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Academic Marketing Essay - Business Style Assessment Answers

November 12, 2018
Author : Charles Hill

Solution Code: 1DBB

Question: Academic Marketing Essay

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Marketing Essay Assignment

Task

State the purpose of the essay and introduce the dominant themes. Which of the two mega- marketing concepts in the essay topic is being explained [either the The buyer decision process or The total product concept] and which of its sub-concepts you will be focussing on discussing in addressing the topic statement. Explain the scope or limitations of your paper. The introduction should be concise and avoid any detailed discussion.

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Solution:

Introduction

A consumer’s buying process can be defined as the range of steps carried out by the consumer while making a decision on purchasing any product. Due to globalization, there has been severe competition among industries and thus, marketing process has been considered one of the significant strategies to be adopted by a company to compete in frequently changing market. Companies have to adopt best and unique marketing strategies in order to attract large number of customers’ and also retain them. One of the important topics to be studied and analyzed in the field of marketing is “The Buyer’s Decision Process”. Many researches’ have been carried to study the buyer’s decision process and hence, understand a particular consumer’s behaviour on purchasing a product. Since 1960s, several researchers analyzed the consumer decision process and consumer behaviour and developed several models. (Henry Lee, 1990)

Research on consumer buying decision process is not only limited to understanding their behaviour, but many researches were carried out to understand and analyze the transition or switching of customers from traditional shopping method to online method. Several factors that were considered for the purpose of evaluating the shopping methods were channel risk, waiting period, product quality, pricing of products etc. (Gupta, Bo-chiuan Su, & Walter, 2016) Due to increase in B2C type of online shopping, various e – commerce companies need to analyze and find out ways to understand customer’s requirements in order to deliver a satisfying shopping experience to their customers. (Teo & Yeong, 2003) Researches’ were conducted in this regard to understand the decision – making process of the consumers’ and its association with the choice of online channel. In that research, Simon’s model of decision – making was applied. Factors that were considered in this model were customer satisfaction of using e – commerce method of shopping, time saving and cost saving etc. Results showed that providing support to decision - making process was affected by both the time savings and cost savings acquired by the customers who shopped products in e – commerce and this led to high satisfaction. (KOHLI, DEVARAJ, & MAHMOOD, 2014)One of the significant problems in the studying the customer’s behaviour during the shopping experience is the approach in which customers create, adapt and utilize strategies on decision – making. Definition of consumer decision making can be described as behaviour patterns of various customers that analyze and follow the process of decision making during the purchase of high – quality and equally satisfying products, services or ideas. (Karimi, 2013) The process of customer buying is also known as buying decision process is the process which a customer goes through before buying a product. Having a proper understanding about the customer’s buying process is very important for sales department and also helps company to accordingly align their sales – related strategy. (Johnston, 2013) The only part of customer purchase that is visible for research and analysis is the complex process of decision making developed by each customer for every buying decision he takes. It is very important to understand the factors that affect and also influence the choice of customer to purchase a product. In the year 1968, three researchers’ named - Kollat, Blackwell and Engel researched on customer decision process and formulated an effective model for analysing a customer’s buying decision process in total 5 steps which are defined and described as follows. (Perreau, 2013) Figure – 1 shows the several steps involved in buying process and the decision making process. (Jeddi et al, 2013)

Step – 1: Identification of the Problem – The first and foremost important step in a consumer’s decision - making process is the identification of problem or also known as need recognition. The need recognition step is encountered in the case where there is a significant difference between the customer’s current situation and the desired and ideal situation. (Jones, 2014) Also, it is important to note that all needs are not converted to a consumer’s buying behaviour. The lag that exists between the two mentioned situations is very important. In case of a need which is outcome from a new factor / element, the gap that exists between current and ideal situation is because of three main reasons. They are: (1) the current situation is left unchanged, but there is significant change in the ideal situation, (2) there is no change in the ideal situation but the current / actual situation has observed some change and (3) both the situations have changed significantly. There are different ways to recognize the customer’s needs. They are classified as follows:

  • Internal stimuli affecting and opposing the external stimuli, for instance, observing an advertisement etc.
  • Classifying the needs: functional need, social need and the need for change
  • Classification of consumer needs by Maslow’s law: physiological needs, esteem needs, safety needs and self – actualization needs (Perreau, 2013)

Step – 2: Collection of required Data – After successful identification of the need, the next step in decision making process is the information search in which the customer tries to gather maximum information about the product / service before making a purchase. The amount of information that is gathered depends on the choice complexities and also customer’s involvement in this process. Basically there are two types of information in the decision – making process. They are:

  • Internal Information: This information is already available with the customer depending on his knowledge and experience of using the product or brand etc.
  • External Information: This information is gathered by the customer from various sources such as family, friends, advertisements, reviews etc. (Perreau, 2013)

During the process of decision – making and product purchase, a customer mainly relies on his internal information and information gathered from friends, family or other customers instead of relying on advertisements or any other marketing strategies. (Jeddi et al, 2013)

Step – 3: Steps for Assessment – Once the information is gathered successfully, the next step taken by a customer is to evaluate by considering different alternatives which he gets and evaluate the alternative that is more suitable to his requirements and choose the product alternative accordingly. To do so, the customer carries out the attributes evaluation on two factors. They are – the Objective characteristics which include functionality and also the features of a product and Subjective characteristics which include the perceived and perception brand value of the product as per the customer. (Perreau, 2013) The information gathered previously by the customer will then be evaluated with his perception on brand image and develop a set of criteria for the purpose of evaluation, desired features, segregate the different products that are available in market and accordingly evaluate the products to understand which product possess most of the desired features. Success of this step in decision – making process is dependent on the customer involvement and knowledge. The higher the customer involvement in information gathering and evaluation and the importance level, the higher is the wide range of solutions or alternatives generated by the customer. It is important to note that for products that are used on regular or daily basis by the customers, the alternatives or solutions considered will be smaller significantly when compared to rarely used products or services. (Perreau, 2013)

Step – 4: Purchase of particular product / service – After the successful evaluation of various solutions or alternatives by the customer, the next step in decision – making process is to make a decision on buying a product. Depending on the knowledge and information evaluation, the customer will be able to make a decision on product purchase that meets his needs’ and then the customer proceeds to buy the product. The decision on buying a product depends solely on the information gathered and the selection made by customer considering factors such as value of the product, brand, features of the product and the capabilities of product that are a customer’s priority. It is also important to note that a customer’s decision – making process may also be influenced by other important factors such as shopping experience quality of product and also the store, product returns policy, sale conditions, promotions availability etc. (Perreau, 2013)

Step – 5: Behaviour of consumer after the product purchase - The last step in decision – making process is the behaviour of customer post the product purchase in which the customer carries out evaluation of product based on the pre – purchase needs. The level of satisfaction gained by customer shows the overall product quality. This satisfaction level affects a customer’s future decisions on purchasing the product of a particular brand or from a particular store. In case if the customer is highly satisfied with the purchase, then the levels and intensity of information search is automatically reduced for the customer’s future purchases. On the other hand, if the customer is not satisfied with the product, then all the above mentioned steps are carried out again by the customer to purchase the desired product. (Perreau, 2013) Evaluation carried out by the customer post – purchase has major impact on the product brand. A satisfied customer thus tends to become a loyal customer and repeats the purchase especially for daily – used products. Feedbacks (positive and negative) on the product and brand will be generally shared by the customer among his circle and also post their feedbacks on social – networking sites. Thus, companies need to be extremely careful in selling their products to customers and ensure that only high – quality products are sold in market to gain high customer satisfaction and thus, stay competitive. (Perreau, 2013)

Consumer behaviour

Before, dealers, because of absence of rivalry and lower an assortment of items specifically offer the item. In any case, today, by expanding organizations, expanding rivalry and expanding incomes from other individuals, different merchants won't have the capacity to discuss specifically with dealers. Advertisers and merchants are compelled to study customer conduct research. The organization is evaluated from customer reactions to be mindful showcasing jolts, so organizations in relationship between promoting boosts and customer reaction, have been done numerous studies. Beginning stage for this examination is appeared in Figure 2. As the figure demonstrates, the showcasing jolts connected with different stimulants into the black box of the customer and this will bring about a response operating at a profit box. Presently, advertisers need to recognize what is happening operating at a profit box. Discovery itself is made out of two sections. To start with part individual attributes of purchaser on the best way to comprehend and react to jolts influence and the second part is the purchaser's basic leadership handle that impact on his conduct. (Jeddi et al, 2013)

Conclusion

Thus, it can be concluded that the five steps approach to customer’s decision – making process is extremely useful to understand the actions taken by the customer in each step of the process and the factors that are considered and filtered in each step to arrive at the decision of buying a product or service. Companies must be very careful about the products sold as it directly affects their brand name in market. Providing high class service and high quality products to customers (in both online purchase and offline purchase) is very important to assure maintaining their brand reputation and image in market and hence, retain loyal customers.

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