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Marketers: embrace the process




About DJC

The older I get, the less I know and the more inquisitive I get.

Unfortunately, despite a lifelong search, most of the answers elude me. That said, I love to ask the questions and fuel the debates that will ultimately lead us all to a better understanding of the big issues in life, the universe and everything.

They say that we spend 98% of our lives in our head. I for one would like to use that time as effectively as possible.


So many business people and, indeed, so many marketers I talk to, develop strategy without understanding the basics.

Many do not understand the basics of strategy, and many more do not understand the basics relating to the people they are trying to influence. Herein lies an opportunity.

Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman identified two types of thinking:

  • Fast - or intuitive - thinking
  • Slow - or deliberative - thinking
  • Impulse purchasing is an example of fast thinking. The deliberative thinking involved in buying a car is an example of slow thinking.

    Deliberative, or slow thinking, generally involves a process with a number of stages:

  • Identification
  • Research
  • Liking
  • Preference
  • Purchase
  • Rationalisation
  • Identification is all about identifying the need, or perhaps more often, the want that drives purchase behaviour. Research involves gathering together the information upon which a purchase decision can be based. Liking is more often than not the emotional response that results from research.

    Preference tends to follow a comparison of the options or choices available. While largely emotional, it is also influenced by practical considerations such as price and availability. It also takes into consideration capacity to pay and access. Having established the preference – assuming there is a capacity to pay and access, the purchase can take place. The traditional purchaser then sets about rationalising the purchase.

    This process is important for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, it highlights the points at which the consumer may be influenced, and the type of influence that is required. Initially, the focus must be on helping the consumer identify a rationale to purchase, then there is the opportunity to provide information, followed by the potential for helping to establish an emotional connection.

    Price and access, along with reputation and features, are key factors in the consideration that leads to a preference. Access and price are among the factors influencing the purchase – along with salesmanship and service. Helping consumers to rationalise the purchase effectively will contribute to higher repeat business and referral rates.

    Secondly, this process points to the emotional component that dominates most purchase decisions. Need is often emotionally driven, liking is most often emotionally driven, and preference is so often influenced by emotion. The rationalisation at the end highlights just how important emotions are to that point.

    Understand the purchase process. Target strategy to address different aspects of the process in an optimal manner. Remember that most decisions are emotional and support rationalisation that will drive repeat purchase and referral.

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