Marketing Thoery & Practice
Q.13 What is meant by the ‘buyer decision process’ ? Explain the process , relating it to an individual’s purchase of a new digital camera.
1 . Introduction:
When a person makes a decision to buy something, basically, the product he want to buy is useful for him and he need it. Then he will go to find the “information” about that kind of goods from every seller and different brands. After he collect the information from ads, magazines, his friends, or mass media, he will think about that, compare the qualities, prices, services……between different sellers or companies, decide which brand of the product he gonna buy. Finally, he will choose the most preferred brand to buy. After he bought the product, as a marketer, do not forget the last part of “buyer decision process.” : Post-purchase behaviour. The reaction of customers are very important for a company . What are the buyers thinking about the products , it’s satisfied or dissatisfied, even the reputation of one company are all depends on “Post-Purchase behaviour.”
So , the stages buyers pass through to reach a buying dcision are :
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5
Need recognition; Information search; Evaluation of alternative; Purchase decision ; Post-purchase behaviour.
“Clearly, the buying process starts long before actual purchase, and continues long after. Marketers need to focus on the entire buying process rather than on just the purchase decision. But in more routine purchase consumers often skip or reverse some of these stages.”( Kotler Brown – Marketing 6th edition . )
2 . ‘Buyer Decision Process’ :
At the beginning of year 2004, Tony decided to buy a digital camera for taking photos during his journey around Europe. There were lots brands of digital cameras on sell at that time. He had to make a decision between them.
2.1 Stage 1 Need recognition
Tony wants a digital camera to take photos during the way for personal using. Therefore the demands of functions are just enough for satisfy the individual need. The digital camera need to have the basic function the normal camera has and the price should be not too expensive, it’s better if the quality of pictures are more clearly, the speed faster and the design novelty.
From this stage, the marketers should research the information that what the consumer need. It could become the target for a company who want improve the skill of their producing, for less risk , they need to follow the “Marketing Concept” , outside-in perspective , focus on customers .
2.2 Stage 2 Information search
The science today is developing all the time , people need the cameras have more technologies in them . Digital camera could satisfy the demand of customers by it’s bigger LCD screen; transiting photos to computers from the camera; colorful display; faster speed; innovative features ……and also, all of these become the objective of the camera companies.
There are lots goods from different camera companies such like Canon, Sony, Kodak, Olympus, Samsung…… could be chosen by Tony. As most customers, Tony ringed his friends, asked how was the opinions and knowledge of the brand of the product from them, read some news about digital camera from magazines and newspapers, found some information through the internet, even go around several camera shops……At last, he limited the scope he the researching. He found two type of cameras which are fit for him. They are Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1(Sony DSC-T1) and CANON IXUS430(Canon S430). Sony Canon
We can see, in the business world today, “a company must design its marketing mix to make protects aware of and knowledgeable about its brand.”1 It’s very important for a company to know what the consumer thinking about their products and even the repute of them. If they didn’t advertised the produce, they may loss a lot of business profit because the complete ignorance of the customers.
2.3 Stage 3 Evaluation Of Alternatives
The two digital camera companies all have high quality and good faith, the price of Sony DSC-T1 is 550 dollars, however the original price of Canon S430 was 620 dollars, now they are on sell just 520 dollars. Canon has a 1.5″ LCD screen, Sony is 2.5″ LCD display; The speed of Sony DSC-T1 is 15^1/5300 s, and the speed of the Canon is 15^1/2000 s; Canon camera has the USB input to connect with computers, but no memory stick. There are both USB input and memory stick on Sony DSC-T1. The weight of Sony is 180g, and Canon is 185g. For the people who buy the Sony camera, they retain the right to exchange the goods with any fault whenever they want in one year. There’s a only half a year’s warranty to Canon S430. But, If Tony decides to buy the Canon S430, he could also get a free camera handbag from the company.
For personal use, the warranty of the company is the most important, which means to a company, service marketing is very important. Sony may win Canon by this factor. But also, Tony need to compare the qualities of two brands of cameras. He never mind how big the screen is, any of these two is ok for him. Because it’s a individual purchase, he just wants the speed of the camera enough to take normal photos, if faster, that’s better. Tony need the camera could connect with his computer, that he could keep the photos and fix them by the program in his computer and send them to his friends and relative. If the camera has memory stick is more useful. “Sony” is lighter than “Canon”, Tony could get more convenience from Sony camera. However, the price of Sony is 30 dollars more than Canon.
2.4 Stage 4 Purchase Decision
After he compare the conditions above carefully, he made a decision to buy Sony Cyber-shot DCS-T1 camera. But it’s still not the last decision he’s made. “Two factors can come between the purchase intention and the purchase decision.” Maybe his friend doesn’t like the brand of “Sony” but “Olympus”, or at the same time, the price of another digital camera from Olympus has dropped down to 490 dollars and also has the similar effect as the two camera we’ve talked before. He may change his mind and buy the Olympus camera.
2.5 Stage 5 Post-purchase Behaviour
After all of 4 stages before, Tony bought the camera which he decided to buy – Sony Cyber-shot DCS-T1, It seems like, he has already finished his buying process, but not really. The last stage of “Buyer decision Process” is very important. If Tony is satisfied by the camera he bought, he may advertises to his friends and suggest them to buy this brand of products (not just camera) and he will trust this company and buy this brand of product again. However, if he finds the quality of the camera is not as good as what he wants, he will also complain how bad the product is to his friends and relatives. There’s not just one customer dissatisfy like Tony, the company will lose million dollars of profit. Therefore, companies should pay attention to the “Post-purchase process” . The reputation of the company is depend on this stage. It could help the marketers get more customers and business profit.
When some customers want to buy some goods, maybe there’s not all the stages during the process. They may skip or reverse some of the stages. Just like Tony, If he is satisfied this time, the next time he want to buy a walkman, or digital TV, or DVD player, he may skip of the second stage(Information search) and the third stage(Evaluation of alternatives). And also, for the next time, he reverse of the stages. the last stage(Post-purchase behaviour) come after the first stage(Need recognition) before the forth stage(Purchase decision).
3 . Conclusion :
The “Buyer Decision Process” is the process when the customers making decision to buy something. It useful for customers to get the goods they really need and fit for the value. Also it’s the most common way of purchasing goods. On the other hand, the process is very important for marketers to improve their producing skill and get the information of how customers feel about their products. If marketers follow the process and satisfy the customers, they will be successful in their business.
4. Reference :
1. Marketing, 6th edition, Kotler Brown.
2. Law in Commerce, 2nd Edition, Brendan Sweeney & Jennifer O’Reilly.