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The Source London (SL) customer owns an Electric Vehicle and needs to charge their vehicle away from home.


The purchase decision process includes a five step process that our customer (or organisation) passes through when making a selection on which goods or services to buy.


Decision Making Process



1. Problem recognition


This occurs between the actual state of the customer and what their desired state is. We can influence at this step by anticipating the problem of the target market and solve it or through advertising.

For SL, this problem recognition might be that customers recognise that they need to charge their vehicle at locations other than at home. This can be triggered by seeing the SL charge points in London.


 For SL, this problem recognition might be that customers recognise that they need to charge their vehicle at locations other than at home. This can be triggered by seeing the SL charge points in London.

2. Information search


The next step is for the customer to search for information to fulfil this need. This might be through sources such as past memories or experience with a product. They also may use external sources such as friends, family, the internet, product reviews, blogs and dealers etc., to search for information. We can influence at this step by using advertising, PR etc on websites, specialist magazines, and through celebrity endorsements and social media. See more information on reference groups and opinion leaders, informers & followers.

For SL, we provide extensive information to the customer at and the charge points themselves are branded.

3. Alternative evaluation


The next step is for the customer to evaluate all the alternatives. During this phase the customer will analyse all factors such as brand attributes, technical specification and personal experience. After considering these factors they will rank the attributes according to their criteria to make a decision. We can influence customers at this phase by monitoring reviews and to ensure that the brand is perceived as being of good value and good customer service.

 There are alternative charging schemes to SL but it is positioned as the only charge point network to register with: better value for money, more points available to charge at, ease of use, straightforward registration process and great customer service. This will be communicated through PR, advertising, customer comments on the website, user reviews and word-of-mouth.

4. Purchase decision


This is where the customer makes their final decision on whether to purchase the product. There are four factors that influence consumer decision at this step. These include:  

  1. Psychological - motivation, perception, personality, value, belief, lifestyle and attitudes
  2. Marketing mix - product, place, price, promotion, people, processes, physical evidence and partnerships
  3. Socio-cultural - reference groups, social class, family, culture and subculture
  4. Situational influence - how easy is it to complete the sale, previous experience and physical surroundings

We can influence customers at this step through convenience of sale, refund policies and terms and conditions.  

 For SL, customers are motivated by their need to charge their vehicles at convenient locations, they perceive the brand to be secure and trustworthy, the price is good value, the charge points are obvious on the street, partnerships are on board to advertise the scheme, their reference groups might also be members with the scheme, the registration process is straightforward and there are clear terms and conditions and refund policies available to see.

5. Post-purchase evaluation


It doesn't stop with the sale. Post-purchase evaluation is the last step in the purchase decision process. This is where the customer evaluates their choice. If they are satisfied then they are likely to make another purchase. If not, they may not continue to buy the same product, may switch to another brand and may provide negative feedback that can be viewed by potential customers. We can minimise this by addressing concerns, provide guarantees for products and good customer service if anything does go wrong. 

 SL is an annual fee membership so we want members to renew their membership each year.

The organisational decision making process can follow a similar route:




For SL we can use an example of needing to employ a new creative agency


1. Problem recognition

Need a new creative agency
2. Product specification
Needs to be an integrated agency that can provide above the line solutions, below the line, digital, events etc
3. Supplier search
A group of agencies are selected by past experience of working with them, recommendations, portfolio of work
4. Ordering
A decision is made and agency is employed
5. Performance evaluation
The first campaign they produce they are evaluated on - effectiveness, worked to budget and time, relationships with internal staff.


For an organisation the decision making process also includes a decision making unit.

1024x1024-1744172.jpg - Influence mapping














This can be for customers and organisations. We will focus on the organisation so for SL this comprises of:


Initiator: This is the person or people that decide that something needs to change or a new product is required

For the Source London example above the initiator is the marketing department that thinks that they need a new creative agency

Decision maker: This might include a management team, tendering committee, shareholders - this depends on the financial involvement of the decision

For Source the decision makers include; management and commercial teams

Purchaser: This is the person or people that will handle the internal supplier sourcing, information seeking, and who will handle negotiations with the suppliers

For Source the purchasers include the legal and financial teams

End User: This is who will actually use the product or service

For Source, the end user is also the initiator - the marketing department.


Along with the step process there are also influencers and gatekeepers:


Influencers: Typical influencers will be users, suppliers, research and development staff, buyers, sales representatives etc

For Source, the influencers will be marketing departments that have used the creative agencies before

Gatekeepers: This is normally the administrative staff that handle the flow of information inbound and outbound through the organisation

For Source, this are the PAs to the Directors


So in summary, the decision making process helps understand the process by which the customers go through and when this can be influenced by marketing messages.