Consumer Behaviour and Marketing
The statement "Businesses can analyze how consumers make choices and can use this to create successful marketing strategies for the goods they want to sell" is controversial. Against this backdrop, the current paper assesses the idea that businesses are able to alter or adjust their strategies based on studying consumer patterns of consumption. For instance, focusing on consumerism or technology, businesses might be positioned well to understand how consumers make their choices. From such an understanding, businesses have the opportunity to adjust their strategies to meet consumer expectations, and consequently improve their earnings.
Arguments, Counterarguments and Refutations
In the current times, customers look for those products that are easy to use. Therefore, businesses must welcome a process change to guarantee that products or services meet customer expectations. Besides, providing an unforgettable customer experience being one of the objectives that successive business entities focus on as contended by Dess, Lumpkin and Covin (2007), organisations are driven by customer needs to adopt strategies that do away with hustles associated with mainstream technology which appear highly sophisticated. In this regard, the consumerism culture based on the preference for simple items might prove critical in driving the strategic options that businesses employ.
Despite the assertion that customers are looking for simple products, opponents of the view opine that some consumers prefer sophisticated items such as electronics (Kincy 2011). These consumers rate complex items higher since they are beyond the reach of the common person. In refuting the argument about simplicity or complexity of items as drivers of consumerism, and, thus, decision-making among businesses, focus shifts to the usability of products. In this regard, attention is paid to the needs of customers as opposed to the level of complexity or simplicity exhibited in products. Hence, the extent to which the aspect of simplicity or complexity influences consumerism and business decision-making process on strategies is questioned.
Secondly, the culture of consumerism is also critical in influencing brand positioning. Business entities that position their brands also recognise that communicating it is equally useful as observed by Kim, Mattila and Baloglu (2011). The significance of clear communication in business circles cannot be overemphasised as it facilitates the passage of information about products to target audiences. While it is widespread to convey messages to potential customers, concentrating on the target customers takes precedence. In a bid to pass the message across, businesses adopt strategies such as advertising using various channels. For businesses to succeed in such endeavours, every advertisement should pass essential information besides capturing the attention of consumers since the objective of advertising is to reinforce a company's repositioning strategy (Kincy 2011).
In addition, the issue of brand positioning comes up as an important factor that borders on the use of information by businesses to come through with strategies to satisfy customer requirements (Dess, Lumpkin & Covin 2007). Despite the importance of information on brand positioning and its communication, it is argued that businesses do not necessarily require information on consumption patterns before making a decision on the strategy to employ. Whereas consumerism might play a major role in influencing brand positioning, its effect might be reduced if the patterns are inconsistent. Besides, if businesses fail to note changes in consumer tastes or patterns, then the adopted strategies might not be helpful.
Societies, i.e. the Western cultures which are predominantly materialistic also depict high levels of consumerism. Within such societies, individuals assess satisfaction based on their acquisitions or consumption (Kim, Mattila & Baloglu 2011). In addition, people consider satisfaction based on professional progression. Consumerism predisposes consumers to value luxury products since in most instances such societies are advanced, and do no lack basic products. However, in less developed societies, levels of consumerism are lower as people grapple for basic products. It is noted that such information on the levels of consumerism is important to businesses. For instance, an entity would find information on the levels of consumerism significant in arriving at decisions on the level of products to produce and the right times to supply the products. Using consumerism data, an entity should also be informed when consumption levels decline so that the production levels are varied appropriately. In a nutshell, the levels of consumerism are critical in informing organisations on what to produce and the time to do so.
Consumers rooted in the consumerism culture often perceive that their happiness would increase if they possess bigger or nice products such as cars, expensive clothes, jewellery, etc. (Kim, Mattila & Baloglu 2011). However, research shows an absence of a strong association linking happiness and material possessions. As an illustration, the recent financial recession forced consumers to focus more on the significance of a product as opposed to its perceived rank in the society. In this regard, it emerges that the consumerism culture cannot be sustained in given circumstances such as those where economies are shrinking. The implication is that businesses can rely on consumerism as a concept to make decisions based on the prevailing economic conditions. It is also noted that in societies rooted in consumerism, consumers display an open behaviour to advertising and other marketing related activities, which support the acquisition of products at special prices. However, it occurs under suitable distribution channels or products that demonstrate achievement or status as conceded by Khosla (2010). Consumers also wish to portray their possessions while businesses seek to create opportunities and protect consumers against possible losses.
The allegation that the consumerism behaviour gravitates around assessing happiness based on material possessions is not wholly supported since even poor societies have classes of individuals who display such a culture (Khosla 2010). Similarly, in the affluent societies, there are groups of people who do not lead such a way of spending. Hence, the assumption that some societies lead such a way of lifestyle could be misleading.
Technology remains a critical change factor within many sectors of economies since it is apparent that developments within the field of technology, especially information technology, have had far-reaching consequences in the manner businesses conduct their affairs (Khosla 2010). One of the areas that information technology has influenced business decision-making is strategy formation based on information. With advancements in information technology, big data which organizations find useful in arriving at important business decisions become available. It applies to decisions on volumes to produce as well as to supply to the markets. Similarly, developments in information technology have coincided with the emergence of new platforms such as the social media which business organizations can employ in deciding what to produce for customers.
Notably, social media involves mobile technologies which enhance communication by providing a platform where people share ideas on a number of social issues. Using social media, business entities can assess their brand images and loyalty (Kincy 2011). Platform, namely social networks, podcasts, photo or video sharing sites, gaming sites, blogs, forums, bookmarking sites and micro-blogging avenues play a major role in business today. As a result, any business that seeks to create a lasting impression on the consumer must pay attention to such developments. It is also observed that some of the most famous social networking sites, i.e., Facebook have emerged as critical cogs in the world of business strategy formulation, especially regarding advertising.
It is conceded that information technology enhances communication within the business environment. However, the enhanced business communication does not necessarily work in favour of businesses since in some instances information technology platforms can provide ample grounds to ruin a business if an unspectacular event takes place. However, as argued by Kietzmann and Canhoto (2013), information technology platforms such as social media provide a useful tool that an organization should employ in resolving emerging issues instead of ignoring them. In the business, small mistakes pose a danger of harming the reputation. Hence, considering developing clear strategies that are deployed whenever a problem is encountered is considered a possibility, thanks to the developments in information technology which are available to businesses.
Besides, the argument that technology is a major factor that influences businesses in regards to information availability seems valid. However, some entities have succeeded without having an online presence. Hence, keeping an up-to-date online presence, however, does not guarantee enhancement of business activities through strategy formulation.
Businesses intending to improve their performance can rely on social media for purposes such as marketing. As Kim, Mattila and Baloglu (2011) argue, participation is a major factor in business today. In particular, participation is enhanced in platforms that allow an exchange of information between a consumer and business. Thus, besides being important when operating within known markets, the social media platform becomes more critical when an entity looks forward to venturing into a new market. The position is held in reference to the idea that an organization can carry out a feasibility study using such media before deciding whether to launch a product into the market or not.
The second argument about technology rests on the idea of participation. Although participation is not a bad idea for businesses, such provision may prove counterproductive. For instance, participation necessitates additional time to consider the high number of opinions that emerge (Kincy 2011). Thus, a business that provides a participatory platform is likely to suffer from time lags. In this regard, the significance of technology in the decision-making process of business as pertains to strategy on production or marketing is reduced.
One of the essential events that occur within business circles is the tracking of market patterns, as observed by Schivinski and Dąbrowski (2013). Habitually, tracking is seen as a tedious undertaking since it consumes considerable time. Despite being time-consuming, Kim, Mattila and Baloglu (2011) observed that setting aside a small number of hours to track market trends would be significant. In this regard, businesses might consider tracking their posts, tweets, followers, page viewers, impressions, likes, shares, etc. The need to focus on such aspects rests on the idea that they inform a business on what customers think. Consequently, business is better placed to develop an appropriate strategy using the available information on such platforms. Similarly, comparing reviews with those of other industry players would prove critical in informing an entity on its position within the larger pool of competitors. The above point demonstrates how technology is useful to business. However, one counterargument against it is that tracking social media may not be indicative of the real events affecting business since such platforms are open to anybody including non-consumers. Hence, an inability to establish a connection between commentators and business may devalue the role of technology. However, evidence on the value of assessing social media feedback and keeping an up-to-date presence refutes claims that the technology is not a useful element within the business circles.
Given that many organisations have employed technology in making important decisions, it is held that although controversial, its usage is critical among businesses. Similarly, the issue of consumerism emerges as critical in the strategic endeavours of business organisations since it provides critical information. Thus, the paper holds that despite the contestations, Businesses can assess consumer choices with a view to creating successful marketing strategies regarding the goods they sell.
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