In this segment of Back to marketing basics let’s talk about what makes consumers buy my brand? Recall in an earlier post, we talked about the 6 weapons of influence. Weapons of influence still work to make consumers buy, but they’re not the only factors to consider.
What makes consumers buy?
Other factors that make consumers want to buy your brand come from psychology and sociology. These factors fall into 4 categories:
- psychological factors
- social factors
- situational factors
So, let’s take a look at each on of these.
Under psychological factors in what makes consumers buy, we talk about things like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs — which basically says that consumers buy to satisfy a variety of needs and prioritize purchases to satisfy lower level needs until those have all been met.
Maslow’s hierarchy looks something like this:
From a marketing perspective, if you can help consumers identify your product with a lower level need, you’ll likely be more successful. The hierarchy of needs also helps you position yourself in a different space than competitors, which might give you competitive advantage.
For example, Volvo and Firestone don’t promote themselves for their performance, they promote the safety of their products — which is lower on the hierarchy than esteem needs which reflect a need for performance.
Notice the position of social needs. This is what makes social media work so well.
Psychological factors also include perception, learning, and lifestyle. We’ll talk about these another day, but lifestyle is important for the next section. Lifestyle involves how you decide to spend your time and money — what’s important to you, what you enjoy doing, etc.
We most often hear that sentiment (or satisfaction) is what makes consumers buy your brand. Certainly having a positive image helps sell your brand. But, that’s a very low bar. We have positive sentiment about lots of things and we can’t buy ALL of them.
A more important attitude, especially from a social media perspective, is that a product is “FOR ME”. What this means is that I can seem myself with this product. And, seeing friends using the product is one of the best ways to begin seeing a product as “for me”. Lifestyle has a big impact on seeing things as for you. So do your values and social relationship.
Now, we come to the core of what makes social media such a valuable tool in determining what makes consumers buy.
Social factors are those groups that influence everything about who you are: your attitudes, beliefs, values, lifestyle, etc. So, who are these groups?
Well family is your first important influence. You spend most of your first 5 years with your family. You observe them and mimic their behavior, speech, and adopt their ways of consuming products because you have no other reference that’s as important to you as your family.
Quickly, however, you expand your world to include other groups, such as reference groups. These are folks like your friends, your team, a club, or some other important group of people. You ALLOW them to influence you because you want them to like you and you become aware of new things through your reference groups.
So, when a friend or family member mentions on their Facebook page about a new movie or restaurant they though was good, you’re motivated to try the movie or restaurant. Even checking in at a location or being photographed wearing a new product is a motivating factor.
Culture, especially pop culture (celebrities and athletes, music and film), also impacts what consumers want to buy. We want to wear the clothes like a famous actor or enjoy Starbucks like a famous athlete. In fact, Starbucks didn’t even advertise until recently because the celebrity magazines always shot photos of beautiful folks carrying cup of their Joe.
Situational factors are things that happen at the moment. For instance, the crowding around the holidays is unpleasant for many people, who now do much of their holiday shopping online. Restaurants use situational factors such as colors and music to encourage folks to buy more or eat faster, which impacts their market performance.
Emotions are another big factor that makes consumers buy. People spend more when they’re happy and less when annoyed or frustrated — even when the brand isn’t part of what annoyed or frustrated them.
So, creating an environment that’s happy, friendly, warm, and inviting will improve your market performance.
Because folks are often happy when connecting with friends and family on social networks, these are perfect places to market your brand — when everyone is already feeling good. However, putting ads in the middle of their fun times may actually hurt your brand, by making users annoyed. Better to just join in the conversation and be “one of the guys” to bring your brand up without being disruptive.
Whether you need a complete social media marketing strategy or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel or developing a market information system that matches your needs. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.