The 'Three Stages' of a Consumer - Presley & Partners - Presley & Partners

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The ‘Three Stages’ of a Consumer

February 27th, 2019

A consumer is defined as anyone who purchases services or products from the market, for their own personal ‘consumption’. Services/products are for sale, consumers buy services/products. Sounds simple right?

In actuality, consumer behavior is a marketing study all on its own. A recognized university professor of marketing identified three reasons that service providers must analyze consumer behavior:

1.  To be aware of consumer reactions to specific marketing strategies, discovering which are most effective.

2.  To determine that the marketing package is satisfactory. Analyzing the what, where, when and how of consumer behavior allows the provider to catering to their particular consumer’s needs.

3.  To better predict consumers reactions to future strategies.

Consumer behavior is often mapped out into three stages.

Stage one is known as Pre Purchase. During this stage the consumer has become aware of their needs and has begun to search for information.

Need is the catalyst which triggers all buying decisions. Once need is established, the consumer will reach to their sources for information- personal, commercial, public and experiential.

“Sometimes consumers are not even aware that they want/need a product or service, until they see promotions informing them of their deficiency, or motivating them toward desire.”

Successful marketing will ensure that your service/product appears in the ‘evoked set’ of options.

Stage two is the Service Encounter. The consumer initiates, experiences and consumes the service or product.
The consumer begins by establishing an evaluation rubric, or criteria. Marketers must present their services as attractively as possible, known as ‘framing’.

Provide information that reinforces the consumers purchasing decision- payment options, accessible hours of operation and customer service, store atmosphere, etc.

Stage three is Post Purchase. Evaluations of the service/product can determine decisions about future consumption. Cognitive dissonance, also known as ‘buyers remorse’ starts to creep in.

Reduce dissonance by offering warranties, flexible returns/exchange policies, trial periods and accessible customer service options.


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