Consumer Decision Making

Consumer Decision Making is crucial for companies to consider when carrying out marketing processes. There are 5 commonly recognized steps in the consumer decision making process. First and foremost, consumers recognize a need, problem or imbalance in their everyday lives. The marketing objective should be to resolve this issue by presenting a product or service that satisfies the consumer’s need. The second step in the process is the internal information search, also known as the process of recalling past information that is already present in the consumer’s memory. Prior to conducting searches to collect information, consumers tend to think about past experiences that are relevant to the discovered problem or imbalance. After the internal information search has occurred, consumers then focus on the external information search and begin researching products or services in the outside environment that fit their needs. External information searches can consist of consultations with friends, searches on the Internet or even inquiring professionals in designated areas of expertise. Consumers develop an evoked or consideration set of brands or options from which they can choose to purchase a good or service. Once the consumer has gathered sufficient information to fulfill the desired need, they enter the purchase decision phase. The purchase decision involves determining whether to buy, as well as when, what, where and how to pay for the product or service. After completing the purchase, consumers begin to experience post-purchase behavior. Post-purchase behavior can result in a wide array of emotions depending on the type of purchase and financial situation of the consumer. If the purchase involves a high level of involvement and commitment, the customer may exhibit cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is defined as inner tension experienced after recognizing an inconsistency between behavior and values or opinions (MKTG 5.0). In order to avoid possible cognitive dissonance, consumers should carefully consider their options and needs prior to engaging in the purchase decision process.

Seminarski Diplomski provided this illustration of the common steps in the Consumer Decision Making Process

Seminarski Diplomski provided this illustration of the common steps in the Consumer Decision Making Process

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