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Is it B2B or B2C? Neither, it's a considered purchase.

It’s much more useful to distinguish the way you market your business according to how the buyer makes their decision, not by what (metaphorical) hat they happen to be wearing at the time.

The more powerful distinction can be made between impulse and considered purchases. Each requires a completely different marketing approach and skill set.

At one end of the spectrum there are buying decisions made in a heartbeat. These are either impulse buys driven entirely by emotion or by logic, but rarely both. Those ‘I just had to have it’ moments, like a bunch of flowers or a chocolate bar. Or, something totally functional, like a pack of envelopes for the stationery cupboard. These kinds of decisions are made quickly and without reference to other people. If you were to ask buyers how they chose their goods in these cases, they probably couldn’t break it down. There’s a great deal of science and marketing expertise that goes into triggering an impulse purchase, but my approach looks at the other end of the spectrum: the considered purchase.

In a considered purchase both emotional and rational appeals need to be met. This is because the buying decision tends to be more important, for one of the following reasons:

Expense: there is a high financial outlay involved or an ongoing commitment.

Other people: the purchase affects more than one person.

Status: a person’s sense of identity or reputation is affected by the purchase.

When these elements come together, the buyer has a lot to lose if they make a bad call. They are taking a risk. The job of your marketing is to reduce that risk.

(Oh, and if you're interested, the further to the right a buyer would place their decision to buy what you’re selling on this continuum, the more complex their thought processes are going to be and the more Watertight Marketing methodolgy will apply.)

TIP: Run some research with your potential buyers or existing customers that asks them to place their buying decision on this continuum.

© Bryony Thomas | Illustration by Lizzie Everard

This is an adapted excerpt from Bryony’s book – Watertight Marketing: Delivering long-term sales results – reviewed by for B2B Marketing here, get a free sample chapter.