We’ve all had that moment when we have purchased something we have later regretted or wondered what sort of headspace we were in to even consider such a purchase. 

How and what we buy all depends on how we make decisions at a particular point in time. 

If you’re working on campaigns to drive customers to purchase, it’s useful to look at the ways people purchase and what process drives them to buy a particular item or service. For communications and marketing to be effective, it is important for it to appeal to each kind of decision maker to ensure all types of prospective customers are being reached. 

It all comes down to what type of decision maker we are. There are four types of decision modes that affect how we buy:

  • Methodical – it’s not about making a quick decision, but rather taking time to digest all relevant information to make a well informed decision. 
  • Competitive – these consumers want to know why they should give you their hard earned dollars. Providing testimonials can help to provide third party endorsement, while providing a competitive edge. 
  • Humanistic – it’s all about the emotional and personal connection. These people would watch videos of people talking about their experience with the product or service, while also engaging with many visual elements.
  • Spontaneous – decisions are made quickly. These people need a quick summary of all of the information to help them make their decision in the fastest way possible. 

This doesn’t mean that one person is defined as one particular type of decision maker. It is not unusual for people to go through each type of decision mode all in one day as decision modes can depend on our mood, how we feel about work, what our plans are for the week, if the kids slept through the night etc. We all know that having something to look forward to or if we have just had a not-so-good day at work can affect how we feel and ultimately our decisions.
These four decision modes can be defined by whether we purchase things in either a slow or fast manner and a logical or emotional mode. 

Slow decision makers like to take their time, think over all of the information presented to them and will then make a fully informed decision. These people will ignore calls to action such as “Buy now”.   

Fast decision makers scan for key pieces of information, establish an opinion quickly and make a decision in a hurry. These people like short, sharp and succinct pieces of information and a process that enables them to make a decision in the shortest time possible. 

Logical decision makers are practical and assess all of the factual information without using any emotive means to drive their final decision.   

Emotive decision makers follow their heart. They like brands that help them feel good about who they are.

Making marketing and communications appropriate and relevant to all decision types is possible, for example if we consider a direct mail flyer, to suit each type of decision maker it could include:

  • Attractive, visual elements in the design, personalised comments from the owner of the business for humanistic decision makers. 
  • Short, succinct pieces of information outlining the benefits and prominent calls to action for spontaneous decision makers
  • Detailed information and examples for methodical decision makers
  • Providing proof such as testimonials or case studies and highlight the key differentiators for competitive decision makers.

The next time you’re working on a website, a direct mail piece or a promotional campaign, it might be worth thinking about if it targets each type of decision maker to make sure you get the results you want.

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