How considered is the purchase your buyers are making?

How considered is the purchase your buyers are making?

I’m often asked whether Watertight Marketing is for business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. It’s much more useful to distinguish the way you market your business according to how the buyer makes their decision, not by what (metaphorical) hat they happen to be wearing at the time.

It’s the wrong question. Because, the answer isn’t helpful.

The more powerful distinction can be made between impulse and considered purchases. Each requires a completely different marketing approach and skill set. And, it’s the considered end of the process where Watertight Marketing adds value.

Buying Decision Continuum

At one end of the spectrum there are buying decisions made in a heartbeat. These are either impulse buys driven entirely by emotion or by logic, but rarely both. Those ‘I just had to have it’ moments, like a bunch of flowers or a chocolate bar. Or, something totally functional, like a pack of envelopes for the stationery cupboard. These kinds of decisions are made quickly and without reference to other people. If you were to ask buyers how they chose their goods in these cases, they probably couldn’t break it down. There’s a great deal of science and marketing expertise that goes into triggering an impulse purchase, but my approach looks at the other end of the spectrum: the considered purchase.

In a considered purchase both emotional and rational appeals need to be met. This is because the buying decision tends to be more important, for one of the following reasons:

  • Expense: there is a high financial outlay involved or an ongoing commitment.
  • Other people: the purchase affects more than one person.
  • Status: a person’s sense of identity or reputation is affected by the purchase.

When these elements come together, the buyer has a lot to lose if they get their decision wrong. They are taking a risk. The job of your marketing is to reduce that risk.

The further to the right a buyer would place their decision to buy what you’re selling on this continuum, the more complex their thought processes are going to be and the more Watertight Marketing will apply.

TIP: Run some research with your potential buyers or existing customers that asks them to place their buying decision on this continuum.

© Bryony Thomas | Illustration by Lizzie Everard.  This is an adapted excerpt from Watertight Marketing.

Bryony Thomas

By Bryony Thomas, author of the award-winning book Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press £14.99) – The entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual. #watertightmkg

Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @bryonythomas