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Introduction of a new product to the market is very challenging if one loses the site of the objectives. One must first write the marketing strategy, followed by strategic information gathering about the market. This process reveals gaps in the market that one can fill through other marketing means. Developing business strategy involves understanding and developing the product mission; which outlines the product and marketing objectives, analyzes the customer base, segmentation of the target market, finding out the competition the company has to face and using the SWOT analysis to gauge ones strength. The strategy also analyzes the position of the product in relation to its ability to satisfy customer’s needs. This calls for understanding the customer’s needs, to supply only goods and services that meet those demands.
Part I: Maslow’s theory of needs and application to marketing
In 1943, Abraham Maslow, a psychologist introduced a concept outlining the order in which individuals fulfill their needs. He termed it the theory of human motivation and arranges the needs in a hierarchy. People have motivation to fulfill basic needs before thinking of fulfilling other needs (Maslow, 1970). This theory of needs is normally displayed in a pyramidal diagram with the most important and basic needs at the bottom, while the other needs at the top of the pyramid. The most basic needs are physiological that one cannot do without. They include food, water, warmth and sleep. Fulfillment of other needs comes in after the basic ones are met. The next level includes security and safety that outlines that after basic needs are satisfied, individuals need to feel secure in the respective places they go and stay.
As one progresses up the pyramid, the needs change from physical to social and psychological. Psychologically, the need for belongingness, love, friendship and intimacy become more necessary. Ordinarily everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated by those close to them. This need is then followed by the need for personal esteem, which outlines the level of confidence and accomplishments. At the top of the hierarchy, the process of growing to the level of personal satisfaction and development takes precedence in the name of self-actualization, in the urge to achieving personal potential.
In 1990, there was a modification of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to include cognitive, aesthetic and then transcendence needs. Cognitive needs include knowledge, meaning among others, aesthetic needs that involves search for beauty form and transcendence needs that refer to helping others to achieve their self-actualization. Maslow, Stephens & Heil, (1998) argue that Maslow’s ideas are applicable in development of new employment plans in human resource departments, advertisement and promotion activities that require the ideas from marketing sector, and uncovering consumer motivations for buying in sales. The legitimacy of the theory in sales and marketing is that companies develop products that help satisfy their consumers’ specific needs as a marketing strategy. An example is in the clothing industry where a production plant can decide to fulfill their consumer needs for self-esteem, by producing fashion and classy clothes. Such garments improve the personal looks of individuals, hence giving them the confidence for self-esteem. Consider a building and construction company which works to fulfill the physiological need; shelter. The company can decide to include several decorations to appease the client and fulfill their esteem needs as this will lift their social status. This is a marketing strategy for the company.
In essence, marketers should bear in mind that product consumers are never motivated by the same needs. Therefore, marketers should tune the production advertisement and marketing techniques, for a company to maintain its customer base (Maslow, Stephens & Heil, 1998). Over time, the needs motivating individuals change and marketers have to come up with ways through which they can customize their strategies to suit their customers. They can use one need to satisfy the other and then market their products. With this in mind, the marketers have to know which customer needs are being satisfied. This will help restructure forms of recognition according to their market demands. Manufacturers need to understand the motivation of the consumers towards satisfying their needs before deciding their market strategy.
Stages of Consumer Behavior Model and how it Affects Marketing Effort
Consumer behavior model has six stages towards decision making and one has to note that not all the six stages ultimately lead to purchasing (Samli, 1995). It is also important that the stages reached depend on the level of complexity.
The first stage involves the consumer’s awareness of the need, where actual condition demanding the presence of the need and the desire is differentiated. This defines itself with the presence of a deficit. An example is the presence of hunger, which develops the need for food. This can also be stimulated not by hunger, but by a marketer who gives the information about a particular food. A commercial for a new cloth fashion design may kindle a consumer’s recognition that they need a new cloth.
The second stage is information search where the consumer goes on to find the product information either personally or via other people like the marketers’ sources of information. This informs the buyer evoked with alternatives, such as where to get the cloth or where to eat which kind of food. The next stage is about evaluation of the alternatives where the consumer has to have a criterion including the definite features that they want and what they don’t. The consumer gets back to the previous stage of information search if they are not satisfied. Samli (1995) writes that the decision to purchase forms the next stage in consumer behavior. Here, the consumer chooses the alternative that they reach. This includes the package, method of purchase, the product and the store.
The fourth step is purchasing. However, this may differ from the two decisions above depending on the period between the previous step and this one because of the availability of the product. Finally, we have the post purchase evaluation, which assesses the satisfaction of the consumer. It deals more with the cognitive and asks whether one has made the right decision. At this stage, warranties and after sales communications come in handy.
Understanding consumer behavior develops interest in re-inventing the true meaning of marketing through recognition of the importance of the buyer or consumer. Consumer stage analysis remains very imperative for customer retention, relationship management, satisfaction and other social functions like choice and welfare. Consumer behavior stage analysis helps marketers understand the value of consumer relationships and makes them extend relationships beyond invasive advertisement and sales promotion strategies. Analysis of the changes in needs, desires and wants of targeted consumers helps in adjusting market variables in accordance to the cultural and structural life constraints. The cultural and lifestyle influences on consumer behavior can be evaluated and aid in designation of awareness, action guidance and interest massages that would help in marketing. Understanding consumer behavior can help marketers in evaluating their policies of redressing the behavior in the targeted segments of the market. Besides, it helps to analyze the influence that the prevailing situations have on buyer motivation and group emotional responses.
Part II: Application to Product
It is very important to recognize the three pillars of product creation and marketing before coming up with a business strategy, because there is no essence of coming up with a great product with no demand on the market. First, one has to identify the need for the product. For example, lack of foodstuff in the market should motivate one to come up with the product that ensures that people need, and are ready to buy the product (Shawn, Sarthak & Jeremy, 2011). Secondly, it is better to come up with a product that lasts for a longer time in the market, where you produce it once and it sells forever (Doole & Lowe, 2008). An example is producing new music videos once and you sell more than ten times the ones you produced. Finally, the marketing strategy earns the product the money in the market. Getting the product more known makes the difference depending on the effectiveness of the marketing strategy that one chooses.
After close monitoring of the social market around the globe, one comes up with a social site product on the internet, to match the social communication needs of the people around the globe. Just like twitter, Facebook and net log, this product will allow a connection of friends, and generally people willing to link up around the globe. The social website, X, will only require registration once, then login every time the user wants to use it.
The world is a global village and there is the need for people to keep in touch, where someone in the United States can keep in touch with someone in Australia through the site. They can use the site for learning purposes and many other social aspects. In short, the product is a social website called X, to keep people connected through social communications and interactions.
In the market, this product is for all customers regardless of their age, gender and race all over the globe. The target market has no bounds. Rationally, social websites are usable by everyone who has access, since they can only be barred by the ability to access the internet (Kotler & Roberto, 1989). This product will be available to all who can access internet. For this reason, the target market is fairly wide and open. Market size will equally be too large, as it is global with a high purchasing power. Basically, this will depend on the level and rate of advertising and marketing.
Competition and Viability
A perfect market does not lack competition and this product has many. Because it is a social product, the main competitors in the field are Facebook, Twitter and Net log social sites among others. The largest of them is Facebook which has the largest market of social networks in the world. With adequate advertisement and good marketing strategies in place (Drozdenko & Drake, 2002), this product will fit in and provide the existing products with the stiffest competition to gain a large market share. With awareness and friendships growing globally, the social site market is bound to grow rapidly, with this market having great future, bearing in mind that people get motivated to create friends every day for different reasons including learning purposes. This product is a social network product, aimed at connecting people globally like the existing ones. It will get adequate marketing through other media.
For any company to continue thriving in the market, it must develop ways of acquiring and keeping customers. This makes marketing a very important area of focus in companies and firms of all sizes. For effectiveness, it is important to understand the market climate and the strengths and weaknesses in the marketing criteria, develop an effective marketing strategy, build a plan, implement it and monitor the success of the plan. Of equal importance, Shawn, Sarthak and Jeremy (2011) write that the real value of goods and services must be revealed to different customer tastes through satisfaction. Marketing strategies must always begin and end with the customer in mind.
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