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Modern purchase decision-making summed up

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How would you go about buying a sofa in today's world? Well, we took to the streets of Edinburgh to ask passers-by this question. The answers were much as we would expect: the internet, they would ask a friend, or they would visit a shop like John Lewis or IKEA.

We think we can boil down the way the vast majority of customers will decide to do business with you down to just three:

1. Recommendation: This is not something that traditional advertising can really influence. It is where you are recommended by a third party, whether that be a friend, a colleague, an associate or a trusted advisor - and, increasingly, software as well.

2. A known party: Maybe it’s a golf buddy, maybe they’ve bought from you before, or maybe you have some sort of affinity with them. Traditional advertising can help people get to know you to some extent. Due to natural skepticism and filtering tools, however, we tend to ignore these sorts of adverts. Realistically, there are more cost-effective ways of achieving the same objective.

3. Search engines: The interesting thing about search engines is that they are really trying to replicate the effects of 1 and 2; i.e. recommendations and people you already know. So that is where your efforts should really be focused.  

Why only these three methods? Because, in a world of much more choice and many more messages, these are simply the most efficient ways of making a decision in a time-deficient world.

The question here is, what is different about this marketing to pre-internet world marketing? In simple terms, the customer comes to you when they are good and ready, on their terms, not the other way round. You may have heard the phrases 'inbound marketing' or 'permission marketing' (and dare we even say it 'content marketing'). It’s these three ways of decision-making that these different buzzwords for essentially the same thing are looking to zero in on.

The next video 'Public relations the saviour?' will look at how you you can look at taking advantage of these ways of making purchase decisions.


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