This essay is comprised of seven segments which discusses marketing events of different companies in relation to the concepts of consumer behavior. The issues are discussed under each segment as below.
American Express (AMEX)
It makes and sells credit cards to its customers. The company makes a variety of credit cards like personal cards, small business cards, corporate cards and prepaid cards. The American express has the entire United States as its market but has segmented the market for better service delivery, for instance, individuals, small businesses and corporations (“American express” par 1-8). Positioning is an important marketing element since it shapes customer’s perception of a product. Individuals have different and unique shopping pattern. The strategy used to position personal cards involves communicating how convenient it is since it is accepted in various shopping centers. It is safe due to personal pin details and reduces the necessity of carrying large amount of money (“American express” par 1-8). American express has been able to maintain a competitive advantage over its competitors through the breadth of its product line.
The company, unlike its competitors, produces a wide array of credit cards with different features. Using reasons like convenience, safety and variety, American express has successfully convinced consumers that the products are fit for their usage. It is clear that the company is at the forefront in taking proactive approaches to manage its marketing environment by heavily investing in research and innovative activities to facilitate constant quality delivery and cope with prevailing market conditions. Personal factors are major determinants of consumer behavior because they influence the consumer perception of a product. American Express marketing strategy is to use the marketing mix to induce positive perception of credit card usage in consumers (Sandhusen 121-190).
The company is among the leading furniture producing with a large market share. It employs and benefit from the use of technology and research by designing and producing unique sets of furniture. The uniqueness of its products comes in many forms, that is, fashion and style, size, shape and quality. By producing high quality and a variety of unique products, the company promises value to its customers (Williamson par. 1-5). Production of a wide variety offers customers a range of products to choose from thus increasing consumption. Consumers like new products and will therefore be willing to spend more on them.
Looking at it from another point of view, new equals revenue and revenue equals value and therefore brand equity equals value. Positioning a product is important since it induces the consumer’s perception. A good positioning strategy plays a key role in sales turnover. That is, a good positioning strategy leads to higher sales levels thus revenue (Rosenbloom 2-21). Klippan sofa is a product that is easily available in different furniture shops. The product is unique due to the uniqueness of its raw material. For instance, its legs are reinforced with steel lining for durability. It also has removable cotton covers which are easy to clean. The product is environmentally friendly since it is made of a renewable material.
The product’s positioning is a true reflection of uniqueness and quality and thus value to consumers. The company’s products are of high quality but are low in price. The products are priced differently in different markets due to changes in factor prices. The pricing strategy is based on the cost of production plus a profit mark-up. Alongside price, consumers use material, uniqueness and fashion to evaluate the quality of IKEA products. The positioning strategy used by the company induces a positive perception of the products to customers thereby increasing sales level. This is how consumer behaviour applies in this situation (Rosenbloom 5-21).
The company provides its customers with dietary meals that meet the US government nutrition standards. It also offers guidelines on what to eat and when. Its direct-to-customer marketing strategy is very appropriate since it facilitates direct customer encounter thus customers’ needs are easily met (Gibbons par. 1-6). With the kind of products the company deals in, it is easy to target customers with a wide array of segmentation basis. Diet and nutritional guides are necessary for the overweight, people with heart diseases, family line with diabetic history and vegetarians. Besides segmenting the market based on sex, age and even psychographic issues, the latter could form a rich basis of market segmentation (Silk 72-77). From the previously mentioned segments, it would be more feasible for the Nutrisystem to target people-with-heart-condition segment with their differentiated marketing strategy.
The selected feasible segment can be further differentiated based on age and weight. This is possible because old age and dietary practices often cause heart problems. Overweight problems are due to excess fats in the body. The condition could also lead to heart problems. This two-in-one segmentation is a good opportunity for Nutrisystem to target and provide different nutritional guides to help the overweight reduce and people with heart condition maintain a healthy diet. Profitability is a possibility in this case because the benefit is mutual thus creating strong customer loyalty. Availability of the variety of diets encourages consumption and thereby increasing revenue and thus profitability (Silk 72-77).
Procter & Gamble
The purpose of marketing is constantly reminding customers of the existence of a product. In reference to product life cycle, products are introduced into the market when new. They penetrate the market as different customers in different locations are buying them. In the process a market share is created depending on the number of customers using the product as compared to others. The next stage is maturity where no further increase in market share is expected. Eventually due to stiff competition and technological change, the product is expected to be phased out of the market (Russell 21-31).
P&G are to the point about maintaining a product’s life to infinity. Products are phased out of the market due to stiff competition, technological change and market change. With the right marketing efforts to counter those of competitors and constant market research to produce goods that reflect changes in technology and market preference, a product could achieve infinite life cycle.
Pampers are baby diapers used as a napkin to absorb baby urine thus keeping them clean and dry without wetting their beds and clothes. The journey of pregnancy is filled with stressful experience. Procter and Gamble repositioned their product, after a market research, as making parenting easier. The company also has an online service where mothers can come together and share important parenting experience (“Pampers” par. 1-5) It is through making mothers feel joy and excitement when using pampers and sharing their parenting experience that the product delivers emotional alongside functional benefits. Product positioning is necessary to induce a perception about them. The favourable perception of a product culminates into sales. Perception is an element in personal factors that influence buying behavior (Russell 21-31).
Although the company has successfully targeted the teen market, it plans to expand its target market to other age categories not only to remain competitive in the marketplace, but also to elevate its capacity in supporting HIV/AIDS programmes in Africa. In brainstorming, some of the ideas that could be used to achieve this goal include expanding total market, defending the available market share, and expanding the market share.
Using the marketing strategy of expanding the market share to include non-teens, the marketing recommendations for RED to achieve its goal include:
- diversifying its business by adding new product lines to cater for the needs of other age categories,
- developing new market penetration strategies that will ensure the company reaches out to the non-teen market,
- attempting to enter new market segments with its current product offerings, with a view to taking a share from competitors or attracting new users (Ovcina 21-23).
Lastly, it can be summarised that consumer behaviour is not only influenced by the uniqueness of a firm’s product offerings, but also by the sustainability of the product(s), especially within the context of meeting and even surpassing the needs and expectations of the customer. It can also be summarised that consumer behaviour towards a particular product and/or service is influenced by the level of understanding of the firm’s mission and objectives.
The concept of marketing ethics and social responsibility exemplifies the adoption of marketing activities that take care of the needs and interests of the society while at the same time attempting to optimise the profitability and competitiveness of the organization (Labbai 17). In TOMS context, we see the firm applying the “one-for-one giving” marketing strategy, which underlines the continuous commitment to improve the quality of life of the socially disadvantaged by providing them with free shoes as it goes about realizing its profits.
From the case, it is evident that the firm first scanned the marketing environment by conducting a marketing research to collect valuable information that it could use not only to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems, but also to strategise on how to relate with the customer, the consumer as well as the general public (Lappin et al 1-2). The approach of first scanning the marketing environment before creating the marketing strategy is important as it ensures that the created strategy aligns well with the needs and expectations of the market.
In my view, the firm’s marketing strategy is more about creating value for customer as it satisfies their intrinsic need to be of assistance to the needy in society. Overall, it can be summarised that consumer behaviour and intent to purchase a product and/or service is to a large extent influenced by a firm’s engagement in ethical and social responsibility practices.
UMPQUA competes with other companies offering financial services within the banking sector. The competitive advantage of the firm arises from having the capacity to provide differentiated services, as well as reinforcing a rigorous customer service culture. Achievement and sustenance of customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to the bank. It is possible to retain this competitive advantage in the long run as other financial institutions may find it increasingly hard to imitate this marketing capability.
Lastly, it is of immense importance for UMPQUA bank to understand product specific goals as such a capability will enable it align its products and services with the current needs of the market. Additionally, such an understanding will not only enable the bank to conceive of, create, and bring into the market innovative and profitable new products and services, hence increasing customers’ motivation and the firm’s competitiveness, but also engage with its customers to provide real-world feasibility for its products and services (Jaruzelski & Dehoff 4-10).
American express. n.d. Web.
Gibbons,Vera 2013. Weight Watchers vs Nutrisystem vs Jenny Craig. Web.
Pampers. n.d. Web.
Rosenbloom, Bert. Marketing Channels. S.l.: South-Western, 2009. Print.
Russell, Edward. The Fundamentals of Marketing Communication. Lausanne: AVA Academia, 2008. Print.
Sandhusen, Richard. Marketing. Hauppauge, N.Y: Barron’s, 2000. Print.
Silk, Alvin. What Is Marketing?Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press, 2006. Print.
Williamson, Caroline 2013. Try Ikea Furniture in your home with Augmented reality app. Web.
Jaruzelski, Barry and Kevin Dehoff. The Global Innovation 1000: How the Top Innovators Keep Winning. 2010. Web.
Labbai, M. Mohammed. Social Responsibility and Ethics in Marketing. 2007. Web.
Lappin, Jane E., Paula Figoni and Suzanne M. Sloan. A Primer on the Consumer Marketing Research: Procedures, Methods and Tools. 1994. Web.