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

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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

Social Class and Consumer Behaviour Thursday, Nov 27 2008 

SOCIAL CLASSES & CONSUMER BEHAVIOURS:

Social Stratification, the divison of memebrs of a society into a hierarchy of distinct social classes, exists in all societies and cultures.

Social class usually is defined by the amount of status that members of a specific class possess in relation to members of other classes. Social-class membership often serves as a frame of reference for the development of consumer attitudes and behaviour.

The measurement of social class is concerned with classifying individuals into social class groupings. These groupings are of particular value to marketers, who use social classification as an effective means of identifying and segmenting target markets.

There are 3 basic methods for measuring social class:

  1. Subjective Measurement
  2. Reputational Measurement
  3. Objective Measurement

Subjective Measures rely on an individual’s self perception.

Reputational Measures rely on an individual’s perceptions of others and 

Objective Measures use specific socioeconomic mesures, either alone or in combination with others.

Composite variable indexes sucha s the index of status characteristics and the socio economic status score, cominbe a no. of socio economic factors to form one overall measure of social class standing.

Class strucutres range from two class to nine class systems. A frequently used classification system consists of 6 classes: Upper upper, lower Upper, upper middle, lower middle, upper lower, and lower lower classes.

Profiles of these clases are reflected in differences in attitudes, in leisure activities, and in consumption habits. That is why, for the marketers, social class based market segmentation is of high importance.

Geodemographic clustering is a technique that combines geogrpahic and socio economic factors to locate concentrations of consumers with particular characteristics. Particular attention currently is being directed to affluent consumers, who represent the fastest growing segment in our population; however, some marketers are finding it extremely profitable to cater to the needs of non affluent consumers.

Research has revealed social class differences in clothing habits, home decoration, leisure activities, as well as saving, spending and credit habits.

Thus, smart marketeres tailor specific product and promotional strategies to each social-class target segment.

Which Social classes are your customers from? How are their behaviours impacted by these various factors?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

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

Market Segmentation Friday, Nov 21 2008 

Market Segmentation and diversity are complementary concepts. Without a diverse marketplace, composed of many different peoples with different backgrounds, cultures,environments,paradigms, thoughts processes, interests, needs and wants, there really would be little reason to segment markets.

Earlier Mass Marketing – selling the same product or service package to everyone, was the most widely used marketing strategy, before the widespread adoption of the marketing concept. In many countries this is still developing and yet to become the part of the marketing and management DNA.

Market Segmentation is to be followed as a logical way to meet customers needs. Market Segmentation is defined as the process of dividing a potential market into distinct subsets of consumers with a common need or characteristic and selecting one or more segments to target with a specially designed marketing mix or product, price, promotion, place etc.,

Besides supporting in the development of new products, Market Segmentation research also supports in the redesigning and repositioning of existing products and services and in the creation of the appropriate promotional materials, including the selection of the most effective media for promotion.

Market Segmentation Strategies benefit both the customers and the marketers, hence they received full support from both parties. Market Segmentation is now widely used by most of the organizations including manufacturers, retailers, channels and even the not for profit sector.

9 Major Classes of Consumer Characteristics serve as the most common basis for Market Segmentation. These include:

  1. Geographic Factors
  2. Demographic Factors
  3. Psychological Factors
  4. Pyschographic Factors
  5. Socio-Cultural Factors
  6. Use -related Factors (Application)
  7. Use – Situation Factors (Environment)
  8. Benefits Expected and
  9. Hybrid Forms of Segmentation like Psychographic-demographic profiles  or geodemographic factors.

Key Criteria for Market Segmentation include:

1. Identification

2. Sufficiency

3. Stability

4. Accessibility.

 

Once one identifies potential target markets, one must decide whether to target 1 segment i.e  concentrated marketing OR to target several market segments i.e. differentiated marketing.

One has to then develop a positioning strategy for each of the selected target segment.

In some cases, one can recombine 2 or more market segments into one larger segments.

How do you Market Segmentation in your company?

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

managmentinnovations2020@gmail.com;  manojonkar@gmail.com; 91-9375970812

Customer and Consumer Behaviour Friday, Nov 21 2008 

The study of consumer behaviour enables the marketers to fully understand and be able to predict the consumer behaviours. It deals with not only with what the customer buy, but also with why, when, where, how, and how often they buy it.

Consumer Research is the Methodology that is used to study Customer and Consumer behaviour and it takes place at every stage/phase of the consumption process: before, during, and after the purchase.

The foundation fo the consumer behaviour is the Marketing Concept. Marketing Concept is the business orientation that evolved in the second half of the last century and is picking up more and more in the current environment. Marketing Concept was the evolution of the industry over the earlier concepts of production and product.

The 3 major strategies tools fo marketing are Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

The Marketing Mix consists of a company’s products and services offering(S) to customers and the pricing, promotion and distribution methods needed to accomplish the deal.

The Professional Marketers make the customers the core of the company’s culture and ensure that all employees view any interaction with the customers as a part of a Customer Relationship and not just a Transaction. The Top 3 drivers of successful relationships between marketers and customers are customer value, high levels of customer satisfaction, and building a  structure for customer retention.

Consumer behaviour is multi disciplinary, i.e it is based on various theories and concepts about people that have been developed by scientists in such diverse disciplines as economics, cultural anthropology, social psychology, sociology and psychology.

Consumer behaviour has to be an integral part of strategic market planning. 

Contact for further inputs:

MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS

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