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

Consumer Research – Personality & Consumer Behaviour Monday, Nov 24 2008 

Personality can be described as the psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his or her environment. Although mostly the personality tends to remain consistent and enduring, it may change abruptly in response to a major life events. Personality also change gradually over time.

Theories:

3 theories of personality are prominent in the study of consume behaviour:

 

  1. Psychoanalytic Theory
  2. Neo-Freudian Theory and 
  3. Trait Theory

 

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory provides the foundation for the study of motivational research, which operates on the premise that human drives are largely unconscious in nature and serve to motivate many consumer actions.

Non- freudian theory tends to emphasize th fundamental role of social relationships in the formation and development of the personality.

Alfred Adler viewed human beings as seeking to overcome feelings of inferiorty.

Harry Stack Sullivan believed  that people attempt to establish significant and rewarding relationships with others.

Karen Horney saw inidividuals as trying to overcome feelings of anxiery and categorized them as compliant, aggresive or detached.

Trait Theory is a major departure from the qualitative or subjective approach to personality measurement. It postulates that individuals possess innate pyschological traits to a greater or lesser degree, and that traits can be measured by specifically designed scales or inventories.

Because they are simple to use and to score and  can be self-administered, personality inventories are the preferred mehtod for many researchers in the assessment of consumer personality.

Product and brand personalities represent real opportunities for marketers to take advantage of consumers’ connections to various brands they offer.

Brands often have personalities- some include “humanlike” traits and even gender. These brand personalities help shape consumer responses, preferences and loyalities.

Each individual has a perceived self image or images as a certain kind of person with certain traits, possessions, relationships, habits, behaviours etc., Consumers frequently attempt to preserve, enhance, alter or extend their self images by purchasing products or services and shopping at stores they percieve as consistent with their relevant self image and by avoiding products and stores they percieve as not consistent to their self image.

What are the personalities of your target consumers?

What is your company’s brand image? What is your product/services image?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com;  manojonkar@gmail.com; 91-9375970812

Consumer Motivation Sunday, Nov 23 2008 

What is Consumer Motivation?

Motivation is the driving force within individuals that impels them to action. This driving force is produced by a state of uncomfortable tension, which exists as the result of an unsatisfied need. All individuals have needs, wants and desires. The individual’s subconscious drive to reduce need-induced tensions results in behaviour that he or she anticipates will satisfy needs and thus bring about a more comfortable internal state.

All behaviour is goal oriented. Goals are the sought-after results of motivated behaviour. The form or direction that  behaviour takes-the goal that is selected-is a result of thinking processes(cognition) and previous learning(e.g. experience).

There are 2 types of goals: generic goals and product-specific goals. A generic goal is a general category of goal that may fulfill a certain need; a product-specific goal is a specifically branded or labeled product that individual sees as a way to fulfill a need.

Product-specific needs are sometimes referred to as wants.

What are Innate Needs?

Innate Needs are those an individual is born with. They are Physiological (biogenic) in nature; they include all factors required to sustain physical life (e.g. food, water, shelter, clothing, sex, physical safety etc.,).

What are Acquired Needs?

Acquired needs those an individual develops after birth are primarily psychological (psychogenic). They include love, acceptance, esteem, and self-fulfillment.

For any given need, there are many different and appropriate goals. The Specific goal  selected depends on the individual’s experiences, physical capacity, prevailing cultural norms and values, and the goal’s accessibility in the physical and social environment.

What is the relationship between Needs and Goals?

Needs and goals are interdependent and change in response to the individual’s physical condition, environment, interaction with other people, and experiences. As needs become satisfied, new, higher order needs emerge that must be fulfilled.

How do People deal with Failure in achieving the goals?

Failure to achieve a goal often results in feelings of frustration. Individuals react to frustration in two ways:”fight” or “flight”. They may cope by finding a way around the obstacle that prohibits goal attainment or by adopting a substitute goal (fight); or they may adopt a defense mechanism that enables them to protect their self esteem (flight). Defense mechanisms include aggression, regression, rationalization, withdrawal, projection,daydreaming, identification, and repression.

Motives & Behaviours:

Motives cannot easily be inferred from consumer behaviour. People with different needs may seek fulfillment through selection of the same goals; people with the same needs may seek fulfillment through different goals. 

Although some psychologists have suggested that individuals have different needs priorities, other believe that most human beings experience the same basic needs, to which they assign a similar priority ranking.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory proposes five levels of human needs; physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, egoistic needs and self actualization needs.

Other needs widely integrated into consumer advertising include the needs for power, affiliation and achievement.

What are the 3 common methods for identifying and measuring human motives?

  1. Observation and Inference
  2. Subjective Reports
  3. Qualitative Research – including projective techniques.

None of these methods is completely reliable by itself.

Therefore researchers often use a combination of 2 or 3 techniques in tandem to assess the presence or strength of consumer motives.

What is Motivational Research ?

Motivational research is qualitative research designed to delve below the consumer’s level of conscious awareness. Despite some shortcomings, motivational research has proved to be of great value to marketers concerned with developing new ideas and new copy appeals.

Complaints and Unfulfilled Expectations against Management Consultants Wednesday, Nov 12 2008 

We invite all of you to write to us on managementinnovations2020@gmail.com or on this blog, based on your first hand experiences, what have been your moments of dissatisfaction, what have been your complaints, where you have found the Management Consultants not delivering your expectations, where have you found them not in your world.

The opportunity is to share and create awareness and also get inputs on what to do in such situations. 

This would be a WIN WIN for the clients and the consultants reading this blog.

Requested to avoid the names of the consultants and the consultancy firms.

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managmentinnovations2020@gmail.com; manojonkar@gmail.com, 919375970812

How are you leveraging the Net for your Business? Monday, Nov 10 2008 

Do you have a product with good brand recognition in the offline world, but do not have much online presence?

How many customers are coming to you because of your online presence?

How much percentage of your business is happening because of your online marketing?

What is your online marketing strategy? do you want to brainstorm with us on what is possible in the area of using online marketing to expand your business?

Do you want to do market research?

Do you want to create parallel sales channel?

Do you want to get across the a new customer segment?

Do you want to supplement your advertisement with online activites which draw potential customers to you?

Talk to us

Management Innovations

managementinnovations2020@gmail.com

manojonkar@gmail.com

919375970812

How to Survive the Recession: Sell like Mad and keep your Market Share Thursday, Nov 6 2008 

MAINTAIN YOUR MARKET SHARE:

Sell. Sell. Sell.

And

Sell. Sell. Sell.

And 

Sell. Sell. Sell.

 

Sell more products, cover more market, Offer more product range, Offer value added services, Offer economical options, offer packages, offer low cost, offer gaurantees, offer combos, offer free stuff, etc.,

Sell. Sell. Sell.

Increaes your market penetration.

Maintain Relationship with Old Clients. Really serve them. Exceed their expectations.

Increase your market coverage and your customer relaitonship.

Talk to the customers. Listen to them. Do not listen to what you want. Listen to what they want.

Time to make everyone pull their weight and shoulder the responsibilities. 

All hands on deck.

 

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

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

SALES, MARKETING & MARKET RESEARCH (Make your company recession proof) Wednesday, Nov 5 2008 

Sales, marketing, market research are a dynamic cycle of continuous study and implementation.

Researching the various target customers based on our best ability to serve their needs in the most effective manner, creates a great relationship between the customers and the company.

As the customer needs keep changing, mapping the needs on a regular basis, re-evaluating the service offerings, customizing the solution packages, fine tuning the delivery mechanism are regular requirements.

Stronger brand awareness, stronger customer engagement, the integration into the customers life style (personally or professionally), becoming indispensable by solving their mission critical problems and supporting them in fulfilling their dreams and visions.

Geographical reach along with strong segmentation and mapping each segment is important.

This is one of those make or break areas of the organization where the top management has to be keenly involved.

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