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Understanding the consumer decision making process

3559 words (14 pages) Essay in Marketing

5/12/16 Marketing Reference this

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This dissertation aims to show to the marketing professionals the importance of understanding how the process of personal or household decision making occurs. as well as consider the influences on the buyer behaviour in order to survive in the market and be profitable not only in the short term but also in the long term, always looking to add value and satisfying the necessity of their own most valuable good asset, the consumer.

Costumer orientation is crucial. Find a way to predict and create (why not?) necessity that they never thought it could exist, and then satisfying those needs are the key point for the success of a marketing strategist.

But would be possible to really understand what the consumers have in mind when they buy?

Can they find a way to target the right consumer for their product at the right time and the right place with the perfect profitable price and after all the costumer yet end up also completely satisfied?

The decision making process initiates when the person recognizes a problem or necessity. Marketers have to recognize them before their consumer in order to have the solution for their problem ready to be sold, as well as the possible threats for this purchase to happen. [1] 

For example, people weren’t willing to buy an Apple computer because of software’s incompatibility. Apple, then, together with Microsoft made from this threat a market expansion.

Once the problem is recognized, people will search information regarding the product available, prices and features. At this stage is necessary to be aware of the channel of information the target market is more likely to use in order to invest in the right advertisement.

Kotler & Armstrong (2005) state that knowing how buyers evaluate alternatives and what are the factors that make them opt for certain brand, give to the marketers a great strategic tool.

For example, Apple, again, realised that there is a broad market that prioritize attributes such as a nice design, high performance of the software but at the same way having the necessity of an ease of use hardware tools.

In this case, laptop being a relatively expensive they can also antecipate that consumer might spend more time searching for information

Acknowledging that is also important to analyse who is the member of this family that is actually deciding the purchase.

In other others, in decision making process, usually, there isn’t only one person involved in the decision. Or, sometimes the person that is buying the product is not the one that actually made the decision.

As per Jobber, D. (2009) the Consumer’s buying centre. For example, a person intending to buy laptop, Isadora, fills the first role in our example, the initiator

She has no knowledge regarding laptops but her boyfriend Thomas has.

He has an important role in the decision, helping Isa to choose the right product, becoming the influencer.

Marketers at this point have to be aware of the importance of sending qualitative information in order to make a great impact in Thomas’ decision.

The third role is the decider, for example, Isa’s dad.

Thomas has given her 3 options (HP, Dell and Apple) but her dad has set a price and Isa had to give up the Mac.

Note that many people can be involved in the process as well as one person can be assume more than one role in the decision.

Here the decider could be Isa again or maybe Thomas himself.

The fourth role is of the buyer, who is actually making the purchase.

Thomas is buying the laptop for her.

Instead of buying at Amazon.com, as Isa wanted, Thomas has decided to buy at Pc World because his card company has a great deal and the purchase will converted into travel miles.

The last role is the user. The laptop could be for Isa, than the winner would be “HP Vivienne Tam” because of the design. Also could be a laptop for her mother, than an easy-to-use option would be chosen. Maybe to her little brother the Acer’s Ferrari would be in the list. And for older sister, definitely would have to be the new Ipad, no matter the premium price.

Jobber, D. (2009) emphasises the importance of recognising the most influential role to be able to target the right person.

INFLUENCES ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND THEIR MARKETING IMPLICATION

To understand the consumer’s choices is necessary to analyse their environment and study how factors such as culture, society, and personality, for example, can exert such a strong influence on their final decision.

“For most part, marketers cannot control such factors, but they must take them into account.” (Kotler & Armstrong, 2005)

Humans are complex specie. Every person is different from each other. It is necessary taking into account that these influences will not be exclusives from to each other and it will be combined generating variables outcomes, that marketers , will have to be able to DE codify. [2] 

Jobber, D. (2009) enforces in order understand the market is necessary to evaluate the degree of information and the length of time spent by the buyer for the choice to be made.

A Research carried out by Laurent and Kapferer’s show appearance, risky options,group norms and certain degree of pleasure as considered the reason to elevate degrees of involvement in a purchase. [3] 

The strategists have to provide them enough and qualitative information to prevent the consumer to take the wrong decision.

WHAT BRING US TOGETHER

Divided into 4 groups, the society influence builds personality since childhood.

They are culture, the class division, the area people live and the group people belong to.

Through family and school everyone learns how to interact with the world and acquires values, perceptions of right and wrong, moral and custom. Different societies differ in values and opinions.

Culture is the share of these values by a group of people. [4] 

For example, In Brazil the society is extremely concerned about their appearance.

They see the smile as a ‘business card’, therefore, toothpaste advertisement campaigns are very frequent the television as well as dentist clinics.

There is a big concern about healthy eating and marketers can make use of his cultural concern (they already do) adding a word that relate the product with the idea. [5] 

Tesco’s “health living prawn mayo” sandwich, for example, it sells much more than the regular ones and people usually don’t check if one option is healthier than the other.

Ethnic group and religions are some of the cultural subdivisions.

London is a very cosmopolitan city and a good example on how subcultures can differ a lot in their preferences regards eating habits, entertainment and clothing.

A supermarket in East London can satisfy their consumers offering a great range of good quality Halal meat and chocolates without alcohol. Also in the same area we can find hair dressers specialised in ‘afro hairs’.

Firms, through research, can find different market segments in each area and position their products in the right place. [6] 

Culture can also modify the way goods are traded. [7] For example, the way people trade in Turkey.

Sometimes cultural differences can be an issue for marketers and they always have to be careful to do not violate any personal value or belief of their customers as well as avoid uncomfortable situation.

Generalisations and assumptions regarding cultural subgroups we all tend to do also can be tricky. Taking extra care in possible misunderstanding in translations is advised. [8] 

The magnitude of influence on buying decisions through social classes can be more perceived in countries like Brazil, where there is a big gap between the rich and the poor and therefore the products acquired from each class might differ a lot.

This kind of influence can also be perceived through the importance in branding that is directed related to the necessity of status. Usually lower classes are more seduced by brands. [9] 

Marketers will then, study the strategic points to sell the right product to the right class.

For example, if they want to sell a luxurious French cheese, they will sell at Selfridges’ food hall instead of Asda.

Each individual belongs to a group. Family, workmates or friends are example of our group of reference.

Kotler & Armstrong ( 2005), however, go further “A person belongs to many groups. The person’s position in each group can be defined in terms of both roles and status” and based on each role/status the person will make their decision.

Sometimes people act in a certain way, even though against their will, only because this is how the society expects them to behave.

In order to fit in a group for example, a teenager to be seen as ‘cool’ and be admired and respected for the other members certain behaviours are expected from her within the group, influencing their buying options. [10] 

Also, the same teenager can have Leighton Meester as an inspiration, marketers will consider the singer as her aspirational group and set marketing strategies based on Blair attract the teenager attention. Miss Selfridges has a Gossip Girl’ clothing collection.

Or, even better, identify Leighton as an opinion leader and set contract making her accidentally appear in teen vogue magazine saying that she only wears Marc Jacobs.

Reaching the leaders, marketing can easily influence the whole group.

The media is also considered a huge opinion builder.

The way how families are structured has huge influence in our consume habits.

Each family type such as couples living with little kids or with older kids, parents living separately from their kids, young couples living together or old couples have completely different consumer necessities from each other. [11] 

Families with little kids usually are good market for houses and mortgages sellers.

Gender can also count as an influence in your shop decision. Marketers know that men are looking after their beauty as much as women but as male member of the society, they have a strong need to appear very masculine.

YOU IN THE WORLD

This section shows how personality, age and lifestyle as well as economic position and profession of consumers can differentiate them and give marketers a good chance to get their loyalty.

Through a brand a consumer can identify their own personality and lifestyle.

For example, Harley Davidson is linked to the rebel and adventurous personality. A Chanel suit can demonstrate your chic lifestyle, refinement and classical view of the world.

Sometimes brands can have a negative impact in how other people see us, that was the case when Burberry was strongly seen as a Hooligans brand and then they have to work to reposition their image.

Brand personality is a powerful marketing tool.

We are what we buy .We express our personality and vision of the world through our shopping choices. [12] 

Making a brand transmit to the outside world someone’s personality can become a long term relationship. [13] 

Kotler & Armstrong,( 2005) remind marketers, a person may see herself in one way but would like to be seen by other in a differently. Therefore its important to analyse which one will outshine the consumer decision.The unforgetable “chocolate man” from lynx deodorante worked well the male self image.

Age can be another way to evaluate buying patterns. Teenagers tend to spend money easily and they are more influential to online channel of distributions and campaigns. [14] Once you grow older, your taste change and you become part of another market segment.

Your job, obviously, will influence the products you by. A lawyer will invest in dark and sophisticated suits and will own a classy car. A dentist will have her shopping bag full of white confortable cotton trousers. And generalising, the man wearing a big and thick gold necklace is a rap singer.

The actual “credit crunch” is having a huge impact on everyone’s shopping budgets. Consumers are thinking more carefully about their options and are choosing price rather than quality. Marketers in times like this aim to rebuild their strategies.

Mark & Spencer 5 years ago use to be proud of the premium prices. Since 2007 they are looking to transmit the value for money instead.

THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR EYES

“A person’s buying choices are further influence by four psychological factor motivation, perception, learning, beliefs and attitudes”. [15] 

Every choice we make have a motive, the will of having our necessities fulfilled. [16] 

Maslow’s theory explains the hierarchy of needs. Human being has to satisfy his prime needs first and then advance in the pyramid of necessities.

It is perceived that a person maybe don’t have yet fulfilled his habitation needs, but had to satisfy first his status satisfaction buying the latest model of IPhone.

However, Jobber, D. (2009) says that is necessary to use this theory to understand the reason behind the purchase.

Decision making are made upon everyone’s very own perceptions.

Marketers should understand their consumer’s perception in order to create advertisement campaigns to grab their attention, as the colours, the type of appeals the shapes and so on. [17] 

“The issues that marketers need to understand during this process include exposure, attention and interpretation.” (Solomon, 2009)

He makes important points as refering to attention, citing necessities as the major stimulation and also emphasizing with all the internet and new technological devices every second of consumer attention is a fight to be won.

No matter the message being sent in the advertisement, it is vital to consider that the consumer make distortions in accordance with their own perception. Marketers cannot avoid that but they can soften it up through clearest signals. [18] 

Marketers can use learning influences to shape decision making in many ways.

Making use of stimulus such as repeating the attribute of the product, music and humour can link that sensation to the brand in the consumer’s mind. [19] 

Sampling is an efficient method of influencing the purchases through learning, as well as, a clear defined position of the product. [20] 

The opinion that a person holds about a brand or product is an influence to be considered by marketers. Past experiences or the concept that a brand passes can modify the purchase output.

Apple has been using learning and belief influences as a strategic tool.

Through its integrative system, Apple sells experience, not only a product. The consumer that buys an IPod, needs to download the ITunes software and can be influenced to buy applications, music, videos online. This positive experience can also induce him to buy them the IPhone or the Ipad as well.

UNDERSTANDING THE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IS A KEY FOR THE MARKETING PROFESSION

(Perner) The study of the buying process is important to set up the right marketing strategy by understanding issues such as:

How consumer react about the selection of branding and products;

How the environment can be vital in the consumer’s choices

Note, as mentioned before, once marketers are not able to modify this forces, using them in your side as a strategy is important, for example, people are more aware about health living therefore as a strategy the company focus on low-fat and health products. (Kotler & Armstrong, 2005)

The differences in customer’s perceptions of what is important in a product and why they dedicate more time in certain buying decision making;

How the consumers gather information about the products and how to influence it as better as possible;

In a household who is the decision maker between the five roles in the buying centre in order to apply the right marketing strategy to the right person; (D, 2009)

Everyone looking for the unveiled formula is going to be always disappointed. We are talking about human being behaviours and its complexity.

Marketing is proven to get day by day closer to a better formula in how to capture and realised their buyer desires even before they acknowledge them, but each company is different to each other and each group is different between each other as well. Also with the economic crisis and budget limits, ….

Understanding your consumer behaviour and using this knowledge to apply a great marketing mix is a key point for a long term successful strategy.

We conclude this essay with a citation of (Kotler & Armstrong, 2005) that we found of great value

” …understanding buyers behaviour is central to marketing management. “

Just as marketing ends with consumption, so marketing management must begin with customers”.

Based on Solomon 2009, marketers need to know, for example, where consumers are buying their product. Is it in small shops, big chains or online? How do they prefer their product? Could it be sweeter, low-fat, healthier? What are they really expecting? Where is the product consumed? Is in front of the TV? Do they eat the whole package at once? Or the marketer need to aware about the material used in the box in order for the product to stay fresher for longer? When do they consume them? Is it late at night? How is the product storage? Maybe the box has to be smaller? Or the material used has to be changed?

It is extreme important to dominate the understanding of consumer behaviour and all the possible influences so well that we could understand how to influence our buyers decisions. We could know what would be the right product to that right person at the right place and right moment, the perfect marketing mix. LOOK SOLOMON PAGE 164

REVER CITACOES QUE NAO TAO ESTATICAS

Customer innovation isn’t ‘forward looking’

Hamel argues that the most innovative companies, like Jobs’ Apple, are not the most forward-looking. ‘Forward-looking’ as an approach to customer innovation misses the point.  Jobs is, rather, adept at seeing under the surface of what customers want now; they just don’t realise it until they see it.  This ability is best expressed by the German word ‘zeitgeist’ – the emerging spirit of the age or mood of the moment. It probably best translates as market readiness or customer readiness. People like Jobs can see what the market is ready for before the market knows it itself.

In aiming to craft a distinctive, unique customer experience, you need to follow the same approach – look for the unspoken needs, not just what existing customers are already asking for, or what existing competitors are doing. That way lies simply competitive convergence. Or sameness. In short, mediocrity.

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