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Figure 5.5 suggests that consumers pass through all five stages with every purchase in a considered way. But buyers may pass quickly or slowly through the buying decision process. And in more routine purchases, consumers often skip or reverse some of the stages. Much depends on the nature of the buyer, the product, and the buying situation. A person buying a regular brand of toothpaste would recognize the need and go right to the purchase decision, skipping information search and evaluation. However, we use the model in Figure 5.5 because it shows all the considerations that arise when a consumer faces a new and complex purchase situation.

Need Recognition
The buying process starts with need recognition—the buyer recognizes a problem or need. The need can be triggered by internal stimuli when one of the person’s normal needs—for example, hunger or thirst—rises to a level high enough to become a drive. A need can also be triggered by external stimuli. For example, an advertisement or a discussion with a friend might get you thinking about buying a new car. At this stage, the marketer should research consumers to find out what kinds of needs or problems arise, what brought them about, and how they led the consumer to this particular product.

Need recognition
The first stage of the buyer decision process, in which the consumer recognizes a problem or need.

Information Search
An interested consumer may or may not search for more information. If the consumer’s drive is strong and a satisfying product is near at hand, he or she is likely to buy it then. If not, the consumer may store the need in memory or undertake an information search related to the need. For example, once you’ve decided you need a new car, at the least, you will probably pay more attention to car ads, cars owned by friends, and car conversations. Or you may actively search online, talk with friends, and gather information in other ways.

Information search
The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumer is motivated to search for more information.

Consumers can obtain information from any of several sources. These include personal sources (family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances), commercial sources (advertising, salespeople, dealer and manufacturer web and mobile sites, packaging, displays), public sources (mass media, consumer rating organizations, social media, online searches and peer reviews), and experiential sources (examining and using the product). The relative influence of these information sources varies with the product and the buyer.

Yelp’s goal is “to connect people with great local businesses” by collecting “Real People. Real Reviews.” from people who’ve actually used those businesses.

Yelp Inc.

5.3-14 Full Alternative Text
Traditionally, consumers have received the most information about a product from commercial sources—those controlled by the marketer. The most effective sources, however, tend to be personal. Commercial sources normal

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