57% of consumers have already made their purchasing decisions prior to speaking with a sales or customer service representative. Since these complex decisions are occurring prior to connections made with the company, it is important as marketers to understand where they are obtaining information on the product, and what is “sealing the deal” prior to talking with a company representative.
This concept goes back to the constant back-and-forth between what works best, sales or marketing. We know that both of these tools are different, and ultimately marketing fuels sales, but to consumers and many business owners, sales provides direct results whereas marketing is theoretical and must be analyzed to tell whether or not it works.
This statistic brings us to two different places when thinking of strategy. One being branding and the other being digital presence. Branding plays a considerable role in marketing strategy on consumer behavior (Handlin, 2016). Branding influences shopping behavior because it can set products apart from competitors, and pinpoints the product a consumer wants – streamlining the decision-making process (Handlin, 2016). A strong brand develops equity through creating an emotional connection with consumers (Handlin, 2016). This connection helps to tie a feeling to a product rather than just the features or functions. According to Handlin, branding also helps develop habitual buying which is a result of making the product easily identifiable. Think of Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks. Many people are on either side of the debate, but will rarely purchase from the other. Branding also opens up a multitude of strategic options for marketers. A product can be branded to showcase its tie to the manufacturer, think Pampers and Procter & Gamble, or branded private-label selling its brand with ties to a specific store, think Great Value and Walmart. Branding plays an important role for marketers because good branding relates to ease of sale. A consumer’s relationship to a brand can contribute to the 57% of consumers who already know what they want.
A digital presence is the second most important factor and strategy that can influence these consumers. Personally, if we see a product, or advertisement for a product, that we think we may like, the first thing we do is open our web browser and look it up online. Not only are we finding customer reviews and specific information about the product, but we are also finding pricing at different locations. We may be in Walmart and see a product, but when we look it up, we may find it cheaper at Target. It is important for a marketer to get into the minds of a consumer, and to analyze the entire buying process. If more than half of consumers already know what they want, waiting for them to reach out is pointless. As marketers, we would first look at what problem our product solves. Since most people don’t search for a specific product but rather a solution to a problem, ensuring a digital presence in search results is important. If we search “how to make my shoes white again,” there are going to be videos, but as marketers, our goal would be to have our product pop-up in that search result.
Marketing is all about showcasing how much easier or more valuable life will be by utilizing a product or service. We could spend two hours searching through videos and different home-made remedies to turn our shoes white again, but if we could spend a reasonable amount of money to get it done quicker and with less effort, we would. We are firm believers that good marketing requires no selling or sales people. This consumer behavior statistic leads us to believe we are right. Capturing their attention and purchase power prior to them ever stepping foot in a store or clicking on a website should be the main focus, then branding should keep them coming back for more.
Handlin, A. (2016). The Significance of Branding as a Marketing Strategy on Consumer Behavior. Retrieved from Chron Small Business: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/significance-branding-marketing-strategy-consumer-behavior-16594.html