MGI Tipster Volume 1, Issue 2

Do you know…the basics of buyer behavior and how they apply to direct marketing?


How prospective members make their membership decisions and how buyers decide what and when to purchase is extremely complex, but a fundamental understanding of basic buyer behavior can help marketers develop their acquisition and sales strategies. This knowledge also helps shape the search for prospects, the style of messaging, and the terms of the offer.

Tip: Determining buyer behavior can be more art than science, but one thing holds true: good marketing should always be written and designed to be personal—from one person to another.

THOUGH EACH OF US IS DIFFERENT, IN MANY WAYS WE ARE MUCH THE SAME

Marketers have long recognized basic human emotional needs, such as fear (what will happen if I act, what will happen if I don’t), exclusivity (I want to be recognized as separate and apart from others), guilt (how will I feel about myself, how will others see me), greed (I want it because I want it), and need for approval (how do others feel about me). Abraham Mazlow further defined human behavior in his Hierarchy of Needs and James McClelland added to the knowledge with his Theory of Learned Needs. Both describe aspects of human behavior that can be sources of marketing persuasion.

Tip: There are numerous human emotions yet individuals are each different. That’s why marketers increasingly employ niche marketing to better target and segment their prospects.

FROM PERCEPTION TO PURCHASE, OUR SENSES AND OUR MINDS TAKE US THROUGH A PROCESS

There are many theories that describe how and why prospects make the joining and buying decisions they do, but a fundamental series of events usually takes place. First, the marketer gains the prospects’ attention, usually by sight or sound (the medium). Then, attention must be held long enough, often enough, and clearly enough so the prospect understands what the exposure is about (the message). Next, prospects try to assign meaning to the message (understanding). After that, the understood message must be memorable enough to be retained (recollection or recall). Finally, prospects can be prompted to move to a decision (motivation by emotional or rational needs).

Tip: We generally process information in a series of logical steps that leads to the decision to join or buy…or not. The decision process usually includes: Exposure Attention Interpretation Memory Decision

ATTITUDES, BELIEFS, FEELINGS, AND BEHAVIOR

Behavior can be seen in three basic ways. Sometimes, attitudes are developed by beliefs that reinforce feelings that lead to behavior. However, some attitudes are developed by behavior that reinforces beliefs that leads to feelings. Finally, some attitudes are developed by feelings that reinforce behavior that leads to beliefs. Therefore, marketers attempt to create attitudes in their prospects based on rational arguments,mood-evoked feelings, or behavioral learning. What does this mean? Simply that the challenge to stimulating action differs whether attitudes are being reinforced, created, or changed. Reinforcing attitudes and the behavior that results is easiest of the three. More difficult is creating new behavior. Most difficult of all is changing existing behavior.

Tip: To succeed, marketing plans should be designed with human behavior in mind, depending upon what the prospect is expected to do, by matching the appropriate emotional need with the kind of attitude that is being confronted.

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