This assessment is a culmination piece, in which you will be given an opportunity to combine the information you have accumulated in Assessments 1 and 2. More importantly, you will need to showcase an understanding of marketing issues related to consumer behaviour such as attitudes, group influences. culture. social class. consumer learning processes, and personal buying decision-making processes.
In this report, you must demonstrate an understanding and application of various consumer behaviour concepts and theories by analysing the facts gathered from the video and the survey, and present strategic recommendations. You will be required to incorporate recent peer-reviewed literature in order to justify your proposed recommendations.
Scenario: Imagine that you have just been employed by the company of your chosen FMCS product that you analysed in your earlier assessments. You have recently learnt that the company's customer loyalty has declined over the last year and that repeat purchases are at a historic low.
You have now been asked to prepare a report in which you must critically analyse company's current marketing strategy and marketing communication mix and its alignment to your findings in assessment 1 and 2. More specifically, you will need to determine if identified consumer behavioural factors in previous assessments align with company's current marketing focus. Based on your analysis, you are also required to provide at least three strategic recommendations to the board of directors, along with reasons for recommending further improvements, all of which must be based on scholarly sources.
Overview of the chosen FMCG
The behaviours of the consumers is the level of their involvement with the very service or products (Dessart, Veloutsou and Morgan-Thomas 2015). It is very important for each and every businesses to understand the consumer behaviour prior to launching of a new product or service in the business environment. If it fails to do so, it is bound to face business losses. Understanding consumer behaviour is a very complicated concept because every customer is different from the other. People differ in terms of attitudes, tastes, mind-set, and their purchase making decisions. However, this report is going to elaborate on analysing the consumer purchase decision making towards the selected FMCG product- the Ketchup. It is going to combine the information that were been gathered while doing assessment 1 and assignment 2. This paper would showcase a deep understanding of the different marketing related issues surrounding the customer behaviours such as the influence of their culture, their social groups, attitudes and the learning process as well as the personal buying decision making. Furthermore, it shall be demonstrating an in-depth understanding and application of the different consumer behaviour theories and concepts by analysing the facts that are gathered from the assessment 2 (the video) and assessment 1 (the survey). Lastly, it shall be providing some strategic recommendations for the same. Furthermore, it is also to note that this paper shall gather information from different peer-reviewed literatures for justifying the proposed recommendations.
The selected FMCG Product category for the video and further analysis in assessment 1 is Processed Food. The chosen product in the category is Ketchup. It is to note that ketchup refers to a sauce that is used as a condiment (Garcia-Casal, Pena-Rosas and Malave 2016). Earlier, the recipes that were used to make it were egg whites, oysters, walnuts, mushrooms or mussels. However, in present days, it is modified by using several means. The several other terms that are used in place of sauce are catchup, red sauce, ketsup etc. It is a very tangy and sweet sauce which is at present typically made from sugar, tomatoes, assorted seasonings, vinegars and many types of spices. The particular flavors and spices although vary, but most commonly, they include coriander, garlic, allspice, onions, mustard and sometimes, ginger, cinnamon and celery as well (Grivetti 2016). Fresh tomatoes are collected from the part and are received at tomato processing plants that could be turned out into a large range of different products and one of them include making of the ketchup. It is to note that the process of processing ketchup starts by washing the tomatoes in order to remove the external dirt or any kind of foreign matters from the body of the tomatoes before starting processing them. They are then washed and chopped and then are processed into large steel vats in order to preserve them as well as also for destroying the remaining harmful bacteria present in them which could influence the rest of the processing period and consumption of the consumers. The processing of ketchup include that of adding the additional ingredients, cooking, filtering and screening and after that air-removing, packaging and then cooling. However, notwithstanding this fact, it is also to note that ketchup are the favorites of today’s kids. People consume them with French fries, toasts, burgers and sometimes, they are also used in cooking in order to enhance the taste of the food that are being prepared. Children love consuming ketchups with their meals in their tiffin boxes.
According to Ramkumar (2018), the purchase of the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) is based on the influence of marketing strategies that are used by the markets for selling their products. With the same, the brand image of the products influence the purchase of the FMCG. According to Haryanto, Moutinho and Coelho (2016), the products with good brand image are often preferred more by the consumers. The retailers keeps on making strategies so that each and every customers of theirs knows about the brand and then form a positive image of it in their mind. Erkan and Evans (2016) have stated that consumer behaviour is the psychological and the social influences of the customer buying process. The relation in between the buyers and the sellers is formed and developed through market exchange. At the time of the exchanging process (the exchange of products and money), each of these parties (buyer and seller) assess the relative trade-offs that are to be made for satisfying the needs and desires of the customers. For the part of the sellers, it is to note that the trade-offs are been guided by the policies and the objectives of the very organisation. While, for the part of the customers, they too have many policies and objective that determines their decision of exchanging. One of the model of customer behaviour is the Stimulus-Response Model. It is also often referred to as “black box” model (Chu and Liang 2018). Rodiger and Hamm (2015) has stated that this model lay emphasis on the customers or the consumers as the thinkers and the problem solvers, who respond to a wide variety of external and internal factors during making decision about whether to make the purchase or not.
The above figure demonstrates the external stimuli which customers respond to comprise of the marketing mix and the other environmental factors present in the market. The marketing mix represents a string set of various stimuli that are planned and are developed by the company. All of these factors represent the outside circumstances that assists in shaping the customer’s choices. With the same, it is also to mention that the internal factors which influence the customer decisions are described by the term “black box” (Antons and Piller 2015). It includes varieties of factors that prevails inside the mind of the individuals. Also, it includes the characteristics of the consumers as well such as their level and source of motivation, their beliefs, their values, lifestyles etc. The decision making process is a part of “black box”. The result of the thinking that occurs inside the black box are the responses of the buyers. It is because the consumers come for recognising that they have a problem which they require to solve and after then, they regard how the decision of purchasing solve their problems. When the customers respond to the external stimuli, their choices are then gets dependent on the internal elements so as to determine the response of the customers. As stated by Oke et al. (2016), the Stimuli-response model assumes that despite of what occurs inside “black box”, the response of the customers is the outcome of his or her conscious and rational process of decisions making. Hence, it is to state that the black box is the key element of the customer buying behaviour.
Furthermore, as per Bahl and Chandra (2018), the main factors which influence the behaviours of the customers towards making purchase of FMCG product and divided into three different categories and they are:
- the situational influences- This include physical surroundings, time, mood of the individuals, condition, the social surroundings as well as the reason that they consider for buying the products.
- the social influences- This comprise of the different social influencers such as the family, their roles, opinion of the leaders that they follow, the reference groups, social classes from which they belong, culture and the subculture groups.
- the psychological influences- This include the motto of the customers for buying the products, their perception of customers about the product, their attitudes towards buying, their preferences, the self-concept, lifestyles, the learning process and the personality of the customers.
Moreover, the customer buying behaviours differ in terms of place and person. The process of buying decision become more and more complicated with more number of participants and level of deliberation. There are many factors which influence the buying decision of the customers and these factors are classified as follows:
- Variety Seeking Buying Behaviour- In this category, the level of customer involvement is very low and there is a very significant difference in different brands. Here, the consumers prefer to switch the brand more often. For example, in case of buying chips. The customers never by a single brand or a single flavour every time. The main reason behind selecting a particular chips is just consumption. The next times, for changing their taste, the customers switch to other brands.
- Dissonance Reducing Buying Behaviour- Here, the level of customer involvement is very high due to comparatively lesser purchase making and higher processes (Davvetas and Diamantopoulos 2017). There is a notable differences among the brands. Also the customer buys the products which are easily available to them.
- Habitual Buying Behaviour- The customer involvement here is low and also there is absence of brand names in this cases. Match boxes is one of the best example of these kinds. Customer just buy them without seeing the brand names. With the same, there is negligible existence of brand loyalty in this cases and the customers who buy these products does not seek information and details about them.
- Complex Buying Behaviour- The degree of customer involvement in this case is very high and it is observed that there is a considerable differences among the brands in this case. It is the most notable when the price of the products are high, of low quality after the sale and are risky. One of the best example of such behavioural use is that of a mobile or a laptop.
As stated by Vohs et al. (2018), the five step of consumer decision making process include problem recognition, information search, evaluation of the alternatives, purchase making and post-purchase behaviours. In the very first step of problem recognition, the customers identify their needs and requirement of theirs and find out what to do or to buy in order to solve the problem. In the next stage, the customers gather all the related information and data about the choice of products that they made in order to solve their problem. Also, it is the stage where they assess whether or not, the product could effectively meet their needs and requirements. With the same, they also assess all the associated risks with the purchase making of the product. The next stage is that of evaluating the other alternatives present in the market. They seek to get the best quality with a best deal. Karimi, Papamichail and Holland (2015) have stated that once the customers are determined what to buy and from where to buy, they make the purchase, which is the next stage. The last stage is that of post-purchase behaviour where the person evaluates whether or not the product has met the needs and requirements of his. After then, he himself becomes the brand ambassador of the product and promote it in the market and brings in more and more customers for the same.
- The company should try to build and maintain their relationship with the customers by providing them discounts and offers. They should never compromise with the quality of the products.
- Before embarking on building a brand name, the company must take enough time for differentiating it so that they could attract the attention of the customers and at the same time could stand out from their competitors. In order to differentiate the brand, the company should create a unique advantage in the mind of its customers. After then, the company should make use of a good branding strategy for positioning the brand in a manner that it would help all the customers in seeing and appreciating the greater value of the brand over the competitors.
- The company must set the prices of the Ketchup in relative manner and must also ensure that it is meeting and matching the expectations of the consumers. The price should be too high or too low, depending on the quality of the product.
- It should also make sure that the promotion strategy of the company is aligned with the brand strategy as well as the customer use.
- Trust influences the decision making process of the consumers as well as the creation of the long lasting relationships is very important. Hence, the company must give the customers enough reason behind trusting them by providing them quality products with reasonable prices and must also include eco-friendly products to make them.
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