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?

This entry was posted in Differences between women and men, How women buy, Women as customers and tagged , on by .

About Marti

To The Huffington Post, she’s “the High Priestess of Marketing to Women;” to TIME magazine, “the Chief Rabbi of the Sheconomy.” Renowned business guru Tom Peters calls her “the First Lady of Marketing to Women” and says she “is one of the best presenters, male or female, I’ve ever seen.” Marti Barletta shows you how to get more customers, make more money per customer and keep customers loyal longer - simply by getting smarter about women. Her first book, Marketing to Women, is available in 19 languages,” and her latest book, PrimeTime Women, focuses in on the market’s high-spending sweet spot - Boomer women in their mid-life prime – and shows marketers how to use this prime segment’s growth, size and buying power to propel their business for the next 20 years. As the go-to authority on marketing to women, women in leadership and women’s growing role in shaping the 21st century, Barletta has been quoted on CBS, ABC, MSNBC and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, USA Today, Fast Company, TIME, Business Week, Inc., and many other publications worldwide. Ms. Barletta’s consulting clients have included Diageo, Ford, Kodak, Pfizer, Volvo Worldwide and others. A popular speaker internationally, she has enjoyed rave reviews on every continent except Antarctica, including in Australia, Chile, Dubai, Japan and Sweden. She has spoken for hundreds of companies, conferences and associations; and across dozens of industries, including consumer products, financial services, travel and tourism, retail and real estate development, to name a few. She is proud to say that numerous clients have booked her for return appearances. Her dynamic style, command of her subject and passion for her topic make her a popular speaker. Audiences love her practical tactics tailored to the interests of each audience, her lively style and sense of humor, and her memorable stories about men, women and marketing. Specialties:I show you how to attract more customers, keep them longer, and earn more money from every customer simply by getting smarter about today's mightiest market - women.

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