the right time differs greatly between the two. Here are three key differences.
1. Developing Product Awareness—Brand Building vs. Problem Solving
Impulse buying typically doesn’t require the buyer to have a vast amount of knowledge about a product. The main requirement is that a consumer is excited about the purchase and interested in the brand. In fact, the buyer will often learn more about the product post-purchase. Marketers of impulse purchase products should spend a significant portion of their budget on awareness- and brand-building techniques to drum up excitement not only at the point of sale, but also across channels where their target buyers are likely to be influenced.
Product awareness in considered purchase marketing requires the buyer to first experience a pain point, identify it, and then research and compare solutions for it. While the buyer is going through this process, a considered purchase brand must show up in each stage with the right kind of content that’s helpful at that particular stage.
It might seem like a lengthy process—shouldn’t you blast the consumer with information on the next big sale? But considered purchase brands who use content marketing experience conversion rates six times higher than companies that don’t. Content marketing is essential for B2B product awareness, too: Nearly half of all B2B buyers view three to five content pieces before engaging a sales rep about a particular product.
2. Influence Marketing—Social Proof vs. Ratings and Reviews
Whether impulse on considered purchase, influence marketing plays a large part in the decision process. Impulse buys are typically more influenced by social proof—the idea that those around us have a better idea of the way things are to be done or the products that are beneficial to try. According to Buffer, there are six types of social proof impulse brands can use:
- Wisdom of the Crowd
- Wisdom of Your Friends
With impulse buys, there isn’t a lot of fact-checking of influencers involved - if the buyer’s perception of the influence is deemed worthy, they’ll buy the product or service.
Conversely, influence marketing for considered purchase products takes a more research-based approach—reliant less on perception, and more on the quality and quantity of ratings and reviews. In an online ebook published by Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University, researchers found that:
“Reviews are more impactful for higher-priced and higher-consideration products. There’s a higher risk involved with purchasing an expensive item, a new brand, or a product that affects personal safety. Retailers can help consumers overcome this risk by providing additional reviews for these products.”
Considered purchase brands should also take these stats from Podium into account:
- 82% of consumers say the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase
- 68% of consumers would be willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if assured they’ll have a better experience
- 77% of consumers say they’d be willing to leave a review if asked
These metrics show that not only should considered purchase brands be focused on improving and leveraging their ratings and reviews online and in the sales process, but also have a process in place to develop more reviews from happy customers.
3. Approaching the Sales Funnel—All at Once vs. From the Bottom Up
Not only does the approach to product awareness differ between impulse and considered purchase, but so does the approach to the sales funnel. Impulse buyers spend little time in the sales funnel—they see a product they like, they want it, they buy it. Impulse product marketers must fit the entire sales journey into small pieces of content that move the buyer through the sales funnel all within a few seconds.
Considered purchases have lengthy funnels, which means a greater risk that buyers will jump out at any point they feel that a product or service isn’t worth their time. Keeping buyers engaged throughout their journey through the funnel is paramount.
The best way to keep buyers in your funnel and engaged with your brand is to understand what has impacted those who are closest to purchasing your product or service, and then use that data to inform the rest of the marketing you do for buyers at the top and middle of the funnel.
This approach not only lets you focus on securing revenue from those most likely to convert, but it also keeps you from taking stabs in the dark about what will move the needle for your awareness- and consideration-level buyers. Because of the long sales cycle, considered purchase marketers can find it difficult to optimize their marketing budgets—with a bottom-up approach to the sales funnel, they can find efficiencies sooner and make sales faster.
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.