A New Take on the B2B Decision Process

by | Dec 28, 2014

An article by David Court at McKinsey and Company breaks the B2B purchase decision process into four key phases, each representing “potential battlegrounds where marketers can either win or lose:”

  1. Initial consideration – winning here means being one of the few brands that manages to make it through what is typically a “wilderness”  of competing messages and clutter to move into the next phase
  2. Active evaluation – where the buyer diligently researches those initial brands, often adding one or more to the short list at this phase (think about the last time you went car shopping)
  3. Closure, or purchase
  4. Post purchase – when buyers actually experience what they purchased – something that feeds right back into the start of the process now more than ever thanks to post-purchase, social conversations that drive phase one and two (think about what this post-purchase experience has done for Honda and Toyota over the years)

The article continues to make a number of interesting points about winning at each phase.

The most relevant for marketers and tradeshow program managers may be this; tradeshows are one of many potential marketing touch points that can influence all four phases, including the post-purchase experience (e.g., customers coming to your booth for product support). What phase or phases are you trying to win at your show? And are you actually set up to win? Answering this means:

  • Understanding where your attendees typically are in the buying process
  • Asking yourself, “Versus my show floor competitors, what do I have to do to win that phase or phases?”

As an example, here are two of many possible scenarios:

1. Attendees have their initial brands already in mind and are at the show to do phase two, research. And you’re not on their brand list. According to McKinsey, you can still make that short list, so your primary mission becomes smashing through the show clutter with a meaningful message and getting noticed.

2. You are on the short list, but are too frequently losing sales to someone else. This makes your main mission proving to visitors that you’re the better choice.

In short, this approach may be a useful way to analyze your program and see where you need to strengthen it. Go to the complete article for more.