High Involvement Utilitarian Decision-Making
Decision-making is a huge process that incorporates more beyond mere persuading power of a marketer. People think that the power and ability of a consumer to buy a product or service is entirely dependent on the marketer. However, market research has in the recent past come out clearly to discredit this assumption. Marketing involves several components and players beyond the scope of the marketer (Noel 2009, p. 46). A marketer is just a single player in the market. Suppose we consider the mathematical explanation of this assumption as a character of self-explanation. Assuming that marketing and ability of a person to buy a product or a service depend on the marketer, we can then have;
Mk = f (Mt, c)
Where Mk represents marketing, Mt denotes the marketer and the symbol c denotes 100% probable chance of a consumer to buy a product. The symbol c would equally represent the purchasing power of the consumer (Maynes 1976, p. 67). These are the only factors captured in the above assumption. The assumption holds that the marketing is a function of the available cash held by the consumer, and the convincing power of the marketer.
The assumption has been criticized for a number of reasons that claims it a mere assumption with no basis of an argument. We cannot purport that every product or service introduced to the consumer would end up being purchased by the consumer as long as the consumer has the cash to complete the transaction. The assumption also denies the fact that each consumer has a capacity of decision-making. Other factors ignored by the assumption include consumer taste for a product, consumer preference, product knowledge available to the consumer, and consumer loyalty. All these issues listed here show that every consumer has a decision to make in the purchase of a product. The consumer has the capacity and ability to choose whether to buy a product or decline to buy (Walters & Bergiel 2009, p. 71). It hence shows that consumers are rational.
Therefore, every rational consumer has an order of preference for products and services set before him/her for purchase. A consumer has the choice to buy or reject a product. The power and instinct held by consumers can be termed as the consumer decision-making. Every consumer is believed to be rational in his/her decision on what to consume and what not to. The concept of consumer decision-making explains the ability of a consumer to make a benefiting decision based on his/her consumption of particular product or service. The main reason behind consumer choice is derived satisfaction one expects to get from the consumption of a particular good or product. Consumers are able to rank the utility they can derive from a product or service. A rational consumer would be one who would apparently choose the most satisfying product or service over the less satisfying one.
However, economics explains that consumer satisfaction from basic utile of a product or service differs depending on the type of product and the position of the product in his/her rank. This concept then assumes that every consumer has a list of products at various positions. Such positions would include basic product, common good, supplementary goods, and luxury goods. A rational consumer would always rank normal goods and luxury goods (Hogg 2005, p.74). For instance, assuming bread and milk to be a consumer’s common good and a car is a luxury good. A consumer would always prefer to buy first the common good, which is a necessity product and then buy a car later when his/her basic desires shall have been met.
All these factors affect the decision of a consumer before he/she makes a step to buy any product or service. Therefore, a consumer would tend to buy at first necessity products and services, such as food and healthcare before they embark on other products. When marketing a product, one has to equip him/herself with a lot of information about a consumer. This would help in undertaking effective sales to customers. During an interview with a consumer, I selected a high involvement utilitarian decision-making for products that are bought for their tangible attributes, and particularly the Apple computer. Even though challenging in its position, marketing an Apples computer gave me the most humble time and moment to understand consumer behavior and decision-making. Computers on their own stand on varied ground between luxury and necessity goods. In the case of modernity and globalization in communication and networking, computers have become necessity products. However, in the case of types of computers, an Apple computer can be considered a luxury good for various reasons. Other types of computers perform the basic communication and networking function required in a computer. Apple computers are coupled with a number of differences that gives a more diverse system operation. Its high price also justifies its position to be a luxury good. Therefore, in our project, we will consider an Apple computer as a luxury product, one that apparently comes after other types of computers in the consumer’s preference list.
Who Bought the Product?
The project encloses an interview I had with a consumer of an Apple product. The interview was based on the consumer’s preference and taste for Apples computer. Just to note, there are several types of computers produced by different companies, but the consumer had a specific preference of an Apple type of a computer. The first interest I had was to understand why the customer chose specifically an Apple computer.
According to the customer, she has had several repeat purchasing of Apple products. In other words, we can term her a loyal customer of the Apple Company. The consumer preference began when she, at one time, required more than just the basic requirements of a computer and all these were available with the Apple computer. The statement meant a lot from the customers. I could as well read it from her face and the manner of concentration and stress she gave her words. In a layman’s understanding, this concept meant that the consumer had already been satisfied with necessity goods. Other types of computers gave her the necessity satisfaction she required from any type of a computer. However, Apple computer supplements her pleasure and leisure of having a computer. This was evident from the applications and properties of the Apple computer she could mention above other products. Her choice was specific for a computer that would do her more than just communication and use. The consumer derived maximum satisfaction from using Apple computer over other products.
People who Played a Role the decision-Making and the Role they Played
Nevertheless, the customer’s decision to purchase an Apple computer was based on varies issues. As a college student, the consumer was introduced to the product by her father who bought her an Apple computer as a reward in her 20th birthday. However, after completing college, she lost her Apple computer to a power shortage that burnt the computer’s AC. She could not be able her destroyed OS with another from other companies if not from Apple company itself. Janet had no alternative but to buy another computer. Her father advised her to buy another laptop but never told her any specific type of laptop to purchase. She had to make her own decision on the type of laptop she wanted to buy. Janet had a choice of going for the most satisfying laptop that would multitask in all the activities she intended to undertake with the new laptop she was seeking. She was duty-driven to buy a laptop (Lamb, Hair, &McDaniel 2012, p. 86). Most importantly, she needed a laptop to undertake her responsibilities as a businessperson. This is so since her work evolved around internet and online marketing. It was hence compulsory for her to get a laptop as soon as the other one went down.
The consumer’s decision to purchase another laptop was driven by a number of factors. First was the purpose and need to undertake her business deals. She would not work without a laptop even though she had other desktops and laptops in her store. The need to acquire personal laptop was agent and unavoidable. Her decision-making was also influenced by the marketer who marketed the product to her. She had to compare the noted advantages of the product by the marketer over other products. She hence got convinced to have an Apple computer (Peterson 1984, p. 83).
Motivation for Decision-making
Problem Solved by the Product
The interview with the consumer gave a lot of insight about the motivation factor on marketing and decision-making for the consumer. This is a matter of natural sense that for one to act in a particular way or choose one product there must be a motivating factor that pushes the person to do so. Therefore, the situation with the consumer making a decision to choose an Apple laptop over other laptops was motivated by some factors.
According to psychologist Steven, there is always a motivating factor that pushes people to make certain preferences or choices over others. This assumption works apparently well in consumer choice of goods. The preference that a consumer puts against every product is the motivating factor that he or she possesses to have a particular product. This preference is put in order of seniority of taste and preference for the products. However, as noted from the consumer, the motivation for the decision can be both negative and positive. Like for the case of the consumer, the motivating factor for her purchase of a laptop was her lack of a personal computer. Even though other factors contributed to her look for another computer, the main reason she decided to buy another laptop was because of the problem she encountered with her previous laptop. If any case, suppose her laptop would have not broken down, she would have not purchased another laptop. This need would automatically counteract her need at the store. The laptop solved all the problems she had experienced in the store as a result of missing her broken laptop. Therefore, this implies that, on the positive side, the agent need for a laptop to perform her store duties was another motivating factor for her to purchase a laptop. Similarly, considering the Apple’s laptop as a luxury good, her desire for entertainment pushed her to buy an Apple laptop. Apple laptop gave the consumer more satisfaction as opposed to other types of laptop. It was quick in processing, portable, slim, and game friendly.
The need and functionality of the laptop were most important to the consumer at the moment of the purchase of the laptop. First, the consumer urgently needed a laptop to perform her operational and managerial duties. She would not undertake her managerial duties without a laptop. She hence had no alternative but to buy another laptop as soon as the one she was using broke down. Second, the consumer preferred an Apple type of laptop to other laptops in the market. The laptop showed impressive characteristics and properties that motivated the consumer to select in among other types presented to her at the store. The laptop proved to be fast in processing and efficient (Hoyer, & Macinnis 2008, p. 78). It was also user-friendly. The laptop had other extra applications installed to it that fitted the consumer’s duties and use. Such include the managerial applications, such as accounting software installed to the laptop.
Type of Decision
Was it a first time decision/ a careful decision or casual decision?
The consumer is a repeat purchaser of Apple products. Through the interview, I realized that it was not her first time to purchase or use Apple products. She uses an Apple iPhone from which she connects to the iPad and computer. She had been using a laptop to connect to the iPad and iPhone through the tether port. I can best describe her decision as a careful repeat purchaser of the Apple products. This situation can be termed as customer loyalty. The consumer has been able to identify herself with Apple computer right from the one she was given as a present. This situation explains the confidence that the consumer has on the manufacturer of her products. If given another chance, she would definitely choose another Apple product.
Customer loyalty and trust is another factor that determines customer decision-making. For instance, in the case of the interviewed consumer, she would use her trust for the company’s products as a determinant for making her purchasing decision.
Time Taken to Make Decision
Considering her consuming background and history, the consumer’s decision grew periodically from a more complex situation to an easy one based on the informed partitioning. The first time she had to buy an Apple product, she based her decision on stories and experiences of others. More challenging was the situation that some products like the Apple iPad and computer were very new in the market. It hence took her time to make up her mind to buy a computer and later iPhone and iPad. However, she notices that she had to make that decision based on the pricing technique offered by the firm. It is believed that quality is equated to high prices. This means that products that are charged higher prices are likely to be of high quality. She had to battle between options to make her final decision.
However, for the second and subsequent decisions, she quickly made her decision based on experience that she had gathered on the products. The consumer had already built confidence in Apple products. Even upon the breaking down of her laptop, she had already made her mind to replace the broken laptop with another Apple laptop. She hence had quite an easy time in making the decision to replace her broken laptop. Therefore, she took the shortest time possible in making the decision to purchase an Apple laptop.
According to the consumer, the amount of deliberation taken on her decision-making was very appropriate. Based on the liberal factors on the ground, her decision-making was as self-managed as a mandatory mandate. She had full information pertaining to the functions and efficiency of Apple computer, iPad, and iPhone. Therefore, she had very little to ponder about. However, if it would have been the case of a new product to the consumer, she would have had hard time making a decision whether to buy or reject the product.
Characterize the decision-making process
What triggered the process?
Consumer decision-making based on self or ready information is quite quicker and efficient. The consumer showed that she had all the information that was required in making up the decision to buy or not the laptop. Therefore, with reference to the consumer’s understanding, her initiation for decision-making was triggered by her possession of information on the type of product she was to buy. She already had the specific type of product she needed in her mind. All she needed was a go-head to complete the process. In decision-making, when a consumer already has a hint on the type of product she/he requires, the decision-making becomes very easy. Such a decision is self-made.
The position taken by the consumer limited chances of searching for information about the product. Based on the consumer’s experience in the product, it was not necessary to undertake an information search. The consumer was equipped with all information required about the product. As a matter of fact, she would even provide all information required for any new consumer to the product. Through her practice of repeat purchases, she would not even gather any information about the product.
According to Fournier in her book, Consumer’s and their Brands, she believes that consumer preference on a product or service is as a result of the level of information about that particular product or service held by the consumer. This is because consumers prefer products based on information they have on the product. They then arrange the products in ascending or descending order depending on the values they have signed against each product. This case becomes trickier when a consumer has full information about a product as in the case of this consumer. The consumer is then likely to disregard other products at the expense of the known product. The consumer hence had no need of undertaking an information search about the product. She instead concentrated on leveling up her chances of getting another laptop to replace the broken one. This kind of consumer behavior has been termed by some psychologist as having rigid mind by the consumers. Other psychologists who view it positively term it customer loyalty. This consumer showed characters of a loyal customer to the Apple Company.
Where did the Consumer Buy?
Channel for Purchase
Due to the consumer’s specification on the type of laptop she needs, picking on the channel for purchase was equally easy and specific. The consumer resorted to using home delivery by the store that sold the laptop. This is also a strong indication of customer loyalty. The selling store has already identified itself with its customers, thereby extending after-sale service to its customers. Home delivery has many advantages to the consumer. The most important is the warranty given against all orders made by the customers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the company and its supplying stores to ensure that ordered products reach consumers. This kind of purchase channel also liberates consumers of liabilities on loss of products and services before reach of the consumer. The company hence takes the liability of any damage or loss that occurs to ordered products before they reach the customers.
What came first? / What to buy or where to buy?
According to ethics of marketing, there is a distinct order to which product acquisition occurs. This concept applies to the application of the 4ps marketing technique. These are product, promotion, price, and place. Similarly, even in the exception of this concept, applying natural sense, one can never have a place to buy a product from without having in mind the kind of product to be bought. This applies to the same situation as it does to marketing itself.
The product describes the item or commodity to be sold by a producer and bought by a consumer. It includes even services taken for sale. A consumer has to identify the product he/she needs before undertaking any step to reach the product. The type of product required by a consumer is determined by the need for the product. As in the case of the interviewed consumer, she needed a laptop to undertake her duties and for her studies. Therefore, the urge for studying created the need for a study tool. The tool became the laptop that she needed. She also had a secondary need of replacing her broken laptop. This need demanded that she considered having a laptop. Her desire for a laptop would hence intern create a chance to supply a laptop by either the producing company or the marketing store.
After creating a product, it then required the marketing store to undertake a market test for the product through a sales promotion. The promotion creates the urge among users of the product on the purpose for the product. New consumers of the product then gather information about the products alongside developing preference with reference to other similar products they have met. Above all, promotion gives the market a chance to interact with new potential consumers, and build a business relationship with them.
Pricing is also another important marketing segment. The market has the right of controlling the price for is product. However, there are other factors affect pricing as a function of the producer. He/she has to make prices that will attract consumers. This implies that consumers must be a factor of consideration when making up prices for products. The type of market also impacts pricing of a product. The market is given by the place for marketing and purchase. A marketer hence must consider the place where to sell her product as well as the consumer. To the consumer, the place to buy from, which is the market, must be after identification of the product to buy.
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