Consumer behavior audit
Marketing is a management process by which a business communicates the value of its product to the customers. The main goal of marketing is to increase the competitive advantage of the business by increasing its sales and consequently increasing the profits (Churchill & Iacobucci, 2010). Marketing entails a comprehensive understanding of what the customers need and tailoring the product to meet and exceed the needs. For the process of marketing to be successful, there should be a marketing strategy that should guide the in meeting the set objectives. A marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan that shows the marketing goals of a business and how they can be realized. A good marketing strategy is drawn based on market research to understand the external and internal factors that influence buyer behavior so that the right marketing mix can be determined and profitability and sustainability are achieved (Cravens & Piercy, 2006).
External and internal influences
The product that is going to be marketed is a smartphone. According to (Jobber & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012), there are various external and internal factors that influence a consumer to buy a smartphone. There are various external and internal factors that influence a consumer to buy a smartphone. The main external factors include: culture, values, demographics, income, social class, reference groups, households and marketing activities. Marketing professionals refer to these factors as external because they come from outside an individual rather than from within. These factors work together to greatly influence the decision-making process of a consumer as to whether or not to buy a product.
The broadest environmental factor that would influence a consumer to purchase a smartphone is culture. Culture includes the beliefs, values, and morals acquired by an individual from a particular society as a member of that society. A consumer’s purchase decision for the product is determined by whether the benefits and features of the smartphone gratify the values of the society (Solomon, 2014). For example, the smartphone is fitted with inbuilt apps for the major religious books such as the Bible and the Koran to attract a huge crowd customers from a diverse society. The phone is also designed to suit the different members of households and various social classes due to its simplicity to use and affordable prices. Given the dynamically changing technological environment, the target customers will base their purchase decision on reference groups such as workmates, college mates or social groups.
The main internal factors that influence a consumer’s decision on whether or not to purchase a smartphone are needs, motives, emotions, perceptions, memory, personality, lifestyle and attitude(Vargo & Lusch, 2004). The smartphone has been designed to materialize the image desired by the target segment of the market. The phone has an attractive slim shape, and it is light to carry about as desired by most consumers. Being fitted with modern features such as front camera, longer battery capacity, and faster network connectivity, the smartphone will be able to satisfy the key purchase motives of the consumer. This smart phone will be more so consistent with the consumers’ attitude towards an ideal smart phone that efficiently satisfies the needs of the market segment.
According to (Solomon, 2014), market segmentation is the process of dividing a broad market into small identifiable groups of the targeted customers. The members of a particular market segment have similar wants, needs, or demand characteristics and are perceived to react similarly to a marketing action (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). The main purpose of market segmentation is to structure a marketing mix that meets the needs and expectations of the targeted members. Different segments of the market have different cultures and sub-culturesthat influence the buyer decision for a smartphone. Cultures that promote collectivism influence consumers to buy smartphones that enable them to have social connections based on peer groups. Thus, the smartphone supports social connection platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter that facilitate social networking within a targeted market segment.This is likely to boost sales of the smart phone as most young people who are middle-income earners identify themselves with social networks (Cravens & Piercy, 2006).
Moreover, the smart phone is a universal product whose consumption is multi-gender. Hence, changes in roles about either gender may not significantly change the buying patterns of the product. There are certain demographic factors that influence the consumer purchasing decision for a smart phone (Nagle et al., 2006). These include age, occupation, urban-rural residence and level of income. The target market segment for the smart phone will be the youth who are the majority of the total population. Since the product is relatively affordable, it will be within the reach of the target segment of the market who are middle-income earners. Consumers who live in the urban area are likely to buy more smartphones than those who live in the rural areas since there maybe failure in network connection in the rural areas.
The smartphone is designed to satisfy consumers’ different lifestyles since those in the upper, middle and lower classes of life can use the product. This would ensure wider access to the market for the product to enhance a large volume of sales and profits. The diverse features of the high-tech smartphone will facilitate the acceptance of the gadget by individual customers within the market segment who have different attitudes towards an ideal smartphone. The acceptance by the consumers will ultimately lead to the satisfaction of the needs and motives of the consumers for a smartphone from the experience. Such needs include browsing, messaging, social chatting and taking photos among others.
Specific situations like consumers who are students will provide a high demand for a smartphone with faster internet connectivity to facilitate educational research. Since the smartphone is an innovation in the market, it is most likely to attract many customers and wins their loyalty to the product. It is believed that satisfactory customer experience will lead to repeat purchase as well as referrals to peers. This is because most consumers within a market segment base their purchase decisions on the experiences of their peers, and if the initial consumers of the product are satisfied then it is expected that they will influence their peers to purchase the product(Kotler and Armstrong, 2006).
Product positioning is a marketing concept used in designing a marketing strategy, and it involves the measures taken by the marketer to place the image of the product in a strategic position in the customer’s mind relative to the competitive brands and customers’ needs (Pride, 2011). Effective product positioning for the smartphone will be based on a thorough understanding of the consumer need state and then match the features of the smartphone to match the needs. The superior features of the phone will be distinctly emphasized through appropriate communication channels so that the product can cut a competitive edge in the market (Solomon, 2014).
The smartphone will be available in various colors to meet the preferences of different prospective buys. This is because color is an important element of a consumers’ memory and it also generates a consumer’s emotions towards a product. The device will also have improved consumer experience as compared to its competitive brands, such more reliable internet and email. The device will also have an increased screen size for displaying user applications which are a great preference by most of the targeted consumers. More importantly, the gadget will have increased random access memory and improved operating system to increase its operating speed and ensure efficiency for the consumer. The internal storage capacity will also be large enough to meet the needs and the preferences of the customers. The strategic product position will compel customers to take the action of purchasing the product.
The rapid advancement and ease of information access have influenced the way consumers evaluate their purchase decision alternatives (Kotler and Armstrong, 2006).The consumers instantly search different products through the internet and then compare their features and their prices. The appealing features of our device will be well described and make the information easily accessible by consumers. This will make it easy for customers to place weight on the project, as the purchase decision rule is based on the satisfaction aspect of the features of the device and the relative price of the product.
Pricing is one of the main 4ps of marketing and it refers to the amount that a customer pays to possess a product to experience a service. It is the most important element of the marketing strategy as it is the source of revenue for covering the cost of production and generation of profits (Nagle et al., 2006). Price significantly affects the consumer’s attitude towards a product as well as their perception of its ability to satisfy their needs and preferences. Consumers may perceive a lowly priced product to be of low quality, and they may also consider a very expensively priced device to be an exaggeration of quality or exploitation of consumers (Pride, 2011).The smartphone is fairly priced at $10 to be affordable to most of the customers in the target market segment who are middle-income earners. This price was set based on research on the prices that competitors are offering for their brands that are in the same category as ours.The price of a product has a great influence on the consumer buying behavior since the consumer has to evaluate the value derived from the product and the amount paid in exchange.
Consumers usually compare the prices of smartphones that have similar features, and they would obviously go for the less priced product that satisfies their needs (Jobber & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). Some members of the market segment may also purchase the gadget because of their lifestyle of conspicuous consumption. These are the consumers who buy a relatively expensive product so that they can maintain a high class of living. Even though the smartphone is not expensive, they are likely to buy it to keep the pace of the rapidly changing technological environment.
Price is one of the important criteria used by consumers to evaluate their purchase decisions especially in the mobile phone industry (Nagle et al., 2006). After comparing different types of competing brands of smartphones, consumers turn to price as an elimination factor so that they can purchase the one that is affordable to them. As the smartphone penetrates more into the market, we would look forward to reducing the price without compromising the quality, so as to increase sales as well as profitability.
According to (Pride, 2011), distribution strategy is an element of the marketing plan by the management that outlines how the business intents to move its product to wholesalers, retailers and the final consumers. Distribution corresponds to ‘place’ in the 4p’s of marketing and it is an important factor to consider in ensuring that the product reaches the target market. A product would we useless if it were not delivered to the consumer to fulfill the purpose for which it was made. Before formulating an appropriate distribution strategy, it is important to research and understand the values that the customers in the targeted market segment uphold regarding the distribution of the products that they intend to purchase.
The targeted market segment is a modern society that has undergone evolution from the traditional distribution channels that involve several intermediaries before a product reaches the final consumer. The process of product distribution has radically changed as most consumers prefer immediate gratification for the products they desire. With the rapid technological advancement, the smartphone will be sold directly to the consumer through e-commerce whereby the customer will buy the product online and then it will be delivered to their preferred location. Another channel that will be used is selling through authorized retail shops where the branded smartphone will be sold.
The modern society has a preference for searching the mobile devices online where they can compare their features and prices so that they can make prudent purchase decisions (Nagle et al., 2006). They find online purchasing much easier as compared with traveling physically to do a manual check for the products. As a result, online purchasing will save time and costs for the consumer as the smartphone will be delivered to the doorstep. Other consumers in the target segments would be willing to by the device from a retail shop for the branded phone to be sure on the quality of the product. Hence, time and cost the main decision-making influences of consumer buying behavior.
For the successful introduction of a product into the market, it is fundamentally important that a publicity awareness about the product is made to the customers for which it is intended. The process by which a business communicates the existence and importance of its product to the target market is known as promotion (Solomon, 2014). It is the role of the management to devise an appropriatepromotional mix that would ensure that the customers understand what the product is and what its purpose is to influence their purchase decision-making. Our promotional strategy will be based on the understanding of the values that our target segments uphold about the choice of communications about the products.Most of the potential customers of the smartphone believe in collective group values and reference groups that greatly influence the buyer decision.
The channels that will be used to promote the smartphone will be consistent with the cultural beliefs of the targeted market segments. For example, some cultures value adverts that express the benefits of using a product rather than those that show the problems to be experienced for not using the product. Also, the media chosen for the publicity of the product will not be gender-biased but will be focused on the emerging gender perceptions in the market. Some of the ways that will be used to promote the product in the market will include: advertisement, public relations, personal selling, internet marketing, sales promotion and social media campaigns.
Since reference groups are crucial in influencing consumer purchase decisions, it will be prudent to design a promotional strategy customized for certain groups of potential customers will share tastes and preferences (Jobber & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). For instance, personal selling can be combined with promotional sales and advertisement to market the smartphone in colleges and universities in which the potential buyers are mainly students whose decisions to buy a product is influenced by peers. Expansive promotional campaigns for the product will enable the product to better positioned in the market than its competing brands by creating positive image and perception of the in the minds of the consumers (Cravens & Piercy, 2006).
The message to be communicated about the product will be structured in a manner that addresses the motives and attitudes of the buyers of an ideal smartphone. For example, the adverts will highlight the key features of the smartphone which are desired by the customers to influence them to take action. Advertising will be used to activate the customers to recognize the need to have a smartphone and to provide them with sufficient information reliable for decision making (Churchill & Iacobucci, 2010). This would consequently encourage repeat purchases, referrals as well as brand loyalty by the customers.
In conclusion, marketing is an important function in a business that the management should undertake diligently to ensure the success of a product in the market. A marketing strategy should be based on the understanding of both the external and internal factors that influence consumer behavior. The 4p’s of marketing mix should be integrated with those factors to ensure increased sales and profitability for the business from the product.
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