Business owners all dream of striking gold – finding the right angle, the right product, the right location or clientele to be able to exceed their goals. Indeed, running a business can often feel like mining gold: half sheer dumb luck. Too many flounder in all the details, unsure of what to do to get where they want to go.
Whether one is selling a product or a service, there’s a science to success, believe it or not. The purchase cycle is one way that science opens a window into the way consumers think and so act; this series will examine each stage of the cycle and demonstrate how to turn it into a perpetual motion machine for any business.
The stages of the purchasing cycle are as follows:
Discovery – need recognition
Exploration – research and information gathering
Evaluation – comparing options, weighing costs and benefits
Purchase – actually buying the product or service
Engagement –customers or clients connecting with a broader brand,
Raving – from customer to super-fan!
At each stage, there are ways to encourage the consumer to take the next step. The step that advertising tends to focus on is the actual purchase itself – yet there is so much more that goes on before and after that exchange of money and goods.
Once a brand can begin to turn customers into super-fans with the insights drawn from the purchase cycle, these fans will become an integral part of the cycle, encouraging others to begin their own cycle of discovery, exploration and so on. This is word of mouth, multiplied!
Up next: how to reach customers in the discovery phase of the cycle.