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Why "consideration" is the most important part of the purchase funnel

Why "consideration" is the most important part of the purchase funnel Scott Bender

Too much attention is being given toward awareness and purchase

The purchase funnel is one of the best tools marketers have for understanding and evaluating current consumer behavior. Brands and agencies have been using it as a blueprint to design promotional campaigns for decades. However, all parts of the funnel do not get equal attention. Marketers tend to focus more on awareness and purchase than anything else. Obviously, a purchase or conversion is the ultimate goal for any marketing campaign, and you won’t get it unless the consumer is aware of what you are offering and the message you're trying to convey.

The community tends to undervalue the middle of the funnel -- consideration. This is a mistake. Consideration is arguably the most important part of a customer's journey toward a purchase. Advertising to consumers while they are in this mode of thinking is vital because it's in this phase that they decide whether or not they will buy your product. A consumer can be aware of you and not buy your product, just as they can have an opinion about your brand and not purchase your goods. It's only when the consumer reaches "consideration mode" that they are making the actual decision to become a customer. This is where you should be beefing up your marketing energy.

Scott Bender, SVP of global media sales at Bazaarvoice, speaks to iMedia about why "consideration mode" is so overlooked and critical for turning awareness and opinion into preference and purchase.

Ratings and reviews are an extension of brand CRM

"Consideration mode" is a mindset of inquiry. When a consumer is in this mode of thinking, they are investigating. Today, consumers communicate with friends, family, and strangers to get information about a product they are considering buying. Thanks to the internet, ratings and reviews have become the top ways that consumers research products. It's much harder for consumers to be led (or misled) by branded advertising these days. Ratings and reviews have made brands transparent, and although they are from strangers, people trust them. Customer reviews have more credibility than a brand’s marketing department.

Brands should be learning from this to improve customer relationship management techniques. This is where a good social strategy and social media manager will really shine. Look at the reviews your brand receives and respond to criticism in a professional and helpful way. If you are managing comments and feedback well, other consumers who are in consideration mode will see your efforts and it may help sway them toward a purchase.

Scott Bender continues our conversation by explaining why ratings and reviews management are vital for a brand hoping to influence consumers while they are investigating a brand.

3 greatest challenges to reaching consumers in "consideration mode"

Capturing a consumer's attention when they are considering a purchase is a huge challenge. Consumers are busy, and when they are researching products or services they generally don't want to be further marketed to by brands. Marketers need to be subtle and creative about the ways they decide to approach potential customers when they are making a decision.

Being informative but interfering with the consumer’s experience is another great challenge marketers need to overcome. Don't forget that while consumers are in consideration mode they are looking for information, not a sales pitch. Be sensitive to the fact that any purchase is a personal decision. Don't interrupt their experience with marketing techniques that are loud and tacky.

Lastly, there is only so much that a brand can do to market while consumers are in consideration mode, so you need to be creative in the way you talk to them and where you talk to them. A consumer who is in a store is in a much different mindset than one who is watching TV. Tailor your messaging in context to where a consumer will be, and you'll feel like a more natural voice in the purchase thought process.

Scott Bender ends our conversation by explaining the three biggest challenges of reaching consumers in a consideration mode of thinking and gives tips to overcome them.

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"Glamor puss" via Shutterstock.

Scott Bender is Vice President of Advertising Sales for IGN Entertainment's Brand Group at News Corp. Digital Media. Properties include IGN, AskMen, and most recently Gamestop.com. Previous to IGN, he led the online sales efforts for Fox...

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