How we choose ‘the best’ and why media content helps

People like to buy ‘the best’ but how they decide that is not always based on fact

We may or may not make product or service choices based on price, but even on a budget we normally want to choose the best we can afford.

But how do consumers decide what constitutes “the best” and how can your marketing influence those decisions.

A new study suggests that the decision is not usually based on a like-for-like analytical comparison but a simplified process based on some predispositions, while remaining open to evidence that may change our mind.

Onesun Steve Yoo at UCL School of Management at University College London, and Rakesh Sarin of the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) looked at the factors that informed consumers’ choices.

“Although quality is the key nonprice consideration driving consumer purchase decisions, consumers often lack knowledge and encounter missing or conflicting information about product quality,” said Yoo. “It is also difficult to evaluate the quality of certain products or service prior to purchase, yet the consumer must, nonetheless make a choice.”

They found that familiarity and positive associations; along with previous experience; are among the key factors that drove decision making.

In one example, they highlight that brand-name drugs are more often chosen than generic ones, even when the active ingredients are the same. That’s because the brand names have created both familiarity of their brands, and positive associations around them.

But you can change consumers’ decisions

The study found that consumers are willing to have their preconceptions and familiarity challenged, which may mean them changing brand.

 “If a competing product can demonstrate sufficiently higher quality or offer a sufficiently lower price – or some combination – the consumer will often tend to make a rational decision,” said Yoo.

This means that by using the power of media and content marketing to tell your brand story; for example using testimonials, case studies and other means of demonstrating your brand advantages; you can create  a new set of positive connections which may hold for their next purchase.

So, if you are not already using content marketing to grow your business, think about how powerful it can be to demonstrate why your products or services are the best. Create those perceptions and – especially when price is not the decider – you can win new and loyal customers.

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