Every consumer’s purchase decision process can be simplified into five stages:
- Activation – The awareness there’s a need to be met.
- Nomination – The selection of various choices to evaluate.
- Investigation and Decision – Learning about and evaluating the choices before actually buying.
- Retention – Using the product/service and deciding upon repeat purchases.
- 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:
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:
- Women start the process differently by asking around.
- Women pursue a different outcome by seeking the perfect answer.
- Women seek more information and investigate more options.
- 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?