Six Stages of a Consumer Buying Decision in Marketing

Decision-making is the process through which one makes a choice after gathering relevant information and assessing any viable alternatives. Consumers reach decisions on what products to purchase through a systematic decision-making framework commonly known as the Six Stages of a Consumer Buying Decision. The advantage of the six decision steps is that it offers a deliberate, thoughtful process through which one can organize relevant information and go through the alternatives before coming to a decision. As a result, there is a greater chance of reaching the best possible decision. 

Suppose a company wants to market a carbonated drink containing 25 percent fruit juice, knowledge of the Six Decision Steps framework makes it possible to market it appropriately. As the name suggests, there are six steps to the framework. First, the party intending to make a decision has to identify the problem he or she wishes solved (Solomon, Dahl, White, Zaichkowsky, & Polegato, 2014). The step involves creating a clear definition of the nature of the problem and the solution that would solve it. Therefore, it is a critical step. In the case of the fruit juice, one would need to figure what problem the fruit juice would fulfill exactly. It could be decision about the potential benefits of the product assessed from its unique selling proposition.

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 Once it is clear what problem the product solves, consumers like to gather relevant information (Solomon, Dahl, White, Zaichkowsky, & Polegato, 2014). If the marketing team decided to take advantage of the step, they would angle their marketing effort towards highlighting the problem that the product solves for the largest number of people in their target demographic. In such a case, they would need to highlight any pertinent information about the product, identify the best way to transmit the information, and how best to package it for the consumers. It is worth noting that information falls into an internal and an external category. Consumers would find internal information through a self-assessment and external information from books, research on the internet, and other people with knowledge of the product. Even after gathering information, one needs to assess the alternatives. That is why the third step involves looking at several different alternatives (Solomon, Dahl, White, Zaichkowsky, & Polegato, 2014). Marketers of the juice should focus on highlighting the strengths of their product over the competition. 

The fourth step entails weighing the evidence. Consumers use the step to determine how each decision will play out through to the end. For the marketers, the objective is to find out if the evidence they present in favor of their product outweighs that given by the competition. Since consumers discard any alternatives that do not meet their need, marketers need to show that their product has a good chance of meeting the objectives. Moreover, the marketers have to ensure that when the consumer arranges the products based on their potential utility, they are among the best. That ensures that in the fifth, where the consumers chooses from among potential alternatives, the product comes out on top (Solomon, Dahl, White, Zaichkowsky, & Polegato, 2014). Often, the choice that is most likely to fulfill the need, judged by how well it compares to the competition, wins the consumer over. The Fifth Step involves the purchase, based on the decisions identified in Step 5. Step 6 involves a review of the purchase decision and its consequences. Post purchase evaluation measures up the product against its claims to ascertain whether it actually does what it promises to do.

ReferencesSolomon, M. R., Dahl, D. W., White, K., Zaichkowsky, J. L., & Polegato, R. (2014). Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being (Vol. 10). London: Pearson.

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