Small Business Marketing: How Customers Make Buying Decisions

Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Developing winning tactics along customers’ buying journey using data, applying smart digital marketing ideas and creating amazing website experiences will increase SMBs' chances of attracting customers to their website and stores.

Marketing Funnel or Customer Decision Funnel or Old School Marketing

Picture 1

According to this school of thought, there are essentially four stages of customer decision journey:

  1. Awareness: Customer gets to know your brand.

  2. Consideration: Customer evaluates various options available to make the buying decision.

  3. Purchase: Customer buys from you and consumes the product/service.

  4. Repurchase: Customer returns to buy from you.

This linear buying journey has dominated the thinking of most marketing professionals for decades. Based on this thinking this is how the marketing campaigns may look have looked like in the past.

Old School Mass Media Approach
Old School Mass Media Approach

Picture 2 - How it used to be: Bombard customers with different kinds of ads and hope they will take action

Over a decade ago, this is how marketing professionals thought customers buy products.

  • It was assumed that customers know what they need OR mass media would advertise new products/services to “create a need”.

  • Use different kinds of mass media channels like TV, radio, flyers, newspaper ads, and so on to create awareness and offer deals.

  • Open storefronts.

  • Customers will come.

However today, this is what customers’ journey looks like now.

New Customer Decision Journey
New Customer Decision Journey

Picture 3 - How the customer journey may look like today: Non-linear, sometimes confusing.

When customers identify a need or something new they want to buy, they have multiple options to learn and evaluate their options. The journey is no longer linear. Customers may choose to go back and forth. They may begin their journey in the consideration stage; but may come across a new brand as a result of smart digital marketing tactics; to learn more about the new option, customers may go back into the awareness stage; perform more research; and perhaps, replace the old option (your brand) with a new one (your competitor’s).

How to ensure that your business always remains a viable option for consideration?

Digital Marketing tactics like programmatic marketing and Google Ads are some of the smart ways to maintain your brand’s position as one of the viable options. Programmatic marketing helps to target web users who have exhibited certain behaviours or are consuming certain content of their interest. Google Ads can target users who type certain Keywords in Google. Your Digital Marketing agency should provide in-depth information of such marketing channels and tactics. However…

How do you know whom to target? What kind of behaviours to target? What should the ad look like? What kind of deal should you provide to entice the users?

Analytical tools have made it easy for businesses to measure the return on ad dollars spent (RoAS) or return on investment (RoI). Example: If you have Google’s Analytics tool to measure digital media campaigns, it can tell you channels of user acquisition, time, geographic locations and number of clicks on your site. But that’s just a start. Today, businesses can build or integrate Dashboards and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to identify the top products or customer segments that drive high revenue or profitability. Harvesting data and developing insights about customers have become essential steps to drive customer acquisition in ALL the stages of customer journey. Success of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) will soon depend on their ability to harvest customer data and developing insights.

Why it is important for Small Businesses to transform (change) the way they do business?

Pictures 4 from HBR article. Link below.

Have a look at these numbers published in Harvard Business Review article for more info: The Gap Between Large and Small Companies Is Growing. Why?

It is evident from the study that companies, who have enjoyed growth and high market values are the ones who have invested in intangibles like R&D, brand development, technology and human resources. Investment and Growth go hand-in-hand.

Data analysis, insights and digital marketing have changed the competitive landscape. SMBs no longer have to compete with large companies with big pockets to gain the attention of their customers.

Today they can carve out their niche customer segments, send relevant marketing messages to their target audience and attract high value web traffic to their websites.

As with physical store locations, SMBs are also responsible for creating user experience on their websites worthy of converting the web traffic into qualified leads and foot traffic. Analytical tools also help businesses to understand the behaviours of their web users on their website and modify customer workflows accordingly.

How we can help you?

We understand that capital to invest in something new and knowledge of analytical tools are the primary challenges faced by local business owners. At ScaleUp42, using our data analysis and insights development services, we help our clients to build a strong, insight-driven foundation to build value generating customer journeys and web experience. We build continuous learning cycles that enable us to provide best recommendations, create highly impactful digital marketing campaigns and qualified leads generating websites.

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