Over time, we’ve evolved in terms of how we’ve used technology to assist us with our buying decisions.  The attributes we used to use to narrow down the range of brands we consider has changed. We don’t want any ‘product name’, we want the one that best meets our needs. 

The research indicates that over the past 15 years searches based on ‘cheap’ have declined, significantly while the trend on searching for ‘best’ has moved in entirely the opposite direction. 

The turning point came in around 2009 suggesting a move from making a decision based on rational and objective factors towards more emotional and subjective factors.

Google remarks, “As the internet has grown, it has transformed from a tool for comparing prices to a tool for comparing everything.”

The drawing of the decision-making journey really tickles me. It’s just not how many business people see it. We much prefer the picture of there being a trigger, a request for information and a purchase (hopefully or our brand). Nothing could be further from the truth as is captured by this image.

CRAZY Scribble
…now that’s more like it. And as a consumer (rather than the brand strategist) it resonates with me.

So what does the ‘Scribble’ represent? The many touchpoints available to the shopper, eg:

  • Search engines
  • Review sites
  • Forums
  • Interest groups/Clubs
  • Retailer sites
  • Aggregators
  • Blogging sites
  • Voucher/coupon sites
  • Branded sites
  • Publishers
  • Noticeboards

And there are many outside of the internet.

The research indicates a back and forth, to and fro mental process with the exploring and evaluating products or service options being key.

“Sending the wrong signal at the wrong moment could be highly disruptive, with the result that the offending brand is jettisoned from the shopper’s consideration set,” comments Google.

This has powerful implications for sales and marketing teams. As you can see, you can’t rush the shopper, they have control and as the expert, you need to provide them with the level of detail, when they want it, and in a format that best suits them. It’s definitely not about “Us” it’s about “Them” and how they choose to interact with us.

This is part two of our “Messy Middle” series, next week we’ll explore how exposure affects the purchase decision-making process. Click here to read part one.

To download the full report from Google click here.