There are various factors that companies must consider when they research a customer’s buying behavior. These include the customer’s personality, gender, self-concept and their state of life. Self Concept: By tailoring their marketing strategy to give the message that a product or service will improve our lives, customers believe that they are bettering themselves by buying these products. The Army’s “Be All That You Can Be” slogan is a good example of this: by joining the army, you will become a better version of yourself.
Gender: Men and women shop differently. One study by Resource Interactive, a technology research firm, found that when shopping online, men prefer sites with lots of pictures of products; women prefer to see products online in lifestyle context—say, a lamp in a living room. Women are also twice as likely as men to use viewing tools such as the zoom and rotate buttons and links that allow them to change the color of products. Consumer’s age and state of life: As we grow older, we change our ideas about what we want and need to buy.
Companies are cleverly able to market in a way that can target different age groups and offer a product or service that will make these different groups think they need them. Methodology The aim of the research is to investigate the effect of sales promotions on individual’s buying decisions. More specifically, this approach will compare male and females aged between 20 and 25, and try to find out what influences and impacts their buying decisions.
Thomas (2009) indicates that a reliable and effective method when collecting data is a significant element of the research; both qualitative and quantitative methods would be used for continuing this research. This research will choose a focus group as the main method for our study. A focus group is a form of qualitative research used to form a discussion with people and get information from them (Thomas, 2009). In addition, Throupe (2011) indicates that a focus group is seen as an important tool for acquiring feedback and regarding new products in marketing.
According to Bell (2005), reliability and validity are the two important elements of choosing research method. Thus, by forming our focus group, we hope to effectively obtain significant, integrated and in-depth information from our interviewees (Saunders et al, 2003). The interview is conducted in an unstructured and natural way where respondents are free to give views from any aspect. Focus groups allow interviewers to study people in a more natural setting than a one-to-one interview.
In combination with participant observation, they can be used for gaining access to various cultural and social groups, selecting sites to study, sampling of such sites, and raising unexpected issues for exploration. Their main advantage is their fairly low cost compared to surveys, as one can get results relatively quickly and increase the sample size of a report by talking with several people at once. Within our focus group all participants will be asked five questions.
The questions are mainly open-ended questions in order to get more extensive and developmental answers (Saunders et al, 2003). Followed the five questions, we will discuss further depending on how each interviewee responds. Each question will relate to the interviewees’ own experiences about shopping and whether sales promotions or discounts effect their decisions. Each individual interview will run for 10 to 20 minutes. This research will take place in the Learning Resource Centre in the University of Hertfordshire De Havilland campus.
Before the interviews, the question papers and recording papers will be prepared. Before we form our focus group, it is important to consider various aspects that companies focus on when forming their marketing campaigns: Interview Questions: 1. What type of marketing do you notice the most? 2. What do you think is the best marketing method that companies use to keep customers buying? 3. Which of these marketing methods do you think applies the most to our age group? 4. Why do you think our age group is a good target for these marketing methods?
5. Do you think that marketing makes you spend more, less or the same amount as you normally would? Findings After the group discussions, the majority of people we spoke to agreed that the main thing that would make them buy something would be a sale, promotion or some sort of loyalty programme. Dowling and Uncles (1997) ask ‘do these programs really create extra loyalty over that which is driven by the relative value of the product/service, do they encourage customers to spend more, or do they merely bribe a customer to repeat buy?
’ Our focus group recognized the tricks of these loyalty schemes and special discounts. One young woman explained that she received an email from a clothing retailer, offering a pair of shoes for a ‘special discounted price’ and though she knew she had no money, she bought them anyway because she was made to believe she was getting a good deal. Patrick Spenner addresses the reason that many customers follow or ‘like’ companies on social media sites, stating, “the top reason customers follow a brand…[is] to get discounts” (Spenner, 2012).
With our focus group, we also considered the various environmental factors that may have an effect on the way we buy. Due to the recession and the fact that we are mainly low-income students, we jump at the chance to save money, even though we may not actually be saving as much as we think. Tim Ambler says that ‘price promotions are the brand equivalent of heroin: easy to get into but hard to get out of. Once the brand and its customers are addicted to the short-term high of a price cut it is hard to wean them away to real brand building”
(Ambler, 1999). By continually offering us discounts and special offers, we are tricked into thinking that we are saving money, when in reality we are probably spending just as much as we would normally. Because the items we buy are discounted, we can ‘justify’ buying more, which means spending more. Conclusion Through our focus group discussion, we found that most young individuals, male and female, aged between 20 and 25 are more tempted to buy when they are presented with some sort of promotion, discount or loyalty scheme from a company.
Through studying the age, personalities and stage of life of their customers, companies can tailor which marketing strategy will get the most customers buying. In this case, by making customers feel as though they are saving money and ‘in on a great deal’, companies can build loyalty with their customers that ensure they come back to buy time and time again. References Ambler, T. ‘Kicking price promotion habit is like getting off heroin – hard’, Marketing (27 May 1999) p 24. In Kotler, P et al. 1996. Principles of Marketing. Fifth Edition. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. P666.
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