The second stage in the multicultural marketing funnel is the consideration stage. By far the most misunderstood, its a critical step in the decision making process of a consumer. It is during this stage that the buyer actually defines their problem and researches options to solve it. Unlike the awareness stage where you're strictly providing value, during the consideration stage marketers are intending to drive behavior which is no easy task. Multicultural consumers are extremely brand loyal and overall hesitant to experiment on new products. While heavy lifting, this stage provides a huge opportunity because if your competition is not investing in it, you win the sale.
The Multicultural Marketing Funnel is much different than a sales process. Old school sales no longer works the same in the age of the Internet Consumers have far too much information at their fingertips. Sterotypical sleezy car-salesman types historically would attempt to have you breeze through, if not skip, the consideration stage altogether. Attempting to do that today is a miscalculation of the needs of the multicultural buyer. The purchase decision is far more layered and complex than making a decision to buy or not but instead factors like convenience, quality even social mission play an important factors. Buyers are no longer just motivated by price.
It's important to leverage pain and recognize that the challenges of the multicultural consumer are unique and often ignored. They expect you to understand the differences that make them unique and account for them in your business model. In return, loyalty is often the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are a few essential tools to help you navigate through the Consideration stage of the Multicultural Marketing Funnel.
Compare and save. Its a term back in the 90's you would never hear a marketer utter. Any good sales person would never allow a customer to leave a retail store to compare their products to the competition. However, consumer consideration must now be accounted for in the buyers journey.
I first saw this become a factor in the highly competitive car insurance industry. Agencies began running marketing campaigns encouraging prospective customers to "compare and save." Websites were set up give the consumer the ability to plug in their individualized insurance needs and return a list of quotes from their agency and the competitors. Why? They understood that consumers wanted to be informed. Transparent marketing essentially earns consumer trust. The risk that their quote might actually be higher in the search result than a competitors was counterbalanced by the perceived value of the very research tool they were offering.
That level of transparency is what multicultural consumers want and now expect in return for brand loyalty. By being transparent, brands meet consumers half way in communication and engagement. For the multicultural market, which has notoriously been very guarded and reluctant to sharing data, this olive branch has actually produced a greater data mine, which in the age of technology, is more valuable than sales revenue.
If these insurance company's were pioneers, review sites were the next evolution. Today, hungry multiculturals won't eat at a restaurant without consulting Yelp first. Sites like Angie's List, Home Advisor, Glassdoor even Facebook all give consumers the opportunity to provide an unbiased opinion about their buying experience. Curious consumers look to these peer reviews for guidance on what to eat or who to hire.
For a marketer, peer reviews present a huge opportunity with the multicultural audience. Remember, they want to make their voice heard and expect that the brands they frequent understand their unique challenges. Where better place to research them and have these conversations than by leveraging reviews. Listen to what multicultural consumers want and give it to them. They'll reward you with favorable reviews in kind.
While the consumer is the consideration stage they may begin to exhibit what I call "artificial buying behavior" not to be confused with the actually buying behavior. This is where the consumer kicks the tires and test drives a vehicle or asks for a sample of every flavor of ice cream in the freezer case, or tries on every dress in their size in your inventory or even more curious, takes the step to add an item to their online shopping cart, all with no imminent intention to buy.
Historically this is the head fake can be very hard to read and will frustrate the non-savvy sales team but must be respected in the multicultural marketing funnel. While a purchase may not be made at this stage, they are communicating a message, interest and consideration. Reading this incorrectly and responding with messaging that clearly shows a lack of understanding is easy way to lose the multicultural buyer.
Tenological advancements, if used correctly, can help you navigate this tricky stage. Chatbots for instance can be employed on your website's help page to answer any frequently asked questions. Predictive analytics, as with the awareness stage, can assist here in determine the consumer's true intention. For abandoned or forgotten items in a shopping cart, you can utilize my all-time favorite marketing tool, re-marketing. Instead of letting that consumer walk away from a sale, remarketing can get them refocused on the sale and remind them of where that item can be found...oh and be sure to dangle a small discount in front them to entice them to convert. The next time the user hits the internet, Facbook banners and Google buttons miraculously feature that very item they were in search of just yesterday. While this might on surface feel intrusive, this is often embraced by the multicultural consumer because it proves to them that you were indeed paying attention.
The consideration stage, while not the most leaky is the hardest to execute effectively. By listening to your multicutural consumers and simply helping them to better make up their mind, even if it means you're not a good fit, you'll provide the invaluable value add that consumers expect from brands. If they buy today or a few years from now, these investments in the consideration stage go a long way.