Decision contentment or buyer’s remorse?
26th May 2020 | Roger Brooksbank and Sam Fullerton
Identifying a B2B buyer’s post-decision “cognitive states” – consonance and dissonance – and how to accommodate them.
Conventional wisdom suggests that post-purchase cognitive dissonance (PPCD) is the sole “cognitive state” toward which a salesperson needs to be attuned for the purposes of taking some form of mutually beneficial action. However, recent research indicates that three other states relating to the aftermath of a B2B buyer’s decision also merit attention.
Cognitive dissonance is experienced when a person suffers from the unpleasant and conflicted state of being “in two minds about something” – in other words, concurrently holding two or more contradictory cognitions (ie, perceptions, attitudes or beliefs). The concept became popularised among marketers following the publication of Leon Festinger’s seminal work, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), in which the perspective was put forward that an individual beset by cognitive dissonance will be motivated to resolve the dilemma by altering their cognitions in an effort to relieve the attendant discomfort.
Indeed, an interest in determining how best to accommodate Festinger’s theory, especially within a B2C post-purchase context, quickly became universally embraced by marketers, giving rise to today’s widespread use of terminology such as “PPCD” and “buyer’s remorse”.