The mobile revolution gave the chance to marketers to be there for consumers at relevant moments with different strategies. But in order to be effective, Mobile Marketing tactics should be built around consumers’ behaviours from the very beginning of the purchase journey. Therefore, mobile marketers should understand how the Consumer Decision Making Process works in order to guide customers through their purchases in a more meaningful way.
The Consumer Decision-Making Process consists of five steps which are: need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase and post-purchase behaviour. Consumers do not always move in order through the process; this can depend on the type of product, financial status, digital devices they have, etc… The consumer decision making process is important for marketers because they have to understand these steps in order to design their marketing mix properly.
The consumer decision-making process ranges from simple to complex, and is influenced by various factors. It begins with the recognition of a need. It might be as simple as realizing there are no more vegetables left in the fridge!
It is followed by the information search, where a consumer starts to search for information from internal and external resources. Once the consumer finds information and alternatives, he/she starts to evaluate them in the alternative evaluation step. After evaluating the alternatives, a consumer makes a decisions regarding which product/service to purchase. Finally, in the post-purchase stage the consumer has an experience using the product/service that has been purchased.
All the questions like: What influences a consumer in a purchase situation? Why did consumer X purchase this TV? Was it for the price or the quality? Did consumer X ask his/her friends or family for help in his/her decision process? are subject to the Consumer Decision Making process.
Do not forget that consumers are constantly evolving in their buying behaviour based on their life situations, so their behaviours through their decision making process are constantly changing.
Lets take a look at the effects of Mobile Marketing at each stage
Effects of Mobile Marketing on Need Recognition Stage
Decision-making process for each consumer starts when consumers realize that they have a need for something. A consumer recognizes a need when there is an imbalance in their present status and their preferred status. Need recognition occurs when a consumer is faced with a difference between an actual and a desired state. This is an important stage for marketers because they can build some of their campaigns in order to create this imbalance: by creating a need they could make consumers search out and buy a product or service.￼￼￼￼
Consumers’ needs can be divided into two groups. A need can occur immediately and can be a very basic impulse, such as getting hungry. This is called aninternal stimulus. Another kind of need may arise if a consumer is affected by outside influences, such as receiving a discount from his/her favourite retailer. This is called an external stimulus.
Marketers can construct some of their campaigns in order to create an imbalance in consumers’ present status and preferred status. Marketers try to create an imbalance/consumer need because they want to create a want. How is a want created? By marketing efforts that lead consumers to recognize that they have an unfulfilled need. Thanks to mobile technology, among these marketing efforts mobile marketing became one of the most important tool for marketers.
Mobile technology allows marketers to connect with their customers anywhere and anytime whether they are at work, in a store, or surfing the web. In addition to that, mobile technology helps marketers to deliver their offerings to their customers by customizing the offers based on customers’ needs. Therefore, mobile marketing messages can act as external cues that help consumers to recognize a need, triggering a decision-making process that might result in a purchase.
Importance of Mobile Technology on Need Recognition Stage
Thanks to mobile services, consumers can receive and access information anytime and anyplace. That makes mobile services more convenient for consumers than any other channel. If mobile services provide value to consumers, such as saving them time, effort and money, they can motivate consumers to start the buying process.
Need Recognition Stage Use Cases and Actionable Insights for Marketers
In need recognition stage marketers’ job is to position their product or service as a solution to a problem or need that a consumer may be encountering.
Regarding this stage:
– Information delivery services such as news (e.g., stock prices)
– Reminders (e.g., credit card payment due), updates (e.g., new arrivals, upgrades)
– Delivery of promotional items (e.g., coupons, discounts) to mobile devices
can act as external drivers.
For instance, a push notification received on a mobile device for an upcoming special day, accompanied by a list of recommended gifts and discount offers, can motivate the recipient to start the buying process for a gift.
Effects of Mobile Marketing on Information Search Stage
After the consumer has developed a want or a need, the next thing he or she will do is starting an information search regarding different alternatives that he/she can purchase to satisfy his/her need. Information search can be done internallyor externally. An internal information search relies on and utilize information from memory, such as past experiences with the product and/or service. An external information search is the process of utilizing information from outside environment.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
The amount of time dedicated to the information search stage depends on several factors, such as the consumer’s past experience, perceived risk and the level of interest. External information search can be based on family & friends effect as well as on public resources. Another external information source is marketing-controlled sources, such as radio, TV ads, digital- mobile ads, etc.
Within these channels, thanks to the evolving mobile technology, mobile marketing became one of the most important tools for marketers to impact on information search stage. Mobile technology offers the convenience of accessing and sharing information. That’s why mobile marketing tools are very crucial to marketers.
Importance of Mobile Technology on Information Search Stage
Mobile services can allow access to all types of information regarding products and services, especially with the help of mobile internet. Within information search stage marketers may reach their target audience via various mobile marketing tools, such as mobile search ads, location based ads, mobile display ads, and etc…
Compared to other communication channels like radio, TV and print, mobile technology offers the advantage of making it very easy to access and share information. For this reason, mobile marketing tools are essential for marketers who are interested in making an impact on consumers’ information search stage.
Mobile marketing tools can be very effective if they are used in relevant mobile channels to target consumers who are searching for specific information and aiming to fulfil their needs. Using appropriate mobile marketing actions might result in a purchase.
Information Search Stage Use Cases and Actionable Insights for Marketers
In the information search stage marketers’ job is to appear in front of their customers at the right time and the right place.
At this stage:
1. Mobile search ads (such as click to locate ads, text ads, product listings ads, etc)
2. In-App Popups (popups triggered by users’ actions within an app, especially important for mobile app marketers): For instance, when a consumer is searching for ‘men shoes’ within an app, the appearance of an in-app popup discount regarding men shoes at that precise moment may direct this consumer to purchase.
3. Location Based Campaigns (campaigns for customers who are in a specific location)
4. Mobile display ads (especially using re-marketing technology by targeting people who are searching for specific types of products) can be used to impact consumers’ decisions at this stage.
Effects of Mobile Marketing on Alternative Evaluation Stage
After consumers have recognized a need, they conduct an information research and then create a final decision set called evoked set. At this point, in order to make a final decision, they evaluate the alternatives. While taking a final decision, consumers consider different features of the product or service, such as quality, price, location, etc.. Marketers should find out which attribute is most important to the consumer at this stage and build their marketing tactics accordingly.
Like at need recognition and information search stages, also at alternative evaluation stage mobile technology differs from other mediums. First of all, mobile devices and services enable consumers to evaluate alternatives even when they are at physical stores. Mobile devices and mobile services can help consumers enjoying the best of both physical and online worlds by combining the benefits of in-store and online shopping environments.
Importance of Mobile Technology for Alternative Evaluation Stage
Traditional physical shopping environments have limitations, such as the number of product alternatives available and the difficulty of comparing product alternatives. The online shopping environment has its own limitations too, such as the inability to touch, feel, or try products. Mobile Technology enables consumers to experience the best features of offline and online shopping environments at the same time.
To combine online and offline shopping experiences, many consumers have started to use smartphones in physical stores while they are shopping. That makes smartphones a very important medium for both online and offline marketers.
Therefore, mobile marketing tools can be very effective if they are used in relevant mobile channels in order to reach consumers who are evaluating alternatives. Using appropriate mobile marketing actions might result in a purchase.
Alternative Evaluation Stage Use Cases and Actionable Insights for Marketers
In alternative evaluation stage, a marketer’s job is to provide information about products and services better than his/her competitors, and reaching out his/her brands’ audience while they are evaluating alternatives.
At this stage:
1. Mobile search ads (in order to appear in the search results when a consumer is searching for specific products)
2. Location Based Campaigns (especially by using beacon technology, marketers may reach their customers when these are in the physical stores)
3. Mobile display ads (especially using re-marketing technology by targeting people who are searching specific type of products)
4. Mobile App Daily Bulletins (sending price discounts to consumers who already put a product in their baskets but didn’t proceed with the purchase) can be used to impact consumers’ decisions at this stage.
Effects of Mobile Marketing on Purchase Stage
After evaluating the alternatives, consumers make a final decision and purchase a product/service. Even if purchase stage is affected by previous decision making process stages, marketers can still have a chance to impact consumers who are already at the purchase stage. At this step, marketers should make their products available to their consumers and be sure to make the purchase process easy and enjoyable for the consumer.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Like at previous stages, also at the purchase stage mobile technology plays an important role for marketers. For instance, mobile services can improve consumers’ shopping experience at the purchase stage by making the product ordering, purchasing and payment more convenient. All of these improvements may allow consumers to save time and money.
Importance of Mobile Technology at Purchase Stage
Regarding payment stage through mobile devices, we can talk about different usage of mobile devices, such as making a purchase via mobile app or mobile site, making an online payment via mobile and purchasing via mobile payment at the offline store.
Marketers who use their consumers’ past behaviours have a better chance to have an impact on the purchase stage. That is because most of the consumers move to the purchase stage by leaving traces, such as making a search, adding a product to the basket and leaving it, commenting on a product page, etc…
Marketers who read these traces and build campaigns accordingly can achieve better results.
Purchase Stage Use Cases and Actionable Insights for Marketers
In purchase stage, marketers’ job is to make their products available to the customers and make the purchase process easy and enjoyable for the consumers.
At this stage:
1. Mobile Wallet (Mobile devices can be used as digital wallets; consumers can make the payment by transferring the funds electronically)
2. Location Based Campaigns (Consumers at the purchase stage can also be notified on the availability of a sales promotion on a near-by item)
3. Interactive Push Notifications (especially mobile app marketers might send interactive push notifications to the users at the purchase stage and get their payment immediately)
4. Triggered Campaigns (sending notifications to the customers who leave their basket without purchase) can be used to impact consumers’ decisions at this stage.
Effects of Mobile Marketing on Post-Purchase Stage
After a consumer makes a decision he/she expects satisfaction to occur from his/ her decision. If the product /service does not meet his/her requirements, then dissatisfaction might occur. At this point the marketer may lose the chance to make this customer a loyal user. That’s why savvy marketers make sure that their consumer is completely satisfied and does not develop any negative post-purchase feelings.
Likewise, mobile technology plays an important role for marketers at post-purchase stage. Mobile services can improve post-purchase customer service experiences. For instance, consumers can receive updates on the order status for purchased items. Moreover, customer support can be enhanced by delivering more interactive content (e.g., images, video) to consumers, regardless of their location.
Importance of Mobile Technology on Post-Purchase Stage
The use of mobile services can improve perceived benefits (convenience, savings, and instant communication) and reduce perceived risks (performance risks, financial risks, time risks) for consumers. This may lead to more satisfactory post-purchase experiences for consumers.
Cognitive dissonance is the inner tension that a consumer experiences after recognizing an inconsistency between behaviour, value and opinions. Marketers can prevent cognitive dissonance by using appropriate mobile marketing tools, such as following up with the customers via push notifications and sending them promotions, free trails, and so on..
Consumers’ willingness to use mobile services at the post-purchase stage depends on developing the belief that these mobile marketing services will offer benefits.
Post-Purchase Stage Use Cases and Actionable Insights for Marketers
In post-purchase stage, a marketer’s job is to provide consumers with after sale service as well as some extra benefits, such as discounts and free trials.
At this stage:
1. Interactive Push Notifications (especially mobile app marketers might send interactive push notifications to the users just after the purchase stage to get their feedback immediately)
2. In-App Popups (triggered after the consumer makes a purchase, popups can be used to give info regarding customer service)
3. Triggered Campaigns (notifications sent to the customers who already made a purchase in order to give them extra benefits) can be used to impact consumers’ decisions at this stage.