Consumer decision-making process: Information Search

An aroused consumer will be inclined to search for more information. This search can be at two levels:

  1. The middle search State called heightened attention. Here the consumer simply becomes more receptive to information about product in which he/she is interested. He/She pays attention to products ads, similar products purchased by friends, and conversation about product.

  1. Or consumer may go into active information search where consumer looks for reading material, and engages in other search activities to learn about product in which he/she is interested. How many search consumers undertakes depends upon strength of his/her drive; the amount of information he/she initially has, the ease of obtaining additional information etc. Consumer information sources fall into four groups:

  • Personal sources: Family, friends, neighbour, acquaintances

  • Commercial sources: Advertising, Salesperson, dealers, displays etc.

  • Public sources: Mass media, consumer rating organization.

  • Experiential sources: handling, examining, and using the product.

The relative amount and influence of these information sources varies with the product category and the buyer’s characteristics. Generally speaking, the consumer receives the sources, that is, marketer dominated sources. On the other hand, the most effective exposures come from personal sources. Each information source performs a somewhat different function in influencing the buying decision. Commercial information normally performs and informing function and personal sources performs a legitimizing and /or evaluation function. For example, physicians often learn of new drugs from commercial sources but turn to other doctors fro evaluation information.