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Q-2. Consumer Research is central to the success of a marketing strategy. Critically examine the above statement in light of present business environment in India?
Ans. Consumer Research is the systematic collection of &analysis of consumer information for the purpose of important decision making in marketing. It is an important tool to study buyer behavior, change in consumer life styles & consumption patterns, brand loyalty & also forecast market changes. It is also used to study competition & Analyze the competitors product positioning & how to gain competitive advantage. Recently consumer research is being used to help create &enhance brand equity. This is a new role and decidedly different from the conventional one where it was used for just studying buyer behavior or for conducting feasibility studies etc. In fact because of this conventional role, consumer research till mid 1980s was considered a luxury, which only multinationals like lever & Procter & gamble & there like could afford. However it is not so now. This is because competition in all sectors has increased manifold after 1985 especially after 1991. Due to liberalization & globalization the competition has intensified & survival of an organization is at stake. There aim is now to gain & retain competitive advantage & consumer research plays an important role over here. Realizing this contribution more & more companies are turning towards consumer research. However there are still many who are skeptics of consumer research. There criticism is that consumer research conclusions are not dependable. There are various cases where the research has failed to deliver desired results or the product failed even though the research had shown that majority of customers preferred it. The classical example is that of coke, which failed to correctly understand customer\u2019s expectations & went ahead to launch New Coke. Its marketing research showed that 68% customers in US liked the taste of the new formula developed by the company. We all know that New Coke failed & in less than six months of its launch in the summer of 1985, the coke management had to re launch old coke under the brand name coke classic. This example also brings to fore a major limitation of most researchers, & that is they often respond to the \u201chere and now situation\u201d rather than taking a long-term view of the market. In fact many times researchers over look the background of the problem & comes up with recommendations, which are at times not feasible. Besides consumer research has often been de-linked from the business strategy. When that happens, most research reports become \u201cacademic\u201d in nature & are \u201cfiled\u201d. Therefore to make consumer research more effective it is important that it has a linkage with business strategy & should respond to future or emerging scenarios in the market place.
Q-3. Do you agree that personality greatly affects the buying motives of consumers? Justify your claim on the basis of some personality theories. Give examples.
Ans An individual\u2019s personality represents another set of characteristics that contributes to an understanding of consumer behavior. Personality characteristics can be valuable guide to marketers. For example knowing that users of a brand of headache remedies are more likely to be compulsive led one company to advertise the product in an orderly setting that described a fixed routine.
2) Psychoanalytic theory 3) Social/Cultural theory 4) Trait theory
These four theories vary greatly in there approach to personality measurement. Self-concept theory is, arguably, the most relevant for marketers because it focuses on how an individual\u2019s self image affects his or her purchasing behavior. It recognizes that what we buy & own is a reflection of who we are. Extensions of psychoanalytic theory have also been widely used in marketing to develop qualitative insights into why consumers buy.
This theory holds that individuals have a concept of self-based on which they think are (the actual self) & a concept of which they think they would like to be (the ideal self). Self-concept theory is governed by two principles; the desire to attain self-consistency & the desire to enhance one\u2019s self-esteem. Attaining self-consistency means that individuals will act in accordance with their concept of actual self. For example, a consumer may see himself as a practical & self-controlled individual. He buys conservative suits drives a large four door sedan, & spend quiet evenings at home. Deep down, however he would like to be more carefree & reckless. If he were to act more like his ideal self, he might own a small sports car, dress in jeans & sports shirts & go to rock clubs. Such actions would enhance his self-esteem by drawing him closer to his ideal self.
identities-Wife, Mother, Working woman etc. One of these roles dominant in specific situations, the particular role will affect the individual\u2019s style of dress & behavior. The amalgams of the individual\u2019s roles make up the actual self. Applied to marketing, the concept of actual self says that consumer\u2019s purchases are influenced by the image they have of themselves. They attain self- consistency by buying products they perceive as similar to their self-concept. For Example; Enfield bullet is targeted to persons who consider or cherish to have an authoritative image. This is the reason for its higher sales among policemen & affluent agriculturists.
esteem. The greater the difference between the actual self and ideal self, the lower an individual\u2019s self-esteem. In a marketing context, dissatisfaction with oneself could influence purchases, particularly for products that could enhance self-esteem. Thus, a woman who would like to be more efficient, modern & imaginative may buy a different type of perfume or deodorant or tend to shop at different stores than a woman who would like to be more warm & attractive.
self-concept theory is applicable to consumers. Not only does our self-image influence the products we choose but also the products we choose frequently influence our self-image. Certain products have symbolic value. They say something about us and the way we feel about ourselves. For example, when we buy a certain suit or dress, we may anticipate that it enhance our self-esteem
Freud\u2019s psychoanalytic theory stresses the unconscious nature of personality as a result of childhood conflicts: Id, ego & superego. The id controls the individual\u2019s most basic needs & urges such as hunger, sex & self-preservation. The source of all innate forces that drive behavior, the id operates on one principle: directing behavior to achieve pleasure & to avoid pain. The id is entirely unconscious, with no anchor in objective reality. A newborn baby\u2019s behavior for example is governed totally by the id.
The ego is the individual\u2019s self-concept & is manifestation of objective reality as it develops an interaction with the external world. As manager of id, the ego seeks to attain the goals of id in a socially acceptable manner. For example, rather than manifest a basic need to be aggressive in antisocial ways, an individual may partially satisfy this need by buying a powerful sports car. The
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