Problem solving

Category: Marketing Strategy

Friday July 24th, 2015

Decision making is one of the most commonly used processes that we all go through but never think about.

This is not an uncommon scenario for me:-
I’m at the garage filling my car with fuel and my stomach rumbles.  I’m hungry. I check out the chocolate counter at the payment counter and there is a wide variety of choice, but I’m suddenly very hungry so I need something substantial. A Milky Way just isn’t going to cut it this time.  I can’t pay with my company fuel card, but luckily I have £1 in loose change in my pocket. So a Snickers it is.  I devour it and a few minutes later my stomach stops rumbling and I decide it was exactly what I needed.

The customer decision-making can be quite a complicated process, but very broadly, it can be broken down into the following steps:
1.    Need recognition/problem awareness (I have a problem that I need to solve)
2.    Information search (Who or what will solve this problem for me?)
3.    Evaluation of alternatives (Which is the best option for me?)
4.    Purchase (The act of buying the solution)
5.    Post purchase evaluation of decision (Am I happy about the solution I bought?)

This happens for every purchase made – no matter how big or small and whether you are selling cupcakes, high performance vehicles or aircraft engines.

It is up to YOU to ensure that you understand the problem that they need to resolve and consistently communicate how you will resolve it for them.

So how do you understand the problem?

There are a number of options:
1.    Customer focus groups or post purchase evaluation surveys
2.    Competitor analysis – what are they better at doing than you?
3.    Interview customers that have recently changed to another supplier? What was it that made them leave?  These people are most likely to be brutally honest and that’s what we need.  Current customers who are being helpful and polite are, in this instance, not helpful at all!

If you’re not sure where to start – contact Darren Joslin on 07904 729584 or email him via




image courtesy of Mr GC/