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    The Buyer Decision Process and Optimizing Search Engine Rankings

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    Please clarify and help me with the following questions.

    I) Name the five stages in the buyer decision process and briefly describe the online and offline marketing activities used to influence each.

    II) Why do companies that bundle products and services have an advantage over those that don't or can't offer this option?

    III) What are some of the steps a firm can take to optimize its search engine rankings?

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    Solution Preview

    I) Name the five stages in the buyer decision process and briefly describe the online and offline marketing activities used to influence each.

    The five stages are quite simple: it begins with a problem, a lack of some type. Next comes the search for finding information about the product, though not necessarily its price. The third step deals with price, and this is where consumers can "shop around." Fourth, the decision to buy must be made. Finally, once the purchase is made, the consumer must make an evaluation between the money and effort spent, and the utility deriving from the product (Patwardhan and Ramaprasad 2005, but note that the five steps are different depending on the author, and there are not always five of them).

    In the (2001) paper by Barry G. Silverman, Bachann and al-Akharas, they structure the stages a bit differently. Deriving from Miles, et al (2000), the above stages are compressed into three: Identification and the management of internet search criteria; narrowing one's search for a specific type of product, though at this stage, it is informational rather than financial; finally, the comparison of prices. This is really the same steps as above, just abbreviated.

    These correspond to methods of marketing that can influence these five steps. First, the concept of a lack is central to advertising. Ads seek to convince someone that they need something, and that they are missing out without it. Yet, this kind of advertising can come from any source, from neighbors to television. Finding information is the second step. This is significant, because often, consumers will not know precisely what they want. They may use terms that are inappropriate for the goods for which they are searching. Therefore, making search engines more flexible and interpretive is an important way to make this second step something other than a source of frustration.

    Third, the search for value and bargains. This is the nature of comparison shopping, and several specialized search engines already have this feature. Google recently bought Channel Intelligence, a company specializing in making the search for either value or quality easier (Miller, 2013). Since this is now integrated with Google, comparison shopping is easier. Yet, this does not guarantee that a complete listing will be ...

    Solution Summary

    The buyer decision process and optimizing search engine rankings are examined.