10th August 2013
The ways in which potential customers respond to marketing communications has been subjected to rigorous scrutiny and refined over decades. E.K. Strong’s AIDA principle, ‘attention, interest, desire, action,’ is perhaps the best known of these, still quoted by many marketers, but in contemporary terms, it is a very simplistic model.
There is no doubt that the more complex business environment we face today requires a new, three-dimensional behavioural model based on the effective awareness, control and management of the three states defined below:
What is the meaning of the information?
Recognition – to sense the information.
Reasoning – to think about the information in order to find results or draw conclusions.
Reflection – to reconsider or reaffirm thought processes.
Response – to start to form conclusions, subject to connective processes.
How do I feel about this information?
Empathy – to identify with the issues raised. Emotion – to have strong feelings about these issues.
Esteem – to value the proposed solution, benefits and brand attributes.
Energy – to make an effort, desire to make contact.
How will I act on these thoughts and feelings?
Fact Find – to probe, information gather.
Formulation – to develop ideas and intentions.
Finalise – to refine, distil, crystallize.
Follow Through – implement decision – either purchase or referral, depending on the nature of the client or channel relationship.
The order of these states is defined by the degree of involvement required in order to make a purchasing decision. B2B markets tend to work with high-involvement decision-making that supports the ‘natural’ order of cognitive (thinking), connective (feeling) and conative (doing) dimensions.
Generally, the prospective client will be seeking assurance about the company and the product in order to feel the level of trust to complete a purchasing decision. In the first instance, the purchaser is driven by the need to gather information (cognitive state), so they can feel assured (connective state), before they are comfortable to complete (conative state) the transaction.
This is particularly characteristic of complex, high-risk, infrequent transactions.
The fashion industry operates in a similar dimension, yet with the dominant emotional bias, the order and emphasis changes to create a connective – cognitive – conative decision-making pathway.
Low-purchasing decisions may be conative – cognitive – connective in the case of daily purchases of staple consumer goods or conative – connective – cognitive in the case of an impulse purchase.