I have a favorite facial wash. It makes my naturally oily, acne-prone skin behave like no other. In other words, it’s pretty magical. I recently ran out of it and attempted to make a trip to the store, only to find out that it’s no longer sold in the US. I could have cried.
I, like many other consumers, have a need. Even just recognizing this need puts me at the start of the buying decision process, with the next step searching for information. But how does a consumer start looking for something as broad as, say, facial wash?
Information search is the second stage of the buying decision process, where options available for consumers are either identified or clarified. Information search can be categorized in two ways:
- Internal sources, which rely on a consumer’s memory or experience with a particular brand, product, or service.
- External sources, which rely on personal (ex. word of mouth from friends) and/or public information (ex. consumer reports or blogs), or marketing (ex. salesperson or ads).
So, the question remains, where do I start looking? In my personal case, I start with simple research of external sources. I look up things on Google such as “best facial washes for oily skin,” or tweet out to my over 1,300 Twitter followers for recommendations.
As a marketer (who happens to have oily skin), I see the importance of brands being strategic in their visibility and market presence in the second stage of this decision-making process.