Making sense of changing decision process(es)
Key questions arise about how decision processes may be changing, given that customers are now always connected and have more choice in what they attend to. Customers are now engaging with firms through complex journeys and paths to purchase and beyond. What are the opportunities for firms to (somehow) insert themselves — or their product or service — into the customer decision process at the right time in the right context to have an influence?
Below, we first highlight topics and questions that relate to behavioral science and decision processes in all customer environments — from complex decision processes in business-to-business contexts, to dynamic decision processes in service environments, to simple, habitual decisions in consumer/shopper environments. We then highlight questions and issues that arose specifically for consumer decision making and for business-to-business decision making.
All Types of Decision Making
- How are fragmentation of attention and digital distraction influencing motivation, involvement, and decision making?
- How do we trade off privacy concerns versus the benefits of personalization, sharing data versus convenience, customization versus intrusion, annoyance versus effectiveness? What is the role of trust and authenticity in digital environments?
- How does mobile change decision making and behavior? What is the impact of mobile on: search, networks, choice, behavior, the overall journey/path to purchase — and specific contexts such as complex decisions, finance, health, pricing, and payment?
- How is brand consideration and evaluation different in multi-channel environments or on different devices or screens? How do we know when the frame of reference for consumers is changing in a way that reshapes how they view a brand?
- Understanding how customers deal with large amounts of ubiquitous information about everything. We need more research on decision simplification heuristics and processing patterns, given this overwhelming amount of information and stimuli.
- To what extent do customer perceptions and experiences spill over from one domain or context to another? Does a customer’s experience with a provider in an unrelated category influence their expectations of and experience with your brand?
”Do the old rules (e.g., creating awareness, interest, desire, and action) still hold? If yes, then what is the best way to achieve these goals in this time of fragmentation and not having a viewer as a passive hostage? If no, then what are the new rules?”
“A growing issue is potential backlash to intrusion. What is the cost of annoying people? There may soon be increasing limits placed on firms (in the U.S.) to increase consumers’ privacy (as in Europe).”
“As multiscreen measurement becomes commonplace and mobile ad exchanges more prevalent, there needs to be research into the right balance between intrusion and effectiveness while allowing consumers to protect their privacy.”
“How can we better understand the real competitive context in our customers’ minds? Not just competitive companies or brands, but what do they see as their real/evaluated choice set?”
Consumer Decision Making
- What is the science of emotion in the digital, mobile, always on, and always connected age? What is the role of emotions in experience? How do we design customer experiences that lead to maximal enjoyment, happiness, and utility?
- How marketing can drive positive change in behavior: new approaches to help consumers make “good” decisions and “smarter choices.” What interventions can be deployed to generate (break) healthy (unhealthy) habits? How can behavioral economics be applied to drive adherence?
- How does engaging in technology change consumers? How does it influence emotions, decision making, and behavior?
- Understanding cultural, generational, and life stage differences in perceptions about new and existing brands
- How are wearables, monitoring devices, and biometrics changing decision making and behavior?
“Just because we can, does that mean we should? What are the ethics of nudging?”
“Understanding the importance of strong emotional connection to build brands, and how personalization can allow for different positionings of a brand based upon the consumer/customer journey”
“How do life stage differences, generational issues, and culture influence decision processes and path to purchase?”
“Anonymous online interactions will no longer be anonymous. Text patterns, portfolio of installed apps, browsing behavior will all come together to provide digital fingerprints. How do marketers leverage these digital fingerprints for effective communication while balancing privacy and intrusive content?”
“How can we take a less transactional perspective on ‘shoppers’ and ‘consumers’ and think of people as people and gain deep consumer insights and understanding?”
B2B Decision Making
- How have digital and inbound changed the way people process information and make buying decisions, especially for complex decisions in business markets?
- Given the extent to which customers can search for information on their own, do we need to change the way we market to and sell to knowledgeable customers? Can we shorten the selling cycle?
- How is the purchase cycle influenced by aspects of joint decision making and committee decision making? What is the influence of others in such joint decision making? What is the path to purchase and what are the most appropriate marketing levers?
- How is digital transforming the traditional sales model for B2B products and services? How does digitization influence how decision makers use their time and how they value their time?
“What is the impact of emotion on group decision making, especially in B2B? Emotion is highly influential in individual decision making—how does this change in a group dynamic? How is such decision making influenced by size of group?”
“How do we quantify the ROI of creating intellectual value in B2B? What impact does content/intellectual value have on loyalty? How does it impact the buying process?”
“For B2B, how to make your customer a hero to THEIR customers?”
“As health care delivery becomes more integrated and value based, how will the provider buying process change and what are the implications for providers? Also, as consumerism takes hold in health care, how will expectations of the patient experience shift (e.g., digital, across the ecosystem, disruptors, new delivery channels like retail)?”