We use a five-step model of the buying cycle to identify opportunities for marketing. The first step is the consumer identifying a need or desire. They may know exactly what they want, or they may have a problem they want to solve, but don’t know yet what the solution is. In some cases, the desire is sparked by the solution itself, triggering a need that hasn’t been top of mind. Marketing can also create perceived needs. Let’s look at some scenarios.
They know what they want: Or do they? If you’ve ever Googled something like “long red cotton cable knit sweater,” you’ll have noticed that the results, even on page one, are not all a match. That’s because advertisers know that even when a person thinks they know what they want, they can be persuaded to buy something else. This applies mainly to goods, although services grouped into a package may also attract attention. So, advertising your blue sweaters anytime the term “sweater” is searched, may be worth the investment; and, someone looking for vent cleaning may well be interested in a combo vent and blind cleaning.
In terms of organic ranking (as opposed to marketing), a search engine optimized website with wording that consumers use (not jargon), will include you in results.
They have a problem to solve: Their kids are at war over the thermostat. One is always cold and the other is always hot. In an ideal world, they’d like to have their bathroom warm and their bedroom cooler, along with the kitchen. They don’t know if that’s even possible. While you’re focused on the items or services you sell, some potential consumers won’t know what to search for, so mentioning the problems you solve, will direct them to your site.
The desire is sparked when they see it: You see someone else using a product that you didn’t know existed, and now that you’ve seen it, you MUST have it! This can happen in person, on social media, or even when searching or just browsing around. Examples include fashion items, gadgets, appliances, and services. This is one of the reasons that influencers are important to big brands. You can create buzz with featured products on your website, newsletters, and social media.
A perceived need is created: The best example of this is the teeth whitening product ad that suggest you compare the colour of your teeth to a tissue – “the tissue test.” Natural teeth are NEVER as white as a tissue, but this commercial convinces you that the colour of a tissue is the standard. So, now you need a teeth whitener!
Next time, we’ll look at the second step in the buying cycle, the search for more information.