Consumer Anxiety is as much, post purchase

I remember placement time when I was at the verge of graduation. The year was 1993. I recall the anxiety that went all around before 'placement', as much as after placement. That is, we were anxious before the placement process started, and once we were selected, we still talked about how it would be with the company we were about to join.

The point to note here, is the post-placement psyche. It didn't matter we were placed. It was now about the choice we made of the company that would be our future workplace. Was it the right one, we wondered? More so, for students who weren't joining Day Zero recruiters. The reinforcement that they sought revolved around speaking about the company they were about to join, with whoever cared to listen. And in that conversation the selected student would try and point out how fortunate he was to be able to work for the particular company.

In Behavioural terms, such an 'act' is termed 'rationalisation'. And it isn't limited to colleges and students.

Marketers ought to recognise that consumer anxiety isn't restricted to a pre-purchase scenario. Post purchase too, anxiety levels rise. About whether the choice made was the right one. Especially if the product in question is a high-involvement one with considerable purchase risk. Consumers react to this anxiety by engaging in four kinds of responses. One, they rationalise the decision as a wise one. They talk about it, the way it happens after placements. Two, they may seek advertisements that support their choice and avoid those of competitor brands. Three, they may attempt to persuade friends or people they know to buy the same brand, and thus confirm their choice. And, four, they may turn to other satisfied owners for reassurance.

The lesson in here for marketers is one of post purchase communiques. As much as brands use pre-purchase communiques to pilot buys, post purchase ones too are needed to reduce welling up anxiety. In a corporate recruitment scenario, this post purchase communique could be a mail sent to the recruited students stating how pleased the company is to have them and how much they look forward to the students joining and building a successful career with them.

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