The Role Of Consumer Behavior In Marketing Decisions
The purpose of this paper is to define the importance with which companies attach consumer behavior to their marketing strategies and approaches. It is important that marketing approaches adopted are in line with customer preferences and behaviors which can be arrived at by carrying out market research and surveys. In the following discourse, a simple market survey was conducted touching on four areas of interest to assist in defining the marketing status at McDonalds. To complete the survey, nine respondents were randomly picked from friends, family and coworkers to represent three market categories; children (3), young adults (3) and adults (3). Questions asked were designed to establish respondents’ opinion on purchases frequency at McDonalds, brand choice, personal brand description and brand transfer to a different product line.
Nearly every respondent attested to the fact that McDonalds is a big market player in food products. This is because with regard to the food products that do well in the summer across the various market segments, every respondent gave an indication of having bought them in less than a week. The young market has a higher preference for McDonalds’ products than in the older market segments. It is clear that the older age segment still has a significant attraction to the McDonalds’ range of products. The most elaborate choice for McDonalds’ ice cream products in the summer has however been among the children, youths and young adults. All the respondents had a recent purchase experience with a McDonald’s product. All the children and young adults had an experience within the past seven days while two of the adults had an experience within two past weeks and one adult had bought a product in the past one month. This demonstrates the clarity in the market segment that the products have (Deshpandé, 2010).
In order to find out the actual brand preferences that the respondents had for the various products offered at McDonalds, personal opinion was from each of the respondents. A question was asked regarding the specific brand choices and the decision making process behind them from each of the respondents. The three children and one adult bought vanilla ice cream cones from McDonalds while one young adult and two adults had chocolate dipped ice cream products. Two of the remaining young adults bought strawberry yoghurt from McDonalds. Some of the reasons behind the decision to purchase the preferred product from McDonalds included identity with the company for all the children while one of the adults was having fun with his young son. This can be explained by the fact that the market segment covering children performs exceptionally well and the decision making process was not very complex or structured among the children.
Product need identification was well understood across the respondents and the search for the availability of the products to satisfy this need was not difficult since McDonalds is a well known producer and supplier. Depending on the market competitiveness that the company has, the respondents were not in a problem in comparing available alternatives due to earlier mentioned factors such as nutrition and quality. Purchase decision was therefore almost unanimously favoring the company. Post purchase evaluation experience in this case can be translated to involve the observed consumer loyalty for McDonalds (Class Notes, n.d). The other decision making processes from among the young adults and the adults were mainly on the availability and familiarity with the company since their childhood.
All the respondents made an indication that the products offered at McDonalds are quality products. All segments of the market associate well with brands that have high quality closely taken care of in the products offered in the market (Milkman, 2008). A considerable number of respondents, mostly the young segment had preference for their respective brand choices due to earlier encounters with the products. Identity also played a role since the best group interests are handled with specificity if the market segment is identified like McDonalds does for children and families.
Opinions in support of McDonalds’ brand name on a different product line were raised mainly on quality and prestige with which the company products are associated with. All the respondents were of the opinion that a different product line would still perform well in the market towards customer satisfaction.
From the above responses to the questions raised regarding McDonalds brand and market status, it is clear that the actual position established by the company is largely dependent on the consumers’ perceptions about the company. It is clear that for a company to achieve success in the market, it must keep in touch with the consumer opinions and perceptions of the offered products. Performing market surveys ensures that the company is capable of maximizing on its strengths in the market and make corrections on the weak projections or perceptions held across the market (Perner, 2010). One of the best presentations of this fact in the McDonalds’ case is that by finding out that the young market is a strong marketing start, the company has been able to maximize on its benefits by serving this market accurately on its preferences. Capturing the family segment in its marketing strategy is a marketing strategy for McDonalds which can be associated with the children segment identification. It is possible to expand the market from one market segment through derivation technique as McDonalds does.
Perhaps the most important finding in the McDonalds case is the discovery of high performance of the food market among the young market segments. As illustrated in the answers above, the young market has a high preference for McDonalds’ range of products than other age segments. It is therefore important for a food products company like McDonalds to concentrate its marketing strategies on its well performing segments. Conducting these marketing strategies has enabled McDonalds to achieve a very competitive brand presence and a positive brand loyalty (Perner, 2008). It is not surprising that McDonalds has achieved the operation status that it has due to modern consumer behavior understanding, thank to marketing research information available to the management at McDonalds.
Regarding the relationship that the answers have with classic marketing literature provided, there is a direct connectivity between the information and the actual survey findings. Consumer behavior is useful in formulating marketing strategies, particularly for high preference dependent product such as food products. USC Marshall (2010) reports that consumer behavior studies are important in marketing, since companies can rely on the information to make decisions such as new products introduction into the market (Julie and Schneider, 2011). Expanding operations is highly dependent on the market preparedness which is determined on the performance of the company in terms of brand presence and consumer loyalty.
“Introductory Marketing Distribution,” USC Marshall, 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/cb_Introduction.html
“What is Consumer Buying Behavior” Class Notes. Retrieved from: http://www.udel.edu/alex/chapt6.html
Deshpandé, R. (2010) “Why You Aren’t Buying Venezuelan Chocolate,” Harvard Business Review, 88:25-27
Julie, H. & Schneider, J. (2011) “Why Most Product Launches Fail,” Harvard Business Review, 89:21-23
Milkman, K. L. (2008) “Tap Consumers’ Desire for “Shoulds”,” Harvard Business Review, 86(7/8):22-23
Perner, L. (2008) “Food Marketing: Food Marketing, consumption and Manufacturing,” Retrieved from: http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/food_marketing.html
Perner, L. (2010) “Consumer Behavior: The Psychology of Marketing,” Retrieved from: http://www.consumerpsychologist.com/