Perception is the process by which individuals select, organize and interpret stimuli into a meaningful and coherent picture of the world.

Perception has strategy implications for marketers because consumers make decisions based on what they perceive rather than on the basis of objective reality.

Consumers selections of stimuli from the environment are based on the interaction of their expectations and motives wit the stimulus itself. The principles of selective perception include the following concepts:

  1. Selective Exposure
  2. Selective Attention
  3. Perceptual Defense   and
  4. Perceptual Blocking.

People usually percieve things they need or want and block the perception of unnecessary, unfavourable or painful stimuli.

Consumers organize their perceptions into unified wholes according to the principles of Gestalt Psychology:figure and ground, grouping, and closure.

The interpretation of stimuli is highly subjective and is based on what the consumer expects to see in light of previous experience, on motves and interests at the time of perception, and on the clarity of stimulus itself.

Influences that tend to distort objective interpretation include Physical apprearances, stereotypes, halo effects, irrelevant cues, first impressions and the tendency to jump to conclusions.

Just as individuals have perceived images of themselvs, they also have perceived images of products and brands. The perceived image of a product or service is probably more important to its ultimate success than are its actual pysical characteristics.

Products and Services that are percieved distinctly and favourably have a much better chance of being purchased than products or services with unclear or unfavourable images.

Service Marketers face several unique problems in positioning and promoting their offerings because services are intangible,inherently variable, perishable and are simultaneously produced and consumed.

Regardless of how well the product or service appears to be positioned, the marketer may be forced to reposition it in response to market events, such as a new competitor, new strategies of existing competitors, changing market dynamics, changing consumer preferences.

The quality of a product or services is judged on the basis of a variety of informational clues; intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic will be things like size, colour, flavour, aroma, packaging, look and feel. Extrinsic clues will include store image, price, brand image, service environment etc.,

In the absence of the first hand experience or other information, consumers often rely on price as an indicator of quality. How a consumer perceives a price – as high,low or fair has a strong influence on purchase intentions and satisfaction. Consumers rely on both internal and external reference prices when assessing the fairness of price.

Consumer imagery also includes perceived images of retail stores that influence the perceived quality of products they carry, as well as decisions as to where to shop.

Manufacturers or Retailers who generally enjoy a favourable image find that their new products are accepted more readily compared to those manufacturers or retailers who have less favourable or even neutral images.

Consumers often perceive risk in making product selections because of uncertainty as to the consequences of their purchase decisions.

The types of risk that the customers perceived are:

  1. Functional Risks
  2. Physical Risk
  3. Financial Risk
  4. Social Risk
  5. Psychological Risk and
  6. Time Risk.

Customers try for reducing the risk by increasing their information search, buying from reputable retailers, buying the expensive brands, and seeking reassurance in the form of money back guarantees, warranties, and pre purchase trial.

The concept of perceived risk is important implications for marketers, who can facilitate the acceptanc e of new products by incorporating risk-reduction strategies in their new product or service promotional campaigns.

How do your customers percieve you? How do your customers percieve your products? What are you doing to increase the perceptions in your favour.

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