It's time for the Marketing Tip of the Week, a feature dedicated to helping marketers get that extra edge.
This week's tip: Map the decision-making process.
Everyone goes through a decision-making process when they buy something. We may not consciously think about it, but we all do it. Savvy marketers map the decision-making process of their prospects and then build campaigns that address every step of the way.
For example, I've got an auto lease that ends in 10 months. I'm not going to make any big decisions tomorrow, but I'm thinking about my next car in the back of my mind. Auto manufacturers need to be on my radar now. That's a step: felt need.
Then as time moves along and I'm researching options, they need to be on my list of top three cars. That's another step: research.
This goes on until I sign a piece of paper locking me in for another three to five years of financial commitment. Then the process immediately starts all over again!
Our job as marketers is to understand what steps our prospects will go through in making a purchase and to develop marketing assets and tactics that help them through each step. To do this we have to answer three things:
- What are the steps or phases of their prospect's decision-making process?
- What is our job at each step or phase?
- What tools are available to us for each step/responsibility?
The following table is an example—it's not a real decision-making process, just a quick hypothetical example.
What steps do your prospects go through when they make a purchase? Do they need to get approvals, convince others of the purchase or can they make the decision on their own? Do they have financing issues that play into the decision? Do they need to be informed of technical specifications as they research? How important are customer testimonials? Do they even know you exist?
Mapping the decision-making process not only helps you understand what steps your prospects go through when making a decision and what your job is at each step. It can save you a lot of time and energy because it helps you to focus. You eliminate needless activity and wasted money and put your time and resources behind engaging your prospect in ways that deliver success based on how they make decisions.