Your Consumers and the Consumption Process

It’s essential to understand who your consumers are and what is their consumer behavior to market to them effectively. As Peter Drucker said, “marketing is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is, from the consumer’s point of view.”

Your consumers can be users of your product/ service, influencers, and purchasers of your product/ service. They can even be entire groups or organizations in the B2B world. Regardless of who your consumer is, they all have needs and desires, and it’s your role to fulfill that so they can purchase and use your product/ service. This is consumer behavior; it’s the process of your consumer using, purchasing, or disposing of your product/ service to satisfy their needs and desires. Consumers ultimately want products and services worth their time and money, and it’s a marketer’s responsibility to meet these criteria.

That process falls within the consumption process. This is key for marketers because they can communicate with consumers in all of the phases. In the pre-purchase phase, a consumer is acknowledging their needs and desires and searching for information on how to fulfill it. A marketer can launch an awareness campaign in this phase to relate to the consumer and influence the next phase, the purchase.

Think of the latest fast-food campaigns raving about their new chicken sandwich and what needs it fulfills. Some consumers don’t have a Popeyes near them, which is the leader of chicken sandwiches in the QSR industry. So, they seek a decent chicken sandwich from a local restaurant. It doesn’t have to be the best; it just needs to satisfy cravings, so they opt for McDonald’s, Wendy’s or a local chain. Marketers must be honest and identify their points of difference in awareness campaigns so their product/ service resonates with the consumer in the pre-purchase phase.

In the purchase phase, consumers are deciding if this product has the potential to meet their needs and desires. Marketers could set up store displays, possibly even have company representatives in stores to aide the consumer and make them feel more comfortable with the purchase. A great example is Ulta with the Benefit Cosmetics and Clinique makeup counters. Their reps are at stores at select locations to educate consumers about the brand. They often have discounts on services, like getting your eyebrows groomed at the Benefit Brow Bar and getting shade-matched to any Clinique foundation with a sample larger than average. These employees embody the marketing message and help facilitate the purchase process. This is becoming a common practice and popping up at other retailers, like Macy’s, Sears, Kohls, and JC Penny.

The consumer would then assess if they’re satisfied with the product/ service and the purchasing experience overall. A marketer can reinforce the positive attributes of the product/ service within that same campaign through a second phase. EWOM and positive reviews on Yelp, Google and other sites can help drive this. Marketers can also have messaging to indicate they are readily available to address dissatisfaction with the said product. It’s all about making the consumer feel heard.

Understanding the type of consumer you’re marketing to and what makes your product/ service unique helps aid the marketer’s involvement in the consumption process. The type of consumer and product/ service determines which type of marketing tactics to employ. To learn more about your consumer and their consumption process, consider looking to data for insights.

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