The Value Proposition

Why should a consumer buy from you?

Competitive Advantages

What makes you better than your competition?

Choosing A Differentiation Strategy

You chose a target market, now what?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Marketing 101: Variety Seeking Buying Behavior

In previous posts I examined Complex Buying Behavior, Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior, and Habitual Buying Behavior.  Finally, we will quickly define Variety Seeking Buying Behavior.

Variety Seeking Buying Behavior
Variety Seeking Buying Behavior refers to situations where there is low consumer involvement, but the consumer perceives significant differences between the brand options in front of them.  In variety seeking situations consumers tend to do a lot of brand switching.  There is no real brand loyalty.  Common variety seeking types of products are cookies and crackers.  Let's take a quick look at crackers.

Consumers may already have a few beliefs about crackers.  However most consumers will buy a particular brand with very little evaluation before the purchase.  In fact in product categories such as crackers, evaluation tends to happen during consumption of the product.  Beliefs and attitudes will come during the experience of eating them, or using them at parties.  The next time the consumer is ready to buy, they will sometimes buy the same brand if the experience was favorable.  However, they may also pick another brand purely out of boredom or to just try something different.  All of this happens for the sake of variety rather than any negative beliefs or attitudes about the cracker brand.
The marketing strategy might differ for the market leader versus the competitors trying to grab market share.  Leaders should encourage habitual buying - dominating shelf space and keeping shelves stocked, running frequent reminder advertising.

Marketers should encourage variety seekers to buy by using lower prices, special deals, coupons, samples, and ads that have messaging that give reasons for trying something new.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Marketing 101: Habitual Buying Behavior

So far we have examined Complex Buying Behavior and Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior.  Next, let's quickly look at Habitual Buying Behavior.

Habitual Buying Behavior
Habitual Buying Behavior refers to situations where a consumer has low involvement in a purchase, and is perceiving very few significant differences between brands in a given product category.  So many products fit into this scenario.  Most of them are everyday use products and commodities, such as toilet paper, salt and black pepper.  Let's consider black pepper.

There isn't much to ground black pepper.  Unless you are actively cooking as a hobby (or a profession), you just need some pepper to throw into your mac-and-cheese or season the mashed potatoes on your plate.  There is very little consumer involvement in this product category.  Typically a consumer will go to the store and reach for a brand.  If the consumer grabs the same brand repeatedly, this is almost always habitual buying, not brand loyalty.

In these scenarios the consumer's buyer behavior doesn't go through the normal belief-attitude-behavior sequence.  Instead, consumers passively learn about low involvement products and brands through passive consumption media - television, radio, and Hulu ads.  Because consumers are buying based on brand familiarity, marketers must use ad repetition to build brand familiarity instead of brand conviction.  In order to encourage sales, marketers will need to use tactics such as price and sales promotions to initiate product trial.

Marketers should create messaging that emphasizes only a few key points.  Marketers should also use more visual symbols and imagery within their advertising, because they can easily be remembered by the consumer and associated with the brand.  Ad campaigns should have high repetition rates and the  duration of messages should be short.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Marketing 101: Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior

In my last post I examined Complex Buying Behavior.  Next, let's quickly dig into Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior.

Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior
Just like Complex Buying Behavior, consumers with Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior have high amounts of involvement.  However, buyers in this behavioral situation are perceiving very few differences among the brands they are selecting products from.  The key word here is perceiving.  There may be many real differences between the different brands, however the buyer's beliefs about the other brands are that there are very similar or essentially the same.  Let's examine a common product such as paint.

Choosing paint for the interior of your house is an extremely expressive process.  The colors a person may choose are varied and will always vary from person to person depending on their highly personal tastes.  Paint can also be expensive, with some brands costing over $20 per gallon.  When a consumer finds a group of brands in a determined price range, their understanding of the difference between brands may be very low.  As a result, a consumer may do some research, but in the end, they may be swayed by price or convenience of purchase in the end.

Post-Purchase Dissonance
Post-Purchase Dissonance is another way to say "after the sale discomfort".  It's also the on-set of "buyer's remorse".  Post-Purchase Dissonance will begin once a consumer begins to "notice" any disadvantages of their purchase, and begin to hear "good" things about the other products they did not buy.  To counter these feelings, marketers should be running after-sale communication campaigns with focused targeted messaging.  These campaigns should give encouragement and help support consumers, convincing them to continue to "feel good" about their brand choice.  These marketing campaigns should also be encouraging additional purchases or referrals, offering discounts and incentives for additional purchasing.