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Do you know what drives purchase?

Consumer goods like P&G have always invested in knowing how their sales and marketing activities drive purchase. See this article from July 10th, by Ellen Byron featuring James Stengel who is the Global Marketing Officer for P&G. In it, Mr. Stengel talk about mobile promotions, impact of digital video records on TV advertising, media channel shifts, etc.
Technology companies have typically not done this kind of thinking and insights on their customer behavior.
But as consumer technology companies get more sophisticated, it seems both relevant and economically right to know what drive purchase, what media works, what role price has in the decision, and what will drive more sales growth.
Key questions the company needs to answer include:
• How powerful is brand in the new purchasing process?
• How many brands does the customer consider?
• How much is the technology an impulse buy, versus a carefully considered purchase?
• For those who obtain the technology bundled with something else, how likely are they to renew?
• Is your technology becoming a built-in feature that most customers expect to get for free?
If so, what percent of the customers feel that way?
• How does the awareness and consideration process work by segment?
• What are the triggers to adoption in retail (kiosks, software box, rebate offer, etc)
• Do people choose their vendor / brand / product before or after they visit the channel?
• For those who do visit the channel before making a purchase decision, what percent are influenced by various promotions (coupons, discounts, rebates, etc)?
• How do customers gather information? Word of mouth? Magazines? Online research?
• How do these correlate to the channels where they buy?
• How likely are they to repurchase the same brand in the future?
• To what extent do people now expect technology x to be a built-in feature of other things they buy, rather than a separate purchase?
• To what extent does the sea of boxes at retail affect the purchasing process?
The process by which consumers consider and purchase technology needs to be known to drive both strategic and tactical decisions. Not only do we marketing geeks need to know what drives their early awareness of product, but what factors get included in consideration and then ultimately whether online, retail, etc what causes them to buy. This will help any vendor to invest more wisely in the things that really matter and move from the mystery and assumptions of today to a clear set of tradeoffs.
By doing a piece of research to define the “Customer Decision Tree”, you can find out what factors drive what stage of the decision and what you need to invest in to drive new growth.
Seems important. Why don’t we do it more.

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