Consumer Decision Making & Relationship Marketing Friday, May 28 2010 

The Consumer’s decision to purchase or not to purchase a product or service is an important moment for most marketers. It can signify whether a marketing strategy has been successful or not. Therefore, marketing people are interested in the consumer’s decision making process.

For a consumer to make a decision, more than one alternative must be available, including the alternative called making a decision to not buy or not buy now.

The various models of 

  1. Consumers View
  2. Passive View
  3. Cognitive View
  4. Emotional View

depict consumers and their decision making processes in distinctly different ways.

An overview consumer decision making model ties together the psychologist, social,and cultural concepts into easily understood network. This decision model has 3 sets of variables: input variables, process variables and output variables.

Input variables that affect the decision – making process include commercial marketing efforts, as well as non commercial influences from the customer’s sociocultural environment. The decision process variables are influenced by the consumer’s psychological field, including the evoked set or the brands in a particular product category considered in making a purchase choice.

The psychological field influences the consumer’s recognition of a need, pre purchase search for information and evaluation of alternatives.

The output phase of the model includes the actual purchase (either trial or repeat purchase) and post purchase evaluation. Both pre purchase and post purchase evaluation feeds back in the form of experience into the consumer’s psychological field and serves to influence future decision making process.

GIFTING:

The process of gift exchange is an important part of consumer behaviour. 

Various gift giving and gift receiving relationships are captured by the following 5 specific categories in the gifting classification scheme:

  1. Intergroup gifting: A group gives a gift to another group.
  2. Intercategory gifting: An individual gives a gift to a group or a group gives a gift to an individual.
  3. Intragroup gifting: A group gives a gift to itself or its members.
  4. InterPersonal gifting: An individual gives a gift to another individual
  5. Intrapersonal gifting: A Self Gift.

Consumer behaviour is not must making a purchase, it also includes the full range of experiences associated with using products or services. It includes the sense of pleasure and satisfaction derived from possessing or collecting “things”. The outputs of consumption are the changes in feelings,moods, attitudes, reinforcement of lifestyles, an enhanced sense of self; satisfaction of a consumer related need; belonging to groups; and expressing and entertaining oneself.

Among other things, consuming includes the simple utility of using a Superior product, the stress reduction of a vacation, the sense of having a “sacred” possession, and the pleasures of a hobby or a collection. Some possessions serve to assist consumers in their effort to create a personal meaning and to maintain a sense of the past.

Relationship Marketing impacts consumer’s decisions and their consumption satisfaction. Firms establish loyalty programs to foster usage loyalty and a commitment to continued usage of their products and services.

Relationship marketing is all about buildign trust between the firm and its customers and keeping promises made to the customers. Therefore the focus is always on developing long term bonds with customers by making them fee special and by providing them with personalized services.

How is your relationship marketing doing?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com, 919375970812

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Consumer Behaviour, Consumer Influence and the Process of Diffusion Friday, May 28 2010 

What is Opinion Leadership?

Opinion Leadership is the process by which the opinion leader informally influences the actions or attitudes of others, who may be opinion seekers or merely opinion recipients. Opinion receivers perceive the opinion leader as a highly credible, objective source of product information who can help reduce their search and analysis time and percieved risk.

Opinion leaders are motivated to give information or advice to others, in part doing so enhances their own status and self image and because such advice tends to reduce any post purchase dissonance that they may have.Other motives include product involvement, message involvement or any other involvement.

Market researchers identify opinion leaders by such methods as self designation, key informants, the sociometric method and the objective method.

Studies of opinion leadership indicate that this phenomenon tends to be product category specific, generally one of their interest. An opinion leader of one product range can be an opinion receiver for another product category.

Generally, opinion leaders are gregarious, self confident, innovative people who like to talk. Additionally, they may feel differentiated from others and choose to act differently (or public individuation).

They acquire information about their areas of interest through avid readership of special interest magazines and ezines and by means of new product trials.

Their interests may often overlap into adjacent areas and thus their opinion leadership may also extend into those areas.

Who is a market maven ?

The market maven is an intense case of a opinion leader kind of person. These consumers possess a wide range of information about many different types of products, retail outlets, and other dimensions of markets.

They both initiative discussions with other consumers and respond to requests for market information over a wide range of products and services. 

Market mavens are also distinguished from other opinion leaders because their influence stems not so much from product experience but from a more general knowledge or market expertise that leads them to an early awareness of a wide array of new products and services.

The opinion leadership process usually take place among friends, neighbours and work associates who have frequent physical proximity and thus have ample opportunity to hold informal product related conversations. These conversations usually occur naturally in the context of the product-category usage.

The two – step flow of communication theory highlights the role of interpersonal influence in the transmission of information from the mass media to the populations at large. This theory provides the foundation for a revised multi step flow of communication model, which takes into account the fact that information and influence often are 2 way processes and that the opinion leaders both influence and are influenced by opinion receivers.

It is important for the marketers to segment their audiences into opinion leaders and opinion receivers for their respective product categories. When marketers can direct their promotional efforts to the more influential segments of these markets, these opinion leaders will transmit the information to those who seek product advice.

Marketers try to simulate and stimulate opinion leadership. They have also found that they can create opinion leaders for their products by taking socially involved or influential people and deliberately increasing their enthusiasm for a product category.

The diffusion process and the adoption process are 2 closely related concepts concerned with the acceptance of new products by customers.

The diffusion process is a macro process that focuses on the spread of an innovation from its source to the consuming public.

The adoption process is a micro process that examines the stages through which an individual consumer passes when making a decision to accept or reject a new product.

The definition of the term innovation can be

1. Firm oriented(new to the firm),

2. Product oriented(a continuous innovation, a dynamically continuous innovation, or  A discontinuous innovation),

3. Market oriented(how long the product has been on the market or an arbitrary percentage of the potential target market that has purchased it), or

4. Consumer oriented (new to the customer).

Market-oriented definitions of innovation are most useful to consumer researchers in the study of the diffusion and adoption of new products.

Five Product Characteristics influence the consumers acceptance of a new product:

 

  1. Relative Advantage
  2. Compatibility
  3. Complexity
  4. Trialability
  5. Observability

 

Diffusion researchers are concerned with 2 aspects of communication – the channels through which word about a new product or service is spread to the public and the types of messages that influence the adoption or rejection of new products or services.

Diffusion is always examined in the context of a specific social system, such as a target market, a community, a region or even a nation.

Time is an integral consideration in the diffusion process. Researchers are concerned with the amount of purchase time required for an individual customer to adopt or reject a new product/service, with the rate of adoptions and with the identification of sequential adopters.

The 5 adopter categories are innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

Marketing Strategists try to control the rate of adoption through their new product pricing policies. Companies who wish to penetrate the market to achieve market leaderships try to acquire wide adoption as quickly as possible by using low prices. Those who wish to recoup their developmental costs quickly use a skimming pricing policy but lengthen the adoption process.

The traditional adoption process model describes 5 stages through which an individual consumer passes to arrive at the decision to adopt or reject a new product:

  1. Awareness, 
  2. Interest,
  3. Evaluation
  4. Trial
  5. Adoption

To make it more realistic, an enhanced model is recommended as one that considers the possibility of a pre existing need or problem, the likelihood that some form of evaluation might occur through the entire process, and that even after adoption there will be post adoption or purchase evaluation that might either strengthen the commitment or alternatively lead to discontinuation of the product/service.

Companies marketing new products are vitally concerned with identifying the consumer innovator so that they may direct their promotional campaigns to the people who are most like to try new products, adopts them and influences others.

Consumer Research has identified a number of consumer related characteristics, including product interest, opinion leadership, personality factors, purchase and consumption traits, media habits, social characteristics, and demographic variables that distinguish consumer innovators from later adopters. These serve as useful variables in the segmentation of markets for new product introductions.

Who are the innovators and early adopters for your products and services? How have you planned your diffusion strategy for the current products and the new products?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812

PRICING STRATEGY IN COMPETITIVE TIMES Tuesday, May 25 2010 

Pricing has lot to do with the target audience that you are positioning your product and service offerings for?

Do you want to target the uber rich and super rich or you want to target the rich and the upper middle class?

These competitive times along with the recessionary pressures will force most of the organizations to relook at their pricing strategy?

What should be your strategy? What target market will fulfill the sustainable growth requirements for your organization? 

How would your budgets look with high pricing and low volumes vs little lower pricing or even half pricing and increased volumes?

What Volumes are you expecting at what price point?

What will be the increased sales and marketing costs required based on change of the target market segments and the pricing policy to ensure the successful implementation.

What is the scalability in your production capacity, especially if you are a service organization?

Service offerings may have more restriction on their capacities and hence more restrictions on how much they can play around with their pricing models.

What is your product or service packages? What pricing models are your exploring? What optional target market segments are you considering?

Contact: MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com, manojonkar@gmail.com; 919375970812