The components of the decision-making process are five and begin with the recognition of a problem. This is a need which is triggered by stimuli; be it internal or external (Kotler, 2010). In this case it is the male buyer who has recognised the need to purchase a new laptop for his work.
This need drives him to the next stage in the decision-making process which is the information search. The information search is a vast sphere for gathering knowledge as the sources of information can fall into four main groups; personal, public, commercial and experiential (Kotler, 2010). The personal group is likely to consist of friends and family who already have a laptop and can be turned to for advice. The public and commercial realm consists of consumer rating websites as well as advertising companies whilst experiential means the knowledge from the information search is going to be gained through physically handling the product to be purchased (which can be done in the personal and commercial domain).
The information search leads the consumer into the third stage which is the evaluation of alternatives. As expected the consumer will evaluate different products based on its attributes using the knowledge sourced from the second stage. Due to the high involvement of buying a laptop, it is likely that the consumer will be researching a number of laptop producers in order to find the best one (B2B Marketing, 2015). Moreover the attitude of the consumer towards a brand after brand evaluation will determine the choice made (Kotler, 2010) as the consumer will buy the product he feels will satisfy him the most.
The purchase decision is the penultimate stage where the consumer finally makes the choice as to what brand of laptop he will purchase. However, according to Kotler, 2010) this stage may be disrupted by unforeseen circumstances such as a job loss. Additionally, knowledge which may not have been encountered in the information search has now become present and changed the mind of the consumer. An example of this would be negative feedback from a previous laptop buyer that would force the consumer to re-evaluate his decision.
The last and arguably the most critical stage for marketers will take place after the purchase when the buyer will have two outcomes. The post purchase behaviour of the consumer will be either satisfied or dissatisfied. Satisfaction can result from the laptop meeting or excelling the needs of the journalist. However if it happens that the journalist is disappointed by his purchase, it may result in negative assumptions of the company that can diminish brand loyalty which is why it is absolutely critical that companies should be very careful to create positive post-purchase communication (B2B Marketing, 2015).
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Consumer decision-making in Marketing (Applied to a laptop)
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