Get a Crash Course on the Buyer Decision Process from TV’s ‘The Bachelor’

As I was anxiously awaiting the premiere of The Bachelor, I thought about the similarities between the selection process the Bachelor goes through and the buyer decision process that consumers experience when buying a product. Now don’t get me wrong, the majority of purchases aren’t nearly as important as choosing who you are going to marry, but when you are as indecisive as I am some purchases seem to require as much thought!


Step 1: Problem Recognition

Problem recognition occurs when a consumer finds a need for a product. This need could be triggered by the consumer seeing marketing for a product or from realizing they’re out of their favorite shampoo. In the Bachelor’s case, problem recognition occurs when he realizes it’s time for him to find a wife (and feels that there is no better way to do this than to go on national television and date 30 women at once). Luckily for consumers, products don’t cry when you choose another product over them, they don’t have catfights with their competition, and they don’t obsess over getting a rose. Unluckily for the Bachelor, the women do all of this…but if they didn’t, then who would watch!?

Step 2: Information Search

The information search is the next (and most involved) step in the buyer decision process; this is what you see throughout the whole season of The Bachelor. The information search includes all of the Bachelor’s group and one-on-one dates. By dating, he’s gathering the information he needs to choose one woman in the final rose ceremony. In a series of subcategories, here is what the Bachelor goes through in his information search and how it compares to consumers’ information search:


Narrowing the Pool

The lucky Bachelor starts with around 30 women, all of whom are dying (some begging) to get a rose and make it to the next round, and after the first rose ceremony he narrows it down to 20. To choose who gets a rose and who gets sent home, there is a cocktail party where the Bachelor talks to each of the women for what appears to be 15 minutes.

Similarly, consumers start with a vast selection of products to choose from if they plan to buy something. To narrow this selection down quickly, they’ll perform an internet search or use public sources to get rid of any products that aren’t worth more elaborate research. The Bachelor can’t exactly Google the women to narrow his choices down, so this cocktail party is his form of gathering research.

Group/Individual Dates

After the Bachelor has narrowed it down to 20 women, he then takes them on various types of dates (from one-on-one dates to group dates). During these dates he gets to know the women better and keeps narrowing his choices down until he has about 5 women left standing.

This part of the selection process for The Bachelor is similar to product comparisons. It’s easier for the Bachelor to get to know the women if he is on a one-on-one date with them, just as it is also easier for a consumer to find out more information about a product when they are putting their focus on researching one product at a time. In other instances, consumers like to compare products next to each other, something the Bachelor is able to do on a group date.

Hometown/Meet the Family Dates

As the season comes to the end, the Bachelor goes to the hometowns of the few women left standing to meet their families. When consumers are deciding between the last few products, they may give the product a trial run or go to the store and test it out in person. This would be similar to The Bachelor going to the women’s hometowns and seeing what it would be like to be part of their life. He also has his family meet the final women, and asks their opinions on the choices he’s made.

When I make an important decision (or even when I can’t decide what to get for lunch) I may ask the people around me what they think I should do. By getting friends’ and family’s opinions, consumers may either be assured they are making the right choice or may discover information they weren’t able to gather themselves.

Step 3: Evaluation of Alternatives

In this stage of the buyer decision process, the consumer uses the information he or she gathered and evaluates the choices that are left based on the desired attributes of a product. The Bachelor uses this same process to evaluate the final women based on what he would like in a future wife. For example, he may decide he wants his future wife to be funny, good looking, successful, and not crazy (yes, smart alecks…this is possible). He would use those attributes to evaluate the final women.

Step 4: Purchase Decision

This is the stage where the consumer decides to purchase or not (and what to purchase). Essentially, the Bachelor makes the same decision – who to give the final rose to and whether he should propose or bail completely and remain a bachelor (this last choice is highly frowned upon among Bachelor viewers).

Step 5: Post-Purchase Behavior

In the final stage of the buyer decision process, the consumer evaluates their decision based on satisfaction or dissatisfaction. In the Bachelor history, most Bachelors end up dissatisfied with their ‘purchase decision’ and end up breaking up with the woman they chose after the season ends. Hopefully consumers make better purchase decisions than some of the previous Bachelors have!

Do you see any other similarities between ABC’s The Bachelor and the buyer decision process? Who do you think Brad should pick this season?

Heading photo and The Bachelor are property of the ABC Network. All rights reserved.


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  1. JPO

    This is a little out of my realm, but there are some items, guitars especially, that I feel like I kind of have a quasi-relationship with. I definitely treat some better than others, and feel bad if I don’t give them enough attention =)

  2. Scooby DOO!

    The bachelor… why am I TOTALLY not surprised. Nice job LK. Can you do your next one on another quality show like Temptation Island, Say Yes To the Dress, Money Drop, or atleast Big Brother?

  3. Kyle

    It’s funny that you dedicated an entire blog post covering the buyer decision process because I actually just finished covering this exact concept in my marketing class last week. I like the creative spin you put on it too because all of these examples fit the process perfectly. Sure it may be slightly different shopping for an actual physical product, but I can definitely see how “The Bachelor” follows the same process when looking for that special someone. Great post!

  4. Jill Tooley

    EXCELLENT blog debut, Lauren! 🙂

    I don’t watch “The Bachelor,” but I know enough about it to draw this conclusion: your comparisons are dead-on. Sure, most of us wouldn’t ponder a product as thoroughly as we’d ponder a spouse, but we follow the same paths in order to make a decision. I’m particularly big on the “Hometown/Meet the Family Dates” section you mentioned – if I can’t decide on a product, I’ll ALWAYS turn to my trusted circle of family and friends to ask their opinions. And more often than not, I’m swayed by what they have to say. No one knows me better than them, and therefore they usually know what’s best for me!

    I did a quick search of The Bachelor to educate myself before this post was published, and my findings revealed that this season’s Bachelor was actually on the show once before – and rejected BOTH of his potential narrowed-down suitors. Why does he get a second chance? That seems a bit unfair…the way I see it, he had his shot and he blew it! Who’s to say he doesn’t do the same thing this season? Your thoughts? 😉

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Sometimes a guy just wants to play the field, Jill. Cut him some slack. 😉

    • LK

      Jill- it does seem a little unfair that he should get to try again when he failed the first time around. According to him he’s been through 3 years of therapy to “find himself and what he really wants and is now ready to find love”.
      Funny story though- He was known as the most hated Bachelor and in the first episode when one of the girls got out of the limo to introduce herself, she smacked him and goes “thats from all the women in America”. Needless to say, she’s still around (and there are 8 women left!).

      • Jill Tooley

        He needed 3 years of therapy to understand what he’s looking for? He must be either emotionally scarred or super immature. Sounds like a load of crap if I’ve ever heard one! That story is hilarious – wouldn’t it be funny if he ended up picking her?

        Remember that Bachelor spinoff, Joe Millionaire? I guiltily admit that I watched that show all the way through the first season…have ANY of these couples actually stayed together after the show? It doesn’t seem like it, now that I think about it…

  5. Joseph Giorgi

    How dare you objectify and degrade women by equating them to “products?!” That’s pretty insensitive!

    All kidding aside, fantastic post! Very detailed and very insightful. I’ve never watched “The Bachelor,” but I have a pretty clear sense of what the show entails, and you’re analogy is spot-on.

    We’re all consumers by nature (whether we admit it or not), and I’d argue that the show’s popularity is due largely to the idea that, to some extent, the dating world is one in which participants assume the role of consumable products anyway. Why not just act accordingly and streamline the process for network television?

  6. Bret Bonnet

    Way to pop your blog cherry in style Lauren! 🙂

    Wow… I couldn’t agree more with the “Hometown/Meet the Family Dates” step during the information search process. To all you “lovers” out there, remember, when you marry your significant other, you also marry their family. Take it from me; chose WISELY! 🙂

    Buyers remorse (step #5) is a BIG driver of persons’ purchasing habits. When it comes to human behavior, risk trumps all.

    … This is why as a company Quality Logo Products offers a VERY flexible sample policy. We HIGHLY recommend that all of our customers request a sample before they make a purchase. While we always evaluate a product before adding it to our product inventory online, it’s important to us (and to you) that you have the opportunity to evaluate a product before making such an important purchase decision.

    As far as the show “The Bachelor”; LAME! 🙂

  7. Yowhatup!

    Agreed that the show Bachelor is kind of lame! 🙂

    But the comparison is right on! Great first blog post!!!

  8. Josette

    Great Blog Lauren… Love it!
    I agree with Bret… “when you marry your significant other, you also marry their family.” Choosing wisely is a complete understatement. Go for the whole package in life and promotional products!!! Quality Logo, will you accept this rose?

  9. Lauren

    That was a very interested and fun comparison Lauren!! I really enjoyed reading it!!! And for who I’m cheering for… I have lots of favorites right now, but I’m def. not cheering for Michelle… 🙂
    Can’t wait for next week! And more Lauren blog posts!

  10. Alex

    This is a great comparison, although I cannot stand “The Bachelor.” Great post.

  11. ASneed

    This was the season of The Bachelor that I watched, and I loved it!

    Great blog, Lauren! =)

    • LK

      Are you watching the Bachelorette this season??

      Maybe I’ll find some inspiration for another blog while watching this season of the Bachelorette…!

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