The Buying Process: Using a Marketing Research Provider (Part 1 of 4)

buying process man thinking laptopThere are four unique and distinct stages that a marketing research buyer goes through in their decision-making process. Briefly, they are:

  • Status Quo
  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

Why Might You Be On the Market for Marketing Research?

There are essentially two primary reasons:

  • To avoid pain (and/or)
  • To gain something new that’s desirable

All buying decisions are made for either of these two reasons or both in some combination (not just those associated with buying marketing research). It doesn’t matter the circumstances – the buyer is either looking to avoid pain or seek gain. This is true for marketing research buying decisions as well.

Perhaps not surprisingly, when we are considering business decisions, there is often a financial aspect at play in the decision. For example, you might enter the marketing research buying process to assist in avoiding costs (pain) or helps grow revenue (gain), along with other underlying personal reasons.

Stage One of the Buying Process: Breaking the Status Quo

At this point, the potential marketing research buyer has generally no awareness of any pain, or even the opportunity to gain something new. The buyer’s current perception is that all seems good and there is no impetus to change.

Change of any kind always has a cost associated with it, so a position of status quo favors inertia in the absence of a compelling reason to change. In fact, the status quo stage is characterized by a buyer who is satisfied with the way things are. They are not aware of a problem or opportunity that needs to be investigated.

What are the compelling reasons to break the status quo? Marketing research:

  • helps the buyer make better decisions and reduces risk. What’s the cost of failure? Oftentimes the benefits of marketing research outweigh the cost and provide the information that can help the buyer feel more confident about their marketing decisions.
  • keeps the buyer focused on their target customers. It serves to bring the customer perspective continually into the boardroom and makes customers the focal point for decision-making.
  • helps the buyer determine which options will be effective and efficient. In marketing, we spend a lot of time choosing between options, and marketing research is the only way to know which choice will be the winner.
  • helps prioritize so the buyer can focus on what is important. How much “busyness” is being spent on marketing activities that are truly “important”? How can the buyer decide to stop doing something, if the buyer doesn’t know whether it is important or unimportant?
  • gives the buyer a competitive advantage. The information the buyer obtains is exclusive to them (proprietary). Marketing research is used to attain information about competitors where the buyer can identify their strengths and weaknesses and gain clues about their future strategies.
  • keeps the buyer relevant and future-focused. Marketing research allows the buyer to stay ahead of change by identifying and understanding trends, behavior, and perceptions that impact customers. It’s the foundation of the buyer’s strategic and tactical plans.

A buyer progresses from the status quo stage to the awareness stage by becoming aware of pain to resolve or gain to pursue. The next blog post will address the second stage in the marketing research buyer’s journey – awareness.

The 4 Stages of the Buying Process

  1. Status Quo
  2. Awareness
  3. Consideration
  4. Decision

Watch our blog for details on each stage, and join the conversation on LinkedIn any time!