Marketers have been using three step mental model of marketing for a long time. The Traditional model comprises of three steps…

Stimulus–  when consumer becomes aware about a product through TV ad.

Shop – When consumer encounters a product in store and makes the purchase. This is the First Moment of Truth.

Experience – When consumers take the product home and experience the good or bad aspects of the product. This is the Second Moment of Truth.

Google conducted a comprehensive study with the help of a research partner, Shopper Sciences using 5000 shoppers across 12 categories. Google found that in order to cover his journey from Undecided to Decided, an average shopper used 10.4 sources in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010. Consumers search through social networks, reviews, ads or friends to decide about a particular product.

Here are some of common stages that every customer goes through while buying a product:

Need Identification: In this stage, a consumer feels the need to get a product or service. This need can either arise after a consumer encounters a certain problem or is convinced by a company’s commercial.

Search for information: Once the need has been identified, the consumer accumulates information on products which can meet his needs. This is one of the essential stages for any marketer where the customer looks out for information on product or service using multiple available sources. These sources can include his or her own experience, reference from relatives, family or friends, company website, social networking websites, advertisements and other sources.

Alternative Evaluation: Once a consumer has procured information on the needed product, he looks for the best options available to him and compares reputable brands on multiple parameters. The stage automatically influences the decision making process of customers who are willing to buy.