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What stops you from buying?

In today’s difficult economic times, there’s all sorts of discussion about how consumers have stopped buying. And it makes a lot of sense that when someone has lost a job, or fears job loss, that going on a shopping spree seems like a bad idea. While that does stop some people from buying, it’s not the only thing that can prevent a customer ready to buy from opening his wallet. I want to talk about a different buying blockage that marketers can do something about.

Cash register in Museum - Cameron Highland

Image by liewcf via Flickr

It’s fear.
I don’t often think about the fears that my customers might have–I tend to approach things analytically rather than emotionally and I believe that I underestimate the role emotions play in buying decisions.
I noticed my own emotions when considering a recent purchase. For the last couple of months I have been thinking about purchasing a bandwidth aggregator. Yeah, I know that this sounds silly to a lot of people–I mean does anyone really need to double the Internet speed to his house by signing up two ISPs? Probably not, I admit, but I kinda want to do it.
But I am afraid to.
I’m afraid that I’ll spend a pile of money on the wrong device and it won’t work very well. Or it won’t work as well as I think it will. So, I am stuck, because I don’t want that buyer’s remorse. I mean, if I could be sure that it would work to my satisfaction, then I’d happily spend even more than what it costs. If someone would figure it all out for me and guarantee that it would work, I might go for what that costs. So, it’s not rational–it’s emotional. And I am not getting past this to actually buy anything.
I already have one ISP, my local cable company. To make this work, I’d have to choose between dozens of hardware devices that range in price from $150 to several thousand–I can’t tell what I actually need. And I need to bring in a second ISP–Verizon FIOS, who demands that I sign a long-term contract.
If I could try it and be sure that I could send everything back and cancel the FIOS service if it didn’t work, I would be able to take the next step. But I can’t. I can probably return the aggregator, but I can’t cancel FIOS. And I haven’t been able to even figure out which aggregator to get, anyway.
Now, I don’t want to sound as though what I’m looking for is common. The companies that make aggregators are used to their customers being smart, not like me. FIOS is used to making things easy by bundling routers for the average consumer, but it’s not what I need.
So, I’m not complaining that these marketers are necessarily doing a bad job. I’m just noticing that I am stuck when I could be buying. I could be buying if it were easier. If it were safer. If it were less complicated and less confusing.
Does your marketing make the purchase easy? Mistake-free? Correctable? If not, then some of your prospects are stuck.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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