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Understanding customer behaviour – how it can increase our sales
The study of consumer behaviour is an important part of the managerialist approach to marketing. If the management team of Toga Toys can come to a better understanding of why people behave as they do, it should be possible to develop products which have a better chance of success in the marketplace and hence increase the sales. Over and above the interests of firms, there is a societal interest in seeking to understand consumer behaviour.
‘’Consumer behavior is the mental, emotional and physical activities that people engage in when selecting, purchasing, using, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy needs and desires’’. (Lutz 1989)
In order to understand the consumer behaviour, the managers must first understand the consumer personality and all the factors that can influence and motivate the individual, like the thinking, the feeling and the attitude. For instance looking at the attitude of children of a certain generation and being careful at the same time to what education the parents want to assign to their children. And, through those observations create such a toy that will satisfy both parent and children, making them thus fully happy and sharing a moment playing together.
During the twentieth century Freud’s theories had an immense impact on the study of psychology, linguistics and social theory that continues to this day. Freud’s relevance to the understanding of consumer behaviour is diverse. One major benefit of the Freudian approach is that it highlights unconscious and conflictual processes as part of its explanation of consumer behaviour. Freud’s major contribution comes from his representation of the struggle between biology and social forces which are mediated by the self. Additionally, Freud has supplied a rich vocabulary, including concepts such as id, ego and superego to enable others who wish, to explore the effects of consumer goods on consciousness.
The psychoanalytic, behaviorist and cognitive approaches to understanding consumer buyer behaviour have each different consequence for the explanation of behaviour. For example, Freudian views stress the role of unconscious desire in motivating buyer behaviour. While there are still many researchers who are inspired by Freudian theory and who are working to uncover the underlying unconscious motives of buyer behaviour, the cognitive problem solving approach is currently dominant. This approach has much to offer, in that it explains both extended and routine behaviours in addition to the conditions of high and low-involvement.
While Freudians place the unconscious motivation of desire as the central motivation for behaviour; cognitivists emphasise the idea that complex behaviour becomes gradually routinized and subconscious over time, freeing up valuable attention for other activities. There is no doubt that the cognitive approach to consumer buyer behaviour is most useful, as it incorporates concepts such as beliefs, attitudes and intentions. However, this model can be criticised by behaviourists who argue that their explanation is simpler and more effective.
Consumers might not know that their specific needs exist at all. Marketers might stress the fact that since consumers are not always conscious of their needs, it might be possible to create a need and market it to them. In their unconscious minds, consumers might feel the desire to solve a problem. Marketers need to tap into that desire and design it into a product that would then create the need for that product. The iPad can be a good example. At the back of their minds, consumers might have always wanted to carry a lot of books that they would read whenever and wherever they wished to. iPad successfully solves that problem and has been of phenomenal value and use to customers.
‘’Toga Toys’’ has a reputation for being innovative and manufacturing toys that help educate children as well as being fun to play with. To see the sales growing our company must then adopt a similar approach by creating toys with features that will fully satisfy both parent and children and therefore that will contribute positively and significantly to the education of these kids.
At birth individuals are identified with those forms of signification which are associated with our parents and which mark their identities for example with their class position, religion or ethnicity which are transferred to individuals. While undoubtedly identity is given to us by society, it is true that a stable identity is something which individuals strive for as it provides a sense of belongingness, of ‘home’. Outside of our own skins, the family is where we are likely to feel most at home. That is why Toga Toys need to analyze consumers’ behaviour carefully according to their personality and their environment, thus their relationships with their parents and friends and deal with this information collected to respond efficiently to this unconscious demand.
Advertising and other communications may be used to build and maintain a high level of brand awareness and to provoke sufficient interest in a proportion of consumers that will lead them to try the product. Advertising may involve vicarious learning by showing people who look similar to those from the target group enjoying and benefiting from using the product. An advertising showing children with their parents having fun playing with SPELLWHIZ for example, would definitely push the younger and more aged spectators toward the product that might make them both having fun and allowing the children to learn how to spell while making them sharing a good time with their parents.
Also, advertisement will offer to Toga Toys opportunities to build a reliable reputation and to straighten the brand image by presenting the diverse products so as to make the company’s name more familiar and recognized.
The idea behind vicarious learning is that it is cost-free to the extent that one can observe and copy the behaviour of others if that is seen to be successfully reinforced or alternatively one can avoid what they do if one observes negative consequences (Bandura, 1972). For instance Toga Toys could detect how its competitors such as ‘’Fun Kids plc’’ or ‘’Global Toys plc ’’ are dealing with their customers, and then adopt the same approach so as to limit the costs and avoid them to meet undesirable situations.
Advertisers often promote indirect learning by showing the negative results that arise if people do not use their products and social support for those who do. Interest in trial may be further enhanced by means of an introductory trial offer coupled to eye-catching signage and a prominent placement position. Perhaps the most obvious means of encouraging trial is to ensure that there is a sufficient stock of the brand available to ensure that every customer can find the shape and size that they require.
Toga Toys could participate to various toys related events either professional or customer oriented. In professional events the company could present its products to industry buyers, in return these buyers offer their feedback. The same approach applies to customer oriented events where those customers will be able to try, test and buy the product and also provide feedback. Both types of events will therefore help Toga Toys understand the place of its product in the market and adapt it to the demand.
Both the psychological and social development plays an important role on influencing the purchase decisions. Marketers should take them into account when trying to persuade the consumers by different means of communication. For instance, a storytelling could connect the customers more to the brand emotionally. Another way of persuasion could be creating characters that the consumers will like and cheer for. Toga Toys could then create new characters inspired from a famous Cartoon to which the children refer to.
Edinburgh Business School
Heriot Watt University Manuals