In order to continue attracting your target audience, you need to keep up with the wants and needs of customers. This can be a real challenge if you don’t understand the factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions. Those factors are a lot different than what they used to be, which means that the customer journey has changed a lot as well. This updated journey is referred to by many as the consumer decision journey (CDJ). What makes the CDJ so different than traditional marketing funnels is that each consumer’s CDJ is unique. Keeping that in mind, the following are three of the biggest factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in today’s digital age:
Very few consumers are going to blind buy a product or service based on the content they’ve come across on your website. It doesn’t matter how effective you say it is, how clear your demonstration videos are, or what kind of accolades you’ve received. Customers are going to look up reviews first. Online reviews are easy to find — and many consumers aren’t going to feel comfortable buying a product or service unless it has good reviews.
Reviews come in many forms. There are tons of different websites where customers leave reviews. For example, Angie’s List, Yelp, and Amazon all allow customers to leave feedback on products, services, and overall customer experiences. In addition to customer reviews, consumers also seek out professional reviews. For example, Consumer Reports provides not only professional reviews of certain products, but they offer comparisons between different products as well.
Encouraging customers, as well as professionals, to review your products and services can be hugely beneficial. Doing so (as long as the reviews are mostly positive) can help improve your reputation and build trust with consumers who are in the evaluation stage of their journey.
More often than not, consumers will initially become aware of brands or their products and services through peer recommendations. They may ask someone in person for a recommendation or ask online, via social media, online chat, or email. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to continue targeting existing customers. The journey doesn’t end when someone makes a purchase. You want to continue marketing to those customers to turn them into repeat customers. This allows you to build brand loyalty, which in turn will turn them into brand ambassadors that will recommend your products or services to their peers.
Having a social media presence is incredibly important because so many consumers will turn to social media as a way to do research. They’ll look up brands, ask them direct questions, ask their social groups about their thoughts on your products or services, and look at your social interactions in general. This means that they will look at how you engage with your followers, as well as with users in general, to get a sense of how you carry yourself and whether they can relate to you. A brand with no social presence, or one that doesn’t regularly engage with the community is not going to make as good of an impression on consumers.
It’s important not to become over-reliant on the traditional marketing funnel. Consumers have so much power when it comes to doing their own research about different brands and their products and services, that it’s important to understand how unique the CDJ is. These are three very important factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions in this day and age that you need to make sure you address.
Dan Gartlan helps companies of all kinds drive their business initiatives and achieve their goals with strategic marketing programs that deliver results. As President of Stevens & Tate Marketing, he has over 20 years experience across various industries, and continues to share his expertise to build brands nationwide.