How Customers Make Decisions

person on computer

How Customers Make Decisions

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 behaviour.

This can great impact the growth marketing process, and the entire customer journey along with it.

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.

Failure to do so could harm your growth marketing efforts.

But don’t worry – we’ve got some winning growth marketing tips to help you understand how your customers think.

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

When it comes to setting targets and evaluating campaign success or failure, performance marketers, and business development professionals are more inclined to focus on the hard conversion data alone – rather than the human beings who made them.

Sometimes, growth marketing focuses on lead generation metrics, cost per lead, and meeting targets as key metrics for a growth marketing strategy.

They may look at email marketing metrics, product marketing notifications, landing page views, push notifications, historical data and other customer data.

Another key component is search engine optimization, user growth, paid advertising results or paid campaigns to get your message across.

While this is great, it’s not the end of the story.

A lot more care needs to be given to what transpires before the ultimate ‘click’.

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

Why is this a problem?

In order for businesses to drive growth and create a great customer journey, they need to understand who their customers are.

You need to know why your customers are engaging with you, and what will help them stay motivated and come back for more.

This will allow a growth marketing team 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?

It doesn’t make sense – for growth marketing experts, c-level execs or everyday people!

So, we’re here to help you (or your growth marketing team) make sense of decision making along the marketing funnel.

How growth marketers can convert more customers by understanding their psychology

In most cases, growth marketing professionals understand the five stages in the consumer decision process.

It starts with identifying the problem or need.

Next, customers will start seeking out information and evaluating alternatives.

After this, in the customer journey, is purchasing.

Finally, post-purchase behavior is expected.

So, what does this tell us?

The customer journey is a clearly mapped-out process.

However, more consideration needs to be included on what drives the consumer to transition between these stages.

Think about it.

From a business point-of-view, our drivers are more about sales.

You know – the focus on better retention, new products, better creative ideas, and profit, profit, profit!

But that’s not where it ends.

From a consumer perspective, they don’t care about the finance team’s frantic drivers.

They care about their world, their fears, and their unique 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.

You will also learn how to focus your marketing, create meaningful content, deploy marketing strategies.

And you might just reach your growth marketing goals by gaining engaged customers in the process.

Understanding decisions as a growth marketer

Has the way we make decisions changed in a modern world?

Has the entire industry of growth marketing changed?

How can a growth marketing team respond to this change?

In the past decade, despite 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 has been since millennia ago.

This is good news for sustainable growth.

And it’s good news for a product focused marketing funnel, too.

However, don’t slack on sending your potential customers to a badly chosen landing page just because decision making hasn’t changed.

Emotions and decision-making

Emotions are the first trigger to any decision.

It could be fear, boredom, curiosity, happiness.

Or maybe it’s loneliness, anxiety, competitiveness.

But no matter what successful growth marketers may say – this is an unconscious decision.

As humans, we 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.

It doesn’t matter whether this is 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.
  • How would they feel if they knew they would never have to face that problem again?


Logic and decision-making for growth marketing teams

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. Successful growth marketers undertand these key factors.

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.

Customer engagement is key to achieve this.

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.

After all, it is their job to create an amazing customer experience with customer lifecycle marketing that accounts for past behavior from customers.

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.

You could give them unlimited access to a selected feature of yours.

Or, this 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.

Don’t forget this when planning your next growth marketing strategy.


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 key component for understanding their behaviour 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.

Your user acquisition and conversion rate optimization should be vastly improved after all is said and done.

Featured Posts