The Consumer Buying Decision How Social Media Has Changed Consumer Behavior by anamaulida


									The Consumer Buying Decision in the Digital Age: How Social Media has
altered the marketThe buying of a product is an evolutionary process. In
earlier times the process was this:A consumer starts with many brands to
choose from
The original number is whittled down
A final choice is made
Buying decision is madeIn the new social media world, the buying decision
has evolved to this:Consider the product
Evaluate the product
A choice is made-closure
Post PurchaseThe source for much of the material in my article comes from
two places."Branding in the digital age" which appeared in 12/10 issue of
The Harvard Business Review, was written by David C. Edelman. A second
source was "The consumer decision journey" written by David Court, David
Elizinga, and Susan Mulder, which appeared McKinsey Quarterly, June
2009.In a modern market consumers connect with brands in fundamentally
new ways. Much of the information that consumers get is through social
media platforms that marketers many times cannot control. There is an
explosion of products and product information from sources of information
that organizations can't influence, but which have a great impact upon if
a product is going to be purchased. The paradigm has changed from a
"push" world, in which products are produced and pushed upon consumers,
to a present day "pull" market place in which consumers pull products
from the shelves. In old media, a consumer was given a choice of products
in a category and a choice was made. In a new media age, a consumer
interacts a great deal on digital platforms, which provide a wide array
of products and alternatives. The consumer now remains engaged in the
product, through social media, after the purchase is made. In today's
market a major influence in the purchasing of a product is someone else's
advocacy.The buying decision is a journey: the journey is made up of 6
parts. (1)There is a consideration of brands. (2) There is an evaluation
of the brands through the input of peers, reviewers and others. (3) A
product is bought. (4) The product is enjoyed. (5) A bond is created
between product and consumer. (6) The consumer becomes an advocate. The
goal of marketing has always been to influence consumers at just the
moment that a purchasing moment is going to be made. Marketing is about
touch points, places where the consumer is open to influence. Social
media platforms have created newer touch points for a consumer and a
marketer must adjust to that reality. Customer loyalty has changed.
Customers aren't loyal to brands; they are loyal to their friends. Modern
organizations must learn how to "friend" their customer if a brand is
going to be effective. Knowing how to "friend" a customer is something
that marketer must learn to do for a customer buy their product.Brand
awareness is the first important step in both old and new media. In old
media, a consumer begins with knowledge of a group of brands, and then
whittles that roster down. In new media, he becomes aware of a few
brands, and then new information is given to him through the internet,
and the number of original alternative brands increases. The awareness
stage is a distinct paradigm change in marketing. Instead of a few
products that can be pushed on the consumer, there are a great many
products that a consumer can choose from. The market is now a pull
environment.Traditional marketing is important, but the new touch points
(social media) mean that branding has to be done in a different way. The
adoption of a brand is now through "influencers" friends, family
relatives, and peer groups. In the awareness stage, with many offerings
in each category, a company has to build trust with individuals.
Marketers and consumers must become friends. Products must have a
significant purpose for a consumer to purchase them. A personal
relationship is the means by which this is done. Another big change
between old and new media is that the post purchase experience shapes the
opinion of the consumer and this influences subsequent purchases.In
today's marketplace, with the advent of social media platforms, brand
loyalty for a product is not strong. Social media gives a marketer
constant opportunity to convert a consumer.Social media allows a marketer
to create loyalty in a way that awareness and loyalty couldn't be
achieved before. Recently, Ford created awareness for the Fiesta, a year
and half before it even came on the market. By having dedicated agents
tweet, create posts and blogs large numbers of people wanted a
relationship with the car before it even exited. This allowed Ford to
create a "friendship" with its customer and to have a "conversation".
Consumers are more influenced by their friends than with big brands. A
comparison between the Fiesta and the Fusion can be example of this. At
the end of Ford's social media campaign, 38% of Ford's target group was
aware of the Fiesta. This is the same amount of awareness that market had
for the Fusion that had been on the market for over two years and Ford
had spend millions on conventional advertising.This is why Ford's Fiesta
campaign was a case study for contemporary marketers to follow. When the
Fiesta did come on the market, 12,000 were sold, the closure stage. It
will be interesting to what happens next. Will there be loyalty. Ford and
Fiesta buyers had a lot of experiences together. During the campaign
there were 5 million engagements of social networking sights, 11,000
videos were posted, and 15,000 were made, 13,000 photos taken. Ford
created a lot of "friends" during the Fiesta campaign. It will be
interesting to see if this translates into strong loyalty for the car or
for continued buzz on social networks and if this influences the
purchasing of the car.

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