Principles of Marketing and Customer

Consumers come into contact with different kinds of stimuli every hour and every other person seems to have a different opinion about a one single object. For instance if you are talking about a design on a piece of cloth, some people might find it eye catching and at the same time other might find it boring. So it’s a game of perceptions. Everybody perceives things differently. Consumers are bombarded with stimuli all around them but they are not attracted or pay attention to all of the stimuli they come into contact with.
The three selective processes that consumers make use of are selective attention, selective distortion and selective retention. Selective attention This is the process by which consumers pay attention to the stimuli which interests them, it’s like listening to the things that you want to listen to. In short consumers pay their attention to things which they have a need for or which are of particular interest to them called internal factors.
External factors can also gain their attention in the case of adverts in newspapers if bright colors are used or lack of contrast or by being attracted to particular brand names or the brands physical attributes. For example some will pay attention to the adverts of cars among the other adverts in the newspaper if they are looking to buy one. Thus the consumers pay attention to the narrow events and block out all other distractions. Selective distortion

It is the process by which people like to believe about new things by thinking about it in a way which already conforms to the old beliefs or expectations that they have thus distorting the image which marketers are trying to portray. Selective distortion occurs as people try to stereotype things, change things to fit their old beliefs or previous experiences. Selective retention It is the process by which people retain only that information in their minds which is favorable for them or which affects them positively and thus they forget about the negative things.
For instance, people will remember the television commercials which are line with their own beliefs and forget about the ones which have content which upsets them. Thus, consumers choose to keep those things in mind which supports their attitudes and behavior. Of the three which affects me the most is the selective attention. I pay my attention to the things which I have a need for or I am anticipating it. I seem to notice commercials of cell phones and block out all other commercials running on TV if I am looking to buy a cell phone for myself.
Other stimuli which attract my attention are those which have good package designs or the ads have celebrities or models which I adore. For instance an ad of Britney Spears will grab my attention regardless of the brand that is being advertised I have interest in or not. The above mentioned roles may operate individually and in an over lap dependant upon the specific buying scenario or may also be dependant upon the size of the organization. In an ideal scenario, the function of buyer should at least be separate to the function of decider and influencer.
Organizational buying
Large organizations with good controls, corporate governance and controls have separate departments and individuals operating in three different roles in order to maintain and independence which leads to rights requirements being procured in a cost efficient manner. In terms of risk and fraud management, three different levels of controls avoid purposeful collusions as well as improve cost efficient decision making. However in certain cases the buying may relate to a specific requirement which may involve influencer and decision maker may be same.
An example of this may be appointment of external attorney or auditors may be influenced and decided upon by the Legal Counsel and Finance Director in respective examples. In cases of small and medium enterprises, the headcount costs and organization structure may not be flexible enough to allow the functions of influencer, buyer and decider to be separate and overlaps may exist in majority of the cases. This is since the resources available in smaller businesses are more effectively managed carrying out multiple roles.
In smaller organizations, the owner himself would in most cases be the influencer and decider since the management and decision making predominantly revolves around that role. Differentiating marketing mix Organizations tend to differentiate their marketing mix for various reasons, the first and the foremost being to distinguish itself from their competitors. By differentiating its mix, brands try to stay focused in the long run as to what they want to achieve and what objectives they need to set in order to achieve their desired goals. Diffrentiating the marketing mix helps the organization as well as the customer.
Advantages The advantages to customers for differentiating the marketing mix is that since the brand is well distinguished from its competitors the customers can be made to pay a premium price as they understand that the organization has tried to differentiate itself and thus are more willing to accept the higher prices. The second advantage a customer has is that since the marketing mix is well differentiated, customers can easily relate themselves to the brands and thus their fears are overcome and they feel satisfied in using a brand which differentiates itself on the attributes they are looking for.
Another advantage to customers is that they are being given a quality product as the brand is so well differentiated and thus customers can be convinced easily to buy the product offering and thus customers feel satisfied with the thing that they have bought a brand which stands for values which they hold themselves. Relation to competitive positioning When the brand is differentiated on its marketing mix, it can very well be a competitive advantage for the firm in relation to its competitors. For instance the product itself on quality and its unique designs helps the company to charge premium prices and to cater to specific populations.
Differentiation can also occupy a unique place in the customers mind in relation to the competitors and thus can work wonders for the overall image of a brand. Market segmentation It is a two step process, naming the broad product markets and segmenting the markets further to select target markets. The first step involves dividing the market which is a group of potential customers having similar needs. For instance the market for paper is very broad if an organization sets itself to provide papers to consumers.
Paper is used as a packaging material and also in the construction business and in various industrial operations. Thus, the firm needs to divide its broad market of papers into further segments which it will target. If it chooses to fulfill the needs of the packaging industry, then the weights and the shape of the papers needs to be of different requirements and thus it have chosen a segment to cater to the packaging needs of its consumers. Market segmentation attempts often fail as marketers attempt to find one or two demographic characteristics to segment a market.
Generally customer’s needs cannot be defined in terms of two variables. For instance the market for shampoos and cannot be described by only the two demographic factors such as age and sex, the more important factor social class needs to be taken into account as well. Thus, most of the market segmentation efforts fail due to the lack of having a suitable no of characteristics to define the target segment. Strategies which can increase chances of successful segmentation are demographic, psychographic, behavioral and geographic segmentation.
Psychographic relates to the lifestyles of people like at what time they wake up, when they have their breakfast etc. Geographic deals with segmenting by geographic locations such as Asia, Europe etc. Behavioral deals with the behavior of people for instance why they use a particular toothpaste etc. None of these concepts are closed or inalterable, but rather new combinations are constantly added to them, as well as cross strategies and variations that constantly enrich what is one of the most critical aspects of Marketing, and on which the success or failure of an organization depends a great deal.
Conclusion
This paper highlights the three processes of selective perception; the role of buyers, deciders and influencers in organizational buying; advantages of differentiating marketing mix to consumers and lastly market segmentation and what are the strategies which make it successful.
References

Cite man network (2006 June 25) Selective attention, distortion and retention www. citeman. com NC state university,
Procurement: A Tutorial http://scm. ncsu. edu Doc stoc, Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning www. docstoc. com

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New York University
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