In our last article, The New Product Decision Model: The Double Spiral Part I, we talked about the current marketing landscape and how the sales funnel of consumer purchasing was arguably dead. In the internet thought-bubble, it’s easy to get caught up on specifics like shapes and terminology, but we think we make a good case for what we call “The Double Spiral”.
The Double Spiral conveys the ideal of two-way motion, intertwined. The inward part of the spiral is the new paradigm of the consumer purchase method. Instead of being told what to think, consumers educate themselves from a multitude of sources until they are ready to purchase on their terms. Once they purchase, they hit the conversion point, and begin the second, longer lasting part of their journey.
The Outward Spiral
Envisioning the product decision making process as a consumer with the double spiral analogy means there are two distinct parts of the consumer – brand relationship: the connection before making a purchase, and the relationship after a product purchase has been made.
In the first part of the spiral, the consumer is picking up advice (whether purposefully or subconsciously), leading to an array of knowledge and perceptions about brands before making a decision. Because touch points relied on more heavily are personal connections to the product rather than traditional advertising, brand association is now more important than ever. The perceptions tied between your product and brand are irrevocably linked; thus, the social discussion surrounding your product is vital to the success or failure of your brand.
Because of the personal connections consumers now have with the products they decide to purchase, what does this mean for brands?
Once a consumer has decided to make a product purchase, they now continue into the outward spiral as an advocate of your brand. Because they have identified on a personal level with your brand and decided to associate themselves with your product, they have decidedly become a representative for your product. Now, rather than asking friends for recommendations, they have become the recommender. They follow future happenings of your brand on social media and maintain ongoing loyalty with your brand. This is how what used to be a one-and-done sale now has the amplified ability to create far more sales down the road.
What happens if a customer has a bad experience? Same as a customer with a good experience, a negative encounter with a brand can inspire the public feedback of a customer. In fact, customers are more likely to voluntarily preach about a brand after a bad experience than a good one.
Here’s what interesting: as reported by Jay Buerck in Technorati, when customers are asked for a post interaction review, they are more likely to give positive reviews. A conversation is inevitable. It will happen with or without you. Brands that take part of the conversation, and take initiative are likely to benefit from the consumer decision process that is the Double Spiral.
The key notion here is the relationship aspect of influencing a product decision. Consumers want to identify with brands, and want to connect with them on a deeper level than a simple provider of services or products.
Adapting to this concept of influencing product decisions means engaging with your audience on a human level. Utilizing social interaction in your product promotion is an essential component of a successful business: not only by talking to your audience about your products, but encouraging your audience to discuss your products with their friends, family, and coworkers. Audience engagement builds excitement and drives social sharing to expand the size and scope of your spectators.
The one-way model of brand talking to consumer is no longer relevant. Rather, it’s a constant two-way conversation, between brand and customer.