How Customers Make Decisions


How Customers Make Decisions

Seedstars Global

FEBRUARY 18, 2022

A lot of people consider the customer's response to their call to action to be the pinnacle in growth marketing. In reality, however, each experience in a customer’s decision-making process influences their behavior. To maximize profits, growth marketing professionals must pay attention to every stage of the buying process and understand what is at the core of their customers’ behavior.



The crucial difference between digital marketing and growth marketing in customer decision-making

When it comes to setting targets and evaluating campaign success or failure, performance marketing, and business development professionals are more inclined to focus on the hard conversion data alone rather than the human beings who made them. They are wholly absorbed by lead generation metrics, cost per lead, and meeting targets. This, however, is the end of the story, and much care needs to be given to what transpires before the ultimate ‘click’.

Unfortunately, user psychology is seldom considered when factoring in the desired human behavior as part of a growth marketing strategy.

Why is this a problem? In order for businesses to reach new customers and create a great customer experience, they need to understand who their customers are, why they engage with them, and what will help them stay motivated and come back for more. This will allow growth marketers to create user experiences built on the consumers’ needs or desires, rather than on their own business objectives.

Neuroscience has proven that people make decisions with their feelings and justify it with their logic.

In fact, according to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of our purchase decisions are made unconsciously. Why is it then, that most people try to win over c-level executives with rational logic, stats, and data, and then throw our hands in the air when there is no deal?

Convert more customers by understanding their psychology

In most cases, growth marketing professionals understand the five stages in the consumer decision process: starting with identifying the problem or need, then seeking out information, evaluating alternatives, purchasing, and then post-purchase behavior.

While this is a clearly mapped-out process, more consideration needs to be included on what drives the consumer to transition between these stages.

From a business point-of-view, our drivers are more about sales, better retention, new products, better creative ideas, and profit, profit, profit! From a consumer perspective, they don’t care about our frantic drivers. They care about their world, their fears, their worries.

To get a better perspective of how to reach your target audience most effectively, we'd like to invite you to step into your consumers' shoes. This will help you better understand what people struggle with, how to focus your marketing, create meaningful content, deploy marketing strategies, and reach your growth marketing goals.

Has the way we make decisions changed in a modern world? In spite of massive shifts in global trends, consumer behavior, social influences, and an evolving marketplace, when it comes down to it, the way human beings make decisions is still the same as it was millennia ago.

Emotions and decision-making

This is the first trigger to any decision. It could be fear, boredom, curiosity, happiness, loneliness, anxiety, competitiveness. This is unconsciously done. We just feel this is the right decision.

There are four S’s to consider when tapping into your customers’ emotional experience

  • Selfish - Keep it all about your customer, their loved ones, what they care about
  • Sensory - Use the 5 senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste wherever possible
  • Specific - Hone in on the one experience you want to evoke
  • Simple - If it is complicated it will activate the logical part of the brain. Keep it simple.

Speaking to your customers’ core emotions is vital to trigger the desired response, be it through imagery, emotive language, or compelling video. Regardless of the final decision destination, emotion is the spark that gets the motor started.

How to identify the core emotions of your offering

  • Identify the why of your product - why do customers use your services or product? What problem are you solving?
  • Review how your customer feels at each touchpoint and once you have solved their problem
  • Ask yourself how it would feel for your customer if they could experience that positive moment again and again. Or how would they feel if they knew they would never have to face that problem again.

Logic and decision-making

Your consumers’ logic will either support or refute their initial emotional response. It is at this point that the long list of product features, accurate pricing, detailed stats, quality statement, and reliability factors come into play in your marketing.

There are 4 logical appeals that help solidify the emotion

  • Features - the specifics of what the product does.
  • Statistics - the facts and figures of the product.
  • Reliability - how dependable the product is.
  • Price - if this is introduced before the emotion is tapped into, more assurance is normally required.

If these factors are not present then the consumer will potentially be lost.

Motivation and decision-making

As the prospective customer moves closer to the sales decision, they need the motivation to complete the decision. The higher the risk, the greater the financial investment, or length of time needed, the greater the motivation required.

Growth marketers need to remove obstacles that could make it more difficult, or they need to increase motivation elements, such as trust reviews and testimonials, scarcity, urgency, bargains, or social belonging.

Reward and decision-making

Once the decision is made, your consumer will look for a reward cue to confirm that they made the right decision. Consider the new car owner who proudly shows off their car to their friends and family or the fashionable shopper who models the new clothes at home. This is all done to confirm they made the right choices.

Rewards don't have to be monetary or gifts. They can be anything from a reminder of how much time this has saved them to intrinsic rewards felt by the customer. Rewards are also felt socially through praise and success.

The higher the reward, the greater the chance of repeat action in the future.


It may be safe to say that one of the differences between digital marketing and growth marketing is the qualitative approach you’ll find in the latter.

For tangible growth in whichever marketing metrics matter to you, you will do well to immerse yourself in what your customer is feeling when they choose you, when they keep on choosing you, and when they lose you.

To recap, the basic framework for understanding their behavior as they move through the decision-making funnel is primarily driven by emotions, logic, motivation, and reward (ELMR framework).

Once this is understood, you’re all set to improve the conversion quality and customer retention success of your overarching marketing strategy.

Need help understanding your customer behavior?

Alex Macura at Your Digital Assembly or [email protected] is here to help you, deep-dive, into the wonderful world of neuroscience, psychology, and marketing for improved and sustained conversions.

More like this