Today we talk about the purchase cycle and decision points that your customer goes through in the digital age. I’ve put together a mindmap of the purchase cycle that will help visualize what we cover in the show. What started me down this path was a great post by Paul Burani at SearchEngineWatch.com on Comparison Shopping and the Pursuit of Trust. He had a great graphic on this post but I wanted to expand on it a bit.
MindMap referenced in Podcast… the Purchase Cycle mindmap.
In this first part we cover the first 4 steps to the purchase cycle:
Need/Want – when someone first realizes they need a service or product or that they want a service or product.
Product Awareness – It should be mentioned that both need/want might easily be in the same space as product awareness. For instance, an example I will use throughout this series is the Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen. I didn’t realize I wanted this pretty cool pen device until I saw it recently. Sure I had a need but it’s more of a want at this point.
In product awareness we also cover the questions that someone is asking themselves. What does it do? How does it do it? What will it do for me? That last one you could consider the most important question that needs to be answered in the awareness stage.
Pursuit of Alternatives – Search has changed this step drastically. In a search people wonder “what are the options”. I break this down to three core options that people find. Product options (more on this in the podcast), category options (products or services like this one), or non-category options (for instance, 02instead of the the Livescribe 8 GB Echo Smartpen, I could just use a pen and my Iphone to record meetings).
Validation of Alternatives – This is huge in today’s world. We break validation into three core groups.
- Social Circle – Family, friends, work, social media
- Consumer Opinions – Reviews, blogs, social mentions, forums
- Editorial Content – sites like consumer reports, nextag.com, comparison sites, or sites like CNET.
All three core validation categories play a role in the purchase decision. In the podcast I go into more detail how to break these down and how these play a role in today’s digital landscape.
Also check in tomorrow for Part 2 where we will cover purchase options, transaction, of business, and broadcast experience (which is huge these days). If you like this podcast please share with your friends or associates and comment below!