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Leaning about CB: Is Your Coke Ok

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    Marketing is a category of actions that include all of the efforts a company or individual makes to convince consumers and potential consumers of the value a product or service holds for them so that the consumer will purchase the product or service. It is all about product promotion. Marketing has a heavy research component to it, because marketers have to understand who their target market is and what their values, beliefs, and attitudes are. It is these components that marketers must address and convince in their marketing efforts.

    Consumer behavior is related to marketing in that it constitutes the study of the values, beliefs, and attitudes of an individual or groups that a company seeks to convince of a product’s value. This takes into account demographics and backgrounds to determine what a consumer is most likely to do in a purchase situation.

    Often, the study of consumer behavior views the consumers’ decision making processes within the framework of psychological, sociological, and economic disciplines. Each of these plays a role in the consumers’ choices, so they are considered in the consumer behavior research process. Consumer behavior can be applied to my life experiences because my daily actions with regard to my purchases exemplify consumer behavior and the need for marketing. Every day I make decisions about what I want to purchase based on my attitudes and beliefs about a brand, my financial position, and the value a purchase will or will not bring to me. Thus, my daily actions can be considered consumer behavior.

    Human behavior and consumer behavior are both categories describing individuals’ and groups’ actions and how larger forces like beliefs and values affect them. However, where human behavior examines humans’ decision making process and how it is influenced by values, morals, and attitudes derived from how a person is raised and by socialization into culture, consumer behavior focuses more on how a person’s purchasing actions as a consumer are driven primarily by their needs.

    The two overlap somewhat in that one of the needs humans have is psychological, and this maps over to beliefs and values. Marketers study consumer behavior because in order to make their products appealing to consumers, marketers must understand the motivations consumers consider when making purchasing decisions. This understanding can be implemented in the way is product is made in the first place, as well as how it is presented through advertisements and placement in stores.

    Successful marketing requires an understanding of human behavior. Randy’s decision to specifically purchase a Coca-Cola because it is his favorite soft drink is an example of consumer behavior. Randy already has an affinity for the brand and a good relationship with it, so he continues to purchase it loyally. This is consumer behavior because his decision was motivated by his thirst but grounded in his beliefs, values, and attitudes about the brand.

    There are multiple factors that contributed to the failure of OK Coke and New Coke. To begin with, the marketers mistook the fact that “ok” was the second most recognizable word globally with the idea that it causes a positive perception. Instead, “ok” often means mediocre and unexciting, two perceptions the company does not want associated with the brand. Another mistake was the assumption that a dwindling market share requires a change in the product’s formula instead of just a revision of how it is branded and marketed to consumers.

    The brand was what needed to be revamped, not the formula. Marketers should have focused on conveying how the brand meets the needs and fits the values and perceptions of the market it was trying to attract and that which it was trying to retain.

    Day one – On this day, I had early classes and had to purchase breakfast instead of cooking myself. When I got to the store, I had the choice of grabbing fresh fruit, Naked Juice, and a frozen breakfast Hot Pocket. I like to eat healthy and organic when possible, so I purchased the Naked Juice instead of the other two options.

    I chose the Naked Juice over the fresh fruit because it was just more appealing and convenient. A consumer behavior researcher would see this decision as being tied to the value for convenience and health. Naked Juice will need to continue marketing the product as a convenient combination of tasty juice and fresh fruit servings. Day two- On this day, I went to the mall to purchase some shoes for an upcoming vacation I am taking over spring break. I noticed that I do not have a good pair of casual, comfortable shoes to walk around in, so I went to find some.

    I went to Off Broadway shoes and narrowed my choices down to a pair of Sperry’s boat shoes and Toms. Both were reasonably priced and met my basic needs for comfort and durability. I decided to purchase the Toms because they are less associated with self-centered fashion and instead do some good for the global community.

    A consumer behavior researcher would see my decision as being tied to the value for social consciousness and responsibility. Toms should continue to market the brand as being about helping neighbors to encourage this perception. Day three – On day three, I noticed that I had run out of bathroom tissue paper, so I went to Wal-Mart to purchase some more. When I got to the aisle, there were more than ten choices for me to consider.

    For me, toilet paper is toilet paper, and I don’t have a particular affinity for any brand, so I purchased the cheapest option available that did not seem to lack basic quality. This ended up being a four-roll pack of Scott brand tissue paper. A consumer behavior researcher would see my decision as being based on a lack of brand affinity and more concerned with economics. Thus, Scott brand filled both needs for affordability and quality.

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