Tag Archives: The Perfect Answer

The Spiral Path

Every consumer’s purchase decision process can be simplified into five stages:

  1. Activation – The awareness there’s a need to be met.
  2. Nomination – The selection of various choices to evaluate.
  3. Investigation and Decision – Learning about and evaluating the choices before actually buying.
  4. Retention – Using the product/service and deciding upon repeat purchases.
  5. Recommendation – Referring (or warning against) the product/service.

But marketers rarely discuss the different ways men and women go through these stages.  Men typically complete each stage in a linear fashion, with the goal of reaching a good solution. Women, on the other hand, follow a spiral path – looping through the stages, asking around and investigating more options. Their goal is to reach the perfect answer. See the graphic below:

Spiral Path

See a larger version of The Spiral Path

Almost all marketing departments approach consumer decision-making from the linear path. But there are significant differences to how the spiral path should affect your efforts. These are the four key disparities on which to concentrate:

  1. Women start the process differently by asking around.
  2. Women pursue a different outcome by seeking the perfect answer.
  3. Women seek more information and investigate more options.
  4. Women’s influence on your sales success doesn’t end with their purchase, as the spiral path contains a feedback loop.

Is your marketing department equipped to handle the differences between men and women in decision-making? How do you think this is affecting your ability to compete in the marketplace?