The Complete Considered Purchase Guide
What Is a Considered Purchase?
A considered purchase is characterized by a complex buying decision with a high degree of financial and/or emotional risk and reward. This process requires meaningful investigation and comparison by key decision-makers and influencers prior to a transaction.
Considered Purchase Industries
Any retail purchase that involves research before buying or involves multiple stakeholders is a considered purchase. Consumer durables like mattresses, appliances, and large electronics are obvious categories where considered purchase marketing methodologies apply. But considered purchase marketing works even for off-the-shelf brands breaking into new audience segments, releasing new products, or trying to get consumers to see them in a different way.
A considered purchase product requires high involvement in the path to purchase from both the brand and the consumer — with both parties significantly benefiting from considered purchase marketing methodologies. Considered purchase products and services span B2C and B2B categories.
Maintaining ongoing value to subscription service customers is vital in both the pre- and post-sale experience because these services come with recurring fees that give the customer the opportunity to regularly evaluate the service. For example, we saw the evolution of Netflix from a DVD mail service to a full content creator and provider. Similarly, Hulu started creating its own content, and recently Disney+ landed on the scene, providing classics and new content that has helped shape the market.
With the typical B2B new customer sales cycle lasting 4-6 months, the industrial services category often uses considered purchase marketing methodologies. Even existing B2B customers require 1-3 months to make another purchase. The sales cycle is longer, the dollar amounts are higher investments, and decisions include multiple stakeholders, which means there is a high-touch approach needed to closing industrial service deals.
People don’t take matters of money lightly, making any decision involving financial services a considered purchase. Whether they’re choosing a personal bank to handle their checking and savings accounts, or a financial group to handle a company acquisition, the path to purchase is one made with thought and consideration. For our banking clients like Union Savings Bank and Community Services Financial Bank, we were able to apply considered purchase methodologies to extend their reach and map their purchase process to meet their customers where they are.
Whether you’re an individual in search of a new doctor or senior care service, or a B2B healthcare provider selling medical technology, a healthcare decision falls into a considered purchase category. Both B2C and B2B healthcare audiences look to online content to educate themselves before making a healthcare decision. In fact, more than 80% of Americans look for health information online. Unlike many industries, though, the healthcare industry must take into strong consideration the optics involved in marketing — balancing that fine line between selling and showing concern for the well-being of patients/customers.
Utilizing strategies from considered purchase methodology will lead to better retail activation and, in turn, better communication plans. These plans will identify your target personas, the kinds/types of content they need, the right channels for content delivery, and the metrics by which you measure success.
Marketing Differences between Considered Purchase and Impulse Purchase
If you’ve ever been to a major retailer, grocery store, or even a gas station, you’ve noticed they have conveniently placed items by the check-out that are hard to resist — those are impulse buys. Other purchases take more time, research, review finding, blog reading, and planning — those are considered purchases.
Successfully navigating either type of purchase requires a great understanding of your consumers’ psychology throughout the purchase path. The differences between impulse and considered purchases can be narrowed down to three key areas:
- In an impulse buying situation, knowledge of the product isn’t as important as the "sticky-ness" of the brand (their ability to stick in your brain), making brand awareness crucial. Since the buyer ultimately learns more post-purchase, the main driver here is the excitement generated about the purchase and the interest in the brand. Marketers of these types of products should spend larger portions of their budget on awareness and brand-building techniques that are recognized at the point of sale, and across all channels where their audience is likely to be influenced.
- During the process of a considered purchase, the consumer often starts their journey because of a particular pain point, or problem that arises. Once that pain point is identified, they begin to research and compare solutions for said problem, thus beginning their journey down the purchase path. Context is crucial during every stage of the journey — the marketer must deliver the right kind of content and information at the exact point the customer needs it.
- Unlike impulse buying marketing, focusing considered purchase messaging only on deals or sales doesn't work because price is not the key motivator, fixing the problem is. Content marketing can be crucial to providing the consumer with awareness, relatable experience, and has shown to increase sales 6x higher than those who don’t. Content marketing can also be essential for B2B product awareness, with nearly half of all buyers viewing 3-5 content pieces before engaging with a sales rep about a product.
- Impulse purchase influence marketing relies heavily on the consumer seeing someone they know or recognize using a product. While fact-checking may not be of the highest priority during an impulse buy, social proof and perception of the influence is. So if the consumer believes the influencer is telling the truth or actually uses the product, they’ll buy it, too.
- Considered purchase marketing doesn't aim to overtly influence via social proof, but rather instill confidence in the buyer through the quality of educational content and quantity of ratings and reviews. Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center released an online ebook that found: “Reviews are more impactful for higher-priced and higher-consideration products. There’s a higher risk involved with purchasing an expensive item, a new brand, or a product that affects personal safety. Retailers can help consumers overcome this risk by providing additional reviews for these products.”
- By focusing on improving and leveraging their ratings and reviews, considered purchase brands gain credibility and establish a process by which they garner more reviews from happy customers.
- Impulse buying happens in a very compact funnel — the customer sees a product, they want said product, and they buy said product. Many times, much of the work is done through brand recognition and awareness before the customer gets to the point of sale. But with most impulse buys, the marketer must wisely fit the entire sales journey into small pieces of content that are absorbed within a few seconds.
- In a considered purchase funnel, there’s a higher risk of the buyer jumping out at any point where they feel like the brand isn’t solving their pain point or meeting their needs. Keeping a buyer fully engaged throughout their journey is of the utmost importance to a considered purchase marketer.
- The best way to understand how to communicate with your consumer is to understand those who purchased your product, through research and data collection. You can then use this information to communicate to your consumer across their entire purchase path. Icon calls this our "bottom-up approach" to the sales funnel, where we optimize based on data from the consumer behaviors that lead to a sale.
Considered purchase buyers are sponges, always looking to soak up as much information as they can before making their final decision, which means you’ll need to have any and all information they might need readily available. People love how-to and explainer videos, rich blog content, and any other form of content that gives a better understanding of what they’re about to purchase. Your product and services pages should be robust — full of pricing, comparisons, details, and images so buyers can see exactly what they’re getting and why it’s better than the competition.
When establishing or identifying your ideal customer persona, it’s more important to establish the “why” than a specific “who.” Painting a broad and robust picture allows you to more effectively and efficiently bring buyers into your sales funnel and provide them with pertinent information that resonates with them. You need to understand how your persona views the problem, evaluates the solution, and what will ultimately make them pull the trigger to make a purchase. If you understand why buyers are looking for your product, you can speak to the solution they're seeking, rather than just push features of your product that may not directly hit home.
A successful content strategy provides context for the buyer as they move along the stages of their journey, gathering different content at different times according to their changing needs. That content should also be able to move them along to the next stage of their journey, closer to the bottom of the funnel. For example, if your buyer reads a blog post that educates them on how to identify the kind of problem they’re currently experiencing, don’t leave them there, simply validating their problem exists. Use marketing automation to suggest other content that will give you insights into both their motivations and their place in the journey. If they read another blog, they might not be ready to make a purchase and are still educating themselves. But if they go straight to a demo of how your product clearly solves their problem, you'll know they're priming themselves for a sales conversation.
By utilizing marketing automation platforms that allow you to collect data from multiple touch-points across the customer's journey, you’ll be able to serve them content as they need it and avoid frustrating wastes of time.
In many cases, a considered purchase decision requires earning the trust of more than one purchase decision-maker. Here are a few ways to gain trust across all considered purchase stakeholders:
People like to feel like they’re talking to people and not some faceless organization, even in a B2B transaction, so it’s important to connect on a personal level to develop trust in your brand by humanizing it. Having someone dedicated to answer questions online, on the phone, or through social channels can help add a sense of human touch.
Being authentic is at the heart of earning trust. Customers see through fake sales pitches and “key benefits.” They want something real, that they can see, hear and touch. Use your company's story to help customers identify with you and your mission.
How you handle mistakes and tough situations can go a long way in helping customers gain trust in your brand. They want to see that you’re willing to admit mistakes and do what’s right by them. If you get a bad review on social media, don’t hide it or delete it. Address it head-on and your customers will appreciate it.
Considered purchase sales don’t happen because of the flash or the great deal customers are going to get. Consumers are in search of solutions that add value to their experience along the way. Improved communication strategies that deliver content not only set you apart from the competition, but also solve consumers' problems. These strategies are an important investment.
You can’t say one thing and then do another. People will notice. You have to remain consistent across all touch-points to reinforce that what you say and do is deeply ingrained in your brand and in the consumer experience.
- Conventional marketing wisdom leads us to focus on filling the top of the funnel, with the belief that that will lead to the most sales. So leveraging awareness-level content is where you should start. But while this practice may be effective, it can involve a significant amount of time and money to try to speak to all the different audiences, at all the points, all the way through the funnel.
- We believe that focusing on the leads at the bottom of the funnel first allows you to understand your end consumer, identify their behaviors and apply that knowledge into lead conversion that moves interested consumers into active customers.
What Happens When You Focus Your Marketing on Leads at the Bottom of the Funnel First?
- Quick wins that improve lead conversions, morale, and effectiveness of the marketing team.
- Better data on what led customers to the point of purchase that you can use to make the top of the funnel less of a guessing game.
- Higher-quality leads for your sales team due to using data to optimize your nurturing and marketing automation strategies.
- A more optimized, funnel because you'll know what tactics to spend time and money on as well as what isn't worth pursuing.
Starting at the bottom of the funnel requires you to spend time on the people who already know you, who have subscribed to your email list, downloaded content, engaged with your company on social media, and are interested in a trial, demo, or consultation. Understanding who they are and how your product solves their problem allows you to understand and identify the most likely potential customers at the top of the funnel, and optimize your communication plan and messaging specifically for them.
Our considered purchase approach to marketing
Our considered purchase approach to marketing is a sustainable methodology that sets you up for long-term success.
- We gain an intimate understanding of the consumer-to-customer mindset throughout the entire purchasing journey.
- We identify the roadmap of potential purchase paths — far beyond awareness — as well as multi-channel identification within each B2B, B2C, and DTC client funnel.
Activating the considered purchase approach
By deep-diving into your target buyer’s mindset, we identify the right levers that need to be switched on (and off) to transform consumers into customers. In effect, we turn your purchase funnel upside down to connect both rationally and emotionally sooner and more effectively.
- Interpret historical data and ID meaningful metrics from the purchase path of current and prospective customers who are the closest to close.
- Create an engagement roadmap based on this information that will lead to successful potential purchase paths.
- Use the momentum and revenue gained from these closed sales to fund efforts further up the funnel.
- Employ marketing automation to bring content within the context of the decision-maker’s stage in the buyer’s journey.
- Engage with buyers in the right channels at the right time with the right message to move the right customers closer to decision.
- Reference data from qualifying marketing automation efforts to create and adjust content that activates awareness-level consumers to become leads.
- Optimize paid campaign spends and messaging.
- Incentive word-of-mouth marketing from brand advocates to bring in new leads.
Still not sure about the considered purchase approach?
Then think about this: What could you do with the following assets?
- A deeper understanding of your customer on both a micro and macro level
- Actionable strategies and automated execution that are highly measurable in effectiveness
- Access to hyper-accurate data analysis that better informs creative direction
- More sales-qualified leads and maximized ROI for every dollar you spend
- True prospect-to-customer paths to make your marketing program self-sustaining