Behavioral Aspect of Marketing

We live in a time when the realities of Globalization affect the conceptual value of euro-centric (rationalistic) marketing theories, due to the ongoing process of Western countries becoming increasingly multicultural. In its turn, this creates objective preconditions for the emergence of new consumer-behavior theories, which emphasize buyers’ ability to derive emotional satisfaction out of the process of purchasing, as the particulars of people’s ethnocultural affiliation imply their varying capacity to think of acquired goods and services as representing a certain perceptional value. It is namely the realization of this fact, which had prompted many bracketologists to suggest that, while indulging in different forms of economic behavior, post-industrial consumers are being primarily concerned with seeking self-actualization. In its turn, this provided a legitimate ground for suggestions that the specifics of people’s purchasing behavior are being closely associated with the particulars of their lifestyle.

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However, since consumers’ ability to choose in favor of a particular lifestyle is being defined by their social status rather than by the set of their inner psychological and aesthetic anxieties, it would only be logical to suggest that, within a context of people acting as social beings, the principle of economically predetermined rationale continues to retain its foremost motivational status. Therefore, in order for managers to be able to choose in favor of a proper marketing strategy, while targeting market’s specific segment, they will need to think of buyers’ lifestyles as such that reflect the varying degrees of their social prominence, which in its turn is being defined by their association with particular social strata and by specifics of their ethnocultural affiliation. In this report, we will aim at outlining various aspects of consumer behavior that we believe are important to the marketing of holidays, while utilizing earlier thesis as the conceptual framework upon which the report’s recommendations will be based. The specific groups of customers, in regards to which we are going to come up with marketing recommendations, are 1) Young singles, 2) Middle-aged and older couples.

During recent decades, it became a common practice among many social scientists and economists to strive to intentionally over-complicate the issue of people’s purchasing behavior, as the ultimate mean of gaining additional academic credits. The validity of this suggestion is best illustrated by the emergence of innovative models of consumer behavior that refer to the variables of people’s lifestyle as fully objective categories, capable of defining these models’ conceptual essence. For example, in his book “An information processing theory of consumer choice”, James Bettman had constructed a consumer behavior model that features such elements as “perceptual encoding”, “scanner and interrupt mechanism” and “consumers’ perceptional capacity”.

Given the fact that these elements can be interpreted in a variety of different ways, Bettman’s Information Processing Model of Consumer Choice can hardly be referred to as such that represents a high practical value. Therefore, during preparing this report, we will strive to deprive our suggestions of pseudo-sophisticate sounding and artificial complexity, so that these suggestions could be utilized practically. This suggestion and also the fact that the tourism industry is being traditionally associated with operational straight-forwardness, justifies our choice for designing marketing strategies, in regards to earlier mentioned categories of customers, within the conceptual methodology of Sheth-Newman Gross Model of Consumption (as defined by Jagdish Sheth and Bruce Newman in their article “Why we buy what we buy: A theory of consumer behavior”) and Travel-Buying Behavior Model (as defined by Alister Mathieson and Geoffrey Wall in their book “Tourism: Economic, physical and social Impacts”.

According to Sheth-Newman’s Gross Model of Consumption, people’s purchasing urges are being defined by what authors refer to as “consumption values”, which in their turn; define potential customers’ ability to gain satisfaction out of acquiring a particular product or being provided with a particular service. These values are being generally described as 1) Functional (refer to customers’ materialistic urges), 2) Social (refer to the process of customers trying to emphasize their existential identity), 3) Conditional (refer to the specifics of customers’ ethnocultural affiliation), 4) Emotional (refer to particulars of psychological makeup, on the part of customers), 5) Epistemic (refer to purchasing activities’ ability to enhance customers’ existential complexity).

Thus, when being utilized to provide managers with the insight on how young/single holiday seekers can be prompted to associate a Company’s services with the supreme money-worth, the Sheth-Newman Gross Model of Consumption would inevitably bring us to the following set of conclusions, in regards to the practicability of its implications: 1) Young singles must be encouraged to think of Company services’ value as being materialistically objective, which is why it is the matter of foremost importance to ensure that the advertisement of these services features high-quality food, as one its integral components, 2) Young singles must be prompted to think of the prospect of spending the holiday with the Company as such that would automatically elevate their social status in their own eyes and the eyes of others. Therefore, the elements of “fast-lane living” must be explicitly featured in the Company’s ads that target this specific category of potential customers, 3) Company’s marketing strategy must be adjusted to correspond to specifics of young holiday seekers’ ethnic/religious affiliation. For example, if being designed to target young African-American males, Company’s advertisement slogans would have to exploit these people’s fascination with gangsta lifestyle, 4) It is namely the sheer extent of young/single customers’ youthfulness, which allows them to enjoy themselves more than anything else does. Therefore, when targeting young singles, Company’s advertisement slogans must correspond to particulars of these people’s self-perception, 5) Nowadays, more and more young singles seek self-actualization by participating in sports (this is especially the case among environmentally-minded Whites), which is why the process of designing Company’s marketing strategy must take into account young people’s ability to derive epistemological pleasure out of experiencing a variety of physical challenges. Therefore, Company’s advertisement campaign must feature such essential elements of vocational leisure as hiking and biking.

Earlier suggestions provide us with clues as to how Company’s managers should proceed with designing an advertisement message that would be particularly appealing to the broad range of young/single holiday seekers:

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  1. They must make a point in stressing out Company’s services/products as being intrinsically related to potential customers’ existential mode,
  2. They must endow Company’s advertisement slogans with innovative/unconventional sounding.

The following are the proposed advertisement slogans: “Explore your mojo by allowing us to take care of your holidays”, “Come for a holiday – stay for adventure”, “If you haven’t spent your holidays with us – you don’t know how to enjoy life to its fullest”.

As we have implied earlier, when it comes to designing an advertisement campaign in the field of a tourist industry, managers need to take into account the specifics of the targeted audience’s existential mode. In its turn, this explains why we have chosen in favor of Travel-Buying Behavior Model while coming up with suggestions as to what would represent the most appropriate approach towards addressing the expectations of middle-aged and older couples – Travel-Buying Behavior Model is based on the assumption that it is customers’ sense of rationale, which define their purchasing preferences. And, as we are well aware, older people are less likely to be satisfied from associating their purchasing choices with the perceptional value alone.

According to Travel-Buying Behavior Model, the process of customers indulging in purchasing behavior is being divided into the following set of preliminary stages inconsequential manner: 1) The growth of a desire to travel (people begin to experience traveling urges), 2) Collection of information (would-be-travelers gather the necessary information as to the possible destination and travel-related costs), 3) Travel decision (people decide onto the actual destination for travel), 4) Travel preparation, 5) Travel outcome/evaluation (people relate their traveling experiences to others while deciding on whether they would be willing to resort to the same tourist company’s services in the future). Thus, as it appears from Travel-Buying Behavior Model, the process of travelers’ decision-making is being solely concerned with these people’s ability to utilize their sense of rationale, during the process.

This suggestion can be referred to as perfectly valid, for as long as it is being applied to older/middle-aged married travelers, because as practice shows, their purchasing behavior can be best described as buyer-oriented – that is, older customers seek to obtain goods and services for which they have already made their minds. Thus, within the context of the Travel-Buying Behavior Model, Company managers’ approach to designing a proper advertisement strategy must be based upon the following set of rationale-based considerations:

  1. Utilization of an appeal to Logos (potential customers must be assured of an objective value of Company’s vacation offers),
  2. Utilization of an appeal to Respectability (older/middle-aged married customers must never think of their decision to spend a vacation with the Company as being capable of damaging their reputation as socially-established individuals),
  3. Utilization of an appeal to Privacy (older travelers are not being quite as keen to socialize with others as compared to what it is the case with younger travelers).

These suggestions point out the fact that, during designing an advertisement strategy, meant to appeal to older/middle-aged couples, the Company’s managers need to exploit the members of the targeted audience strive to spend their vacation in a family-oriented environment. In its turn, this environment is being traditionally assumed to feature such euro-centric elements of leisurely time-spending as safety, the proximity, and affordability of health care services, the availability of personnel that is being trained to take care of kids, etc.

The following is the set of advertisement slogans that we propose should be used by Company’s managers, while creating an advertising strategy that would appeal to older/middle-aged people’s existential psyche: “There is a time for work and there is a time for rest – allow your vacational needs to be taken care by experts on vacationing”, “The peace of mind is easily attainable – we work hard so that you can boast on having spent time in paradise”, “When it comes to vacationing, prestige and affordability go hand in hand – visit our office (web site) and learn the details”.

As we have pointed out earlier, even though people’s lifestyles do affect the process of consumer decision-making, on their part, it would be wrong to think of one’s lifestyle as a “thing in itself”. And, the reason for this is simple – every individual’s lifestyle simply reflects his or her ability to attain social prominence. In its turn, such ability is being defined by specifics of his or her social and ethnocultural affiliation. Therefore, our suggestions as to how Company’s managers should proceed with designing advertisement strategies, in regards to young/single holiday seekers and older/middle-aged married individuals, are the subject of further analysis, which should incorporate the discussion of potential customers’ ethnic and cultural uniqueness, simply because it would be quite inappropriate to suggest that people are being equally endowed with consumerist instincts, regardless of who they are in the racially-biological sense of this word. As Michael R. Solomon had rightly pointed out in his book “Consumer behavior: A European perspective”, the degree of populations’ “consumerist materialism” varies significantly from country to country: “One study of 12 countries, resulted in the following ranking in the degree of materialism from highest to lowest: Romania, Turkey, Israel, Thailand, India, UK, France…” (2006, p. 126). However, these suggestions do provide managers with a conceptual understanding of how the issue should be tackled practically. Thus, the ultimate conclusion of this report can be articulated as follows: even though the principle of euro-centric rationale must still be resorted to by managers who utilize consumer behavior models on the line of their professional duties, managers’ observation of this principle must come hand in hand with their observation of the principle of multicultural diversity. Such our idea provides a further conceptual depth to suggestions contained in the report’s Introduction.

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Bibliography

Bettman, J 1979, An information processing theory of consumer choice, L.A., Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Brooker, G 1976, ‘The self-actualizing socially conscious consumer’, The Journal of Consumer Research vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 107-112.

Holt, D 2002, ‘Why do brands cause trouble? A dialectical theory of consumer culture and branding’, The Journal of Consumer Research vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 70-90.

Mathieson, A & Wall, G 1982, Tourism: Economic, physical and social impacts, Longman, Harlow.

Sheth, J & Newman B 1991, ‘Why we buy what we buy: A theory of consumer behavior’, Journal of Business Research vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 159-170.

Solomon, M 2006, Consumer behavior: A European perspective, Pearson Education, London.

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