Apply Push and Pull Marketing To the Buying Process
In my previous post I discussed how the different marketing channels fit into your push and pull marketing strategy.
In this post I will be discussing how you can apply these marketing channels to the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
As Craig Davis, Former Chief Creative Officer, J. Walter Thompson rightly said, as marketers:
We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
And to do so. its critical to understand the buyer’s journey and the questions we need to answer along the way.
The 5 Step Buyer’s Journey
Most consumers go through a five step process when buying a product or service.
|Steps||The Buyer’s Journey|
|1||Awareness – need recognition|
|2||Consideration – information research|
|3||Decision – evaluate alternatives and purchase|
|4||Post purchase – advocacy|
|5||Loyalty – repeat purchase|
is that buyer must be aware they have a need. If the buyer is unaware then as a marketer your job is to help prospects recognize the need and create the demand. So at this stage in a shop it could be a buyer doing window shopping and some ad/ event triggering a need.
In the second step, the consideration stage the buyer gathers data on how their need can be met – “What products or services can meet my need? What are the features vs benefits? Who are the service providers? Where can I find them? How much does it cost?
In the third step, the buyer having evaluated the different alternatives (advantages vs disadvantages, product comparison against different specifications) finalizes the product . At this stage as a marketer it’s very important that our marketing collaterals have been able to communicate our advantages and disadvantages are mitigated. Also, how we are different vis-à-vis competitors in addressing their with our solution. Often at this stage there is a delay in the decision making, if the consumer does not have enough data points to compare and can’t differentiate the product. Having made the decision, the buyer will proceed with the transaction.
The fourth step, is the post purchase behaviour – how they behaving having consumed or experienced the product or service. Are they happy (satisfied) or unhappy (unsatisfied)? Are they recommending your product or service to family and friends or business acquaintances? Are they demanding a refund?
In the fifth step, the buyer finally becomes loyal when they come back to experience more of your product or service.
How Buying Cycle Impacts The Sales Process?
Image your while waiting for a friend in a shopping mall, the buyer wanders around and is not really interested in buying anything. If approached by a sales representative who wants to make a sale to complete their sales target – you annoy the customer and ruin the peaceful browsing experience they hoped for. But viewing a in-store display ad or an offer may trigger a need.
Now imagine that the same customer is walking into your store. But this time, the buyer wants to purchase a smartphone and is in a hurry. You now want the attention of the once annoying salesperson and get highly irritated if left unattended. Also not seeing a relevant offer may postpone the buying.
As all who show interest will not buy, create a mechanism to capture contact details of prospects so that you can nurture the leads to buy your product or service.
How To Apply Push and Pull Marketing To the Buying Process?
Now that we know what goes on in the minds of the prospective buyer along buying process, let’s explore which technique is more appropriate for each of the five steps.
As marketers, we need to create triggers or help customers realize that a need has been triggered in their minds.
Awareness Stage – Need Recognition
Push marketing works best to create a need in the buyer or help them in recognizing a need. Often, the buyer is unaware that they have a need. In this situation, investing in a website and creating great content like – blogs, infographics is of no use, as the buyer is not searching for a solution. In a physical store you may have some in-store advertising to help trigger the need.
Therefore, for companies who are creating a market, for e.g. the one’s into mobile payments and digital wallets it’s be important to incorporate outbound channels in the marketing strategy to stimulate the demand and agitate the need. It’s also important the communication is emotional, as it’s an essential element in need creation. For instance, many buyers who were not digitally savvy were unaware that they could make payments using smartphone until they saw ads across Television and Print Media.
Consideration Stage – Information Search
Inbound or pull marketing really shines when potential buyers are aware of their need and now the search process begins. It’s fairly straight forward – if a buyer is looking to buy a new television or a smartphone they being the online search with a keyword. As a marketer, the best ways to be found, is providing relevant information about the product on your website and invest in search engine optimization. Other than the web, the next top source of information is ‘family and friends’. While as marketers, we can’t be friends to all our buyers, the best thing we can provide is client testimonials and reviews, as buyers view these online reviews by unknown people as being credible, especially when there are many reviews about your product or service.
You can also setup forums, that allow for unbiased discussion and free flow of information, relevant to the buyer in the decision making process.
“Just because you stand out among the competition doesn’t mean a prospective buyer will unconditionally purchase your product or service.
Decision Stage – Evaluation of Alternatives and Purchase
Having done the research, the buyer like to evaluate the different alternatives and ensure their decision is a right one. Pull or inbound marketing channels work best in this stage. Making available information (charts, videos, graphs, feature comparison) that helps them compare your product or services against different parameters, simplifies the process and start establishing trust.
At this stage, the buyer is still debating to buy or not to buy and as marketers you need to ensure that they do not walk away. We need to step up the game as marketers and need to remind them why they wanted to make the purchase. To bring them back and trigger the purchase decision to overcome the inertia of buying, you may use retargeting or simple mail reminders or an outbound technique of calling them and inquire if they need some more clarifications.
This is where a limited time-period sale (“2 for 1 for the next 2 days only”) or scarcity (“we might run out”) can help push the decision.
“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell (CEO of Manganese Bronze, former VP Harley Davidson Europe)
Just because you made a sale, the buying process has not ended. If the customer feels they have made a wrong decision or feel let down post-purchase, they can come and return your product and ask for a refund. At times, they make not return the product, but speak ill in social media and to friends and family.
It’s important to stay in touch
• Inbound channels – sending a thank-you email or a post follow-up survey or asking for referrals etc
• Outbound channels – a call to check if they want some help in using the product or meet them in-person.
Loyalty – Repeat Purchase
By giving them access to customer forums and customer success team, subscription newsletter, product or service updates, help build the connect between the customer and your brand and help reinforce their decision was right.
By being on their radar and ensuring a seamless experience, as marketers your aim is to ensure we have a repeat purchase.
The article focuses on the buyer journey and the relevant push and pull marketing triggers. Your customer’s buying journey many be more sophisticated, than what I have outlined here. To decide what works best for your business it’s important that you
• Identify the different buyer personas that buy your product
• Identify what triggers them to buy your product
• Create relevant messaging and content for different trigger combination & buyer personas across the physical and digital touchpoints
• As all who show interest will not buy, create a mechanism of capture contact details of prospects so that you can nurture the leads to buy your product or service.
The next post discusses “Move beyond the stereotype campaign mindset”.
Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP is a customer experience, marketing, service design, design thinking and business innovation consulting firm, based in India. We offer go-to-market and digital strategy consulting and help our clients rethink and redesign customer and employee value in the digital era. We offer design thinking workshops and consulting, tailored to enable, accelarete or transform your business. We are laser-focused on the problem at hand and your opportunity space, and optimize process to make design thinking and service design principles accessible to your employees who’ve never done it before or stuck-up, and provide “just adequate” theory to help you get moving and achieve outcomes.
You may reach out to Vidya Priya Rao @ +918080015500 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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