It is interesting that the decision immediately becomes part of the feedback for the next decision. For example, I was not terribly enamored with my older laptop, so that brand was ruled out fairly quickly in the process -- I simply did not feel right about buying that brand again when there are so many on the market. The new purchase immediately went into my memory so that the next time I purchase a laptop, a lot of the lessons I learned from this process and the analysis that I undertook will form the basis of the next laptop purchase decision-making process.
Headache remedies are a low involvement purchase. The EBM model encompasses a number of different factors that contribute to a purchase decision. Not all of these factors are used in the decision with respect to a headache remedy. There is a core alternative evaluation where I once considered the three main types of headache remedy. Within those types, there are innumerable brands to consider, but I had long ago settled on a type that I felt worked best for me.
Typically, I only buy the same brand of headache remedy. I base this decision largely on memory -- I like this brand -- and on a central belief that within the specific remedy type (ibuprofen) the different brands are largely the same. The issue of availability is also addressed to some degree in that if I need some in a hurry and my brand is not available at a given store I need to have a back-up brand. However, this is more or less the extent of the thought that I give to this purchase. Relative to the laptop purchase, there is much more instinct involved in the decision to purchase headache remedy. The decision to purchase the remedy and the decision to purchase a specific brand have largely been conflated.
Strengths & Weaknesses of the Model
The EBM model is complex because it encompasses such a wide range of factors. I feel that the main strength of this model is that it allows for a multi-directional thought process flow and for a number of different factors to be incorporated into the final decision. The model,...
From the consumer's perspective, it is like using a chainsaw to slice an apple -- its size and power makes it a bit unwieldy. That said, EBM probably does have relevance for marketers. For the marketer, it is important to understand which of the factors goes into the purchase, whether the purchase is high involvement or not. If we consider the headache remedy, for the marketer it is important to know that I generally make two main choices for this product and that I make them early on in life. Then I stick with my decision unless I have a compelling reason to change it. For the marketer, this highlights the necessity of appealing to consumers at a young age, and it highlights the necessity of differentiation. The model does allow the marketer to gain insight, specifically so that the marketer does not waste time focusing on decision-making factors that are not involved.
Indeed, EBM does help the marketer in understanding where those first decisions come from. The headache pill maker needs to understand why I made the initial choice I did -- was it the same type we had in the house growing up? Was it something I learned about from friends? Did I find out about it some other way? That knowledge is not something that I think about as a consumer unless prompted, and even then I do not specifically remember the details. But for the marketer, it is valuable to know at which point in the process as described in the EBM model did I make that critical decision. So the model works better for the marketer than the consumer on low-involvement purchases, because for the marketer that decision is not low-involvement. When there is high involvement, the EBM model allows the different factors that go into decision making to be effectively broken down.
Schiffman, L., Cass, a., Paladino, a., Alexssandro, S. & Bednall, D. (2011) Consumer Behaviour, Frenchs Forest: Pearson (5th Ed)
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