Understanding the Buyers
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Understanding the Buyers and Their Buying considerations

The key to understand the buyers is in knowing the layers of buying considerations. The first layer is whether it is a business buyer or a consumer buyer. Marketing and selling to these two groups are very different. We can have a product that is used by both the businesses and the consumers, but their buying considerations and channels of distributions are very different.

The nature of the purchase: Consumers may buy products for pleasure, utility, or vanity. Most of the business purchase is to fulfill a business need. Therefore, it often requires business justifications.

The scope of the purchase: While a consumer may buy one or two PCs or PDAs for their personal or family use, a business' purchase of PCs or PDAs is more likely to be a part of the infrastructure purchase.

Characteristics of an infrastructure purchase: Infrastructure purchases imply the following:

  • Typically critical to the business operations
  • Multiple units
  • Larger capital outlay
  • Longer expected usage duration
  • Higher requirement for reliability and availability
  • Legacy infrastructure compatibility and interoperability
  • Considerations for the cost of training, maintenance, support, service, and upgrades.

The decision process: Because of the importance the purchase to the business, the decision process is also quite different from the consumer buying decisions.

  • Established buying process
  • Multiple decision layers, many people can say no, and only one person can say yes.
  • Participants in the decision have both the business and personal motivations. For IT directors, it is safe to buy from the known market leaders, after all no one got fired for buying IBM. For in house IT developers, prepackaged software applications could threaten their jobs. Therefore, they will fight it every step of the way.
  • Difference in risk tolerance: The risk tolerance for early adopters and pragmatists are very different. Similarly different companies and different industries have different risk tolerances.

The IPO Group can help you map out the appropriate target markets and channels for your products.

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