The first stage for any agency drafting a marketing communications strategy is to identify, research and ensure understanding of the brand’s target market together with their buyer behaviour. Buyer behaviour is not as simple as you might think. Brands cannot simply choose an audience and think they know how to communicate with them. Buyers respond in different ways to the continual and relentless marketing communications aimed at them. There will be general buyer behaviour practices but also variables such as motivation, perception, adaptability, memory, attitude, personality, pre-disposition and group behaviour (the collective).
Understanding buyer behaviour can be gained from asking five questions;
- Who is the buyer? (target market or decision-making body)
- Why do they buy? (or why they don’t buy your product or your competitors)
- How do they buy? (behavioural patterns)
- When do they buy? (when can determine where)
- Where do they buy? (a fragmented market place leads to accessibility)
Of these questions, marketing managers really need to know ‘why’ the audience buys. The answers won’t be constant, the buying behaviour of a target market is constantly changing. Their reasons change, the market changes, the products change, competition changes and of course technology changes. A brand sending out their communications in adverts to their target audience may do well one year and have a disaster the next. A brand may use an agency to develop their communications strategy and then go it alone thereafter only to find it stops working because a new app has been launched which changes their target audience’s buying behaviour.
The amount of effort a consumer is prepared to put into any purchase depends on the amount of money spent, how often they will need to buy and the perception of risk. If it is a new car, the risk is high, the expense is high, buyer behaviour changes and the message of the advertising needs to change. If it is a tin of baked beans, it is a routine purchase, risk is low, frequency high, expense low etc. The buyer behaviour in that example will be fast decision making and low involvement with the product.
The marketing manager must understand the buyer behaviour of their target market, before, during and after purchase. Good qualitative research will reveal insights into that behaviour and so too will the latest PEST research. Buying models like A.I.D.A will help understand the stages through which the buyer passes offering a checklist for which to compare marketing strategies. With better understanding of the buyer behaviour, brands can gain greater ROI from their marketing communications.
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PEST – Political, Economic, Social, Technological
AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action
YouCom Media News, Nov 2017, London, ‘Buyer Behaviour.’