MRKT 310 Principles of Marketing
Week 4 Writing Assignment
Part 1 – Consumer Behavior: How People Make Buying Decisions
Model of Consumer Behavior: Environmental factors. Student can use the model of consumer behavior to identify those environmental factors most likely to affect the consumer decision making for a specific product or service.
Model of Consumer Behavior: Consumer factors. Student can reference the model of consumer behavior to identify the consumer factors most likely to affect the decision making for a specific product or service.
Role of Involvement in purchase decisions. Student can identify the role of consumer involvement applicable to a specific product or service offering and how that level of involvement affects the type of decision making.
Consumer decision-making process. Student can identify how marketing strategy can influence each of the steps in the consumer decision-making process.
- Refer to the product or service you selected at the beginning of the semester. This week, you want to take a closer look at what consumer factors may be relevant for customers who are considering buying your product or service offering. This will require some critical thinking on your part based on your own behavior if you are a customer yourself, or you may want to talk to others who have purchased the product. Sometimes you can find clues when looking at the marketing messages that may be addressing some of these factors.
- Prepare your assignment beginning with a title page with your name and the name of your product or service. Then answer each of the following eight questions (four in part 1 and four in part 2) in order and number the beginning of your response to each question. Although you do not need to repeat the question, there should be a heading to separate the sections. The paper should contain approximately 5+ pages of analysis for the responses to the eight questions.
- Consumer Behavior Model: Environmental factors. Refer to the week’s readings and the model of consumer behavior and identify two of the most important environmental factors you think are relevant to the customers of your product or service offering. Explain your choices.
- Consumer Behavior Model: Consumer factors. Refer to this week’s readings and the model of consumer behavior and identify the three most important consumer factors you think are relevant to the customers of your product or service offering. Explain your choices.
- Role of involvement in consumer decision-making. Identify the level of involvement a customer of your product or service might use to make a purchase/no purchase decision. Then, discuss which type of buying behavior is most consistent with that level of involvement.
- Consumer decision-making process. Go through the six steps of the purchase process outlined in the readings and identify where marketing can influence each of the six steps. For example, if a consumer just identified a need for your product in step one, then the company can advertise how your product fills that need. Or, if a consumer purchased your product, the consumer can be called and asked about their satisfaction with the product and if there is any dissatisfaction steps can be taken to ensure the customer satisfaction. Be sure to be more specific with respect to your product or service than this example.
Part 2 – Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
- Segmentation. Students can use the segmentation characteristics to identify and describe market segments
- Target Market. Students can identify a usable market segment to be a target market
- Target-market strategy. Students can determine an appropriate target-market strategy.
- Positioning. Students can develop and interpret a perceptual map.
- So far, you have only been considering the customers of your product or service as one big group, or a mass market. More astute marketing breaks down this large group into smaller market segments of consumers who have similar characteristics. For any specific product or service, there could be numerous market segments. However, company resources may only allow a company to pursue one or two or these market segments, which then become target market(s). In this paper, you should divide the mass market for your product or service into at least two market segments and then pick one target market you think would have the most potential for future growth. This target market does not have to be the one the company would have actually picked, or is currently pursuing.
- Think outside your own box. Chances are good you picked a product with which you are familiar. That is a good starting point, and you may represent one target market. But you may represent a target market that is saturated and therefore not the best target market to pick for the remainder of the semester. So be sure your second target market is different enough and represents growth potential.
- If you did not do a thorough analysis of the competition in the prior writing assignment, you may need to go back and figure out the nature of the product’s or service’s competition. This will be important when you address the positioning of your product for your newly identified target market inasmuch as positioning is a competition-based concept.
- We understand you are not an employee of the company and do not have access to the data that you feel will allow you to discuss the questions to the degree you would like. Take your best educated and reasoned guesses whenever you need to do so.
- Your job will be to critically examine all of the segmentation bases and arrive at your own description of potential market segments for your product or service.
- Prepare your assignment by answering the following four areas of inquiry related to the learning outcomes noted above.
- Segmentation. Using the various criteria of the segmentation bases described in the week’s readings and in Table 4.1, identify at least two distinct market segments for your product or service. Each market segment description must include at least three (more if needed) of the characteristics from amongst any of the four bases categories, e.g. one from demographic variables, one or two from psychographic variables, and one from behavioral variables, or a similar scheme. Be sure to explain your choices based on what customer need the product or service offering can fill for each segment.
- Target market. Select one of the market segments you described in (1) above as the one you believe is or can be the most profitable for your product or service offering and explain why you feel they can represent growth for the company. Refer to the six criteria for an attractive market segment as described in course content under ‘Selecting Target Markets’. Name your target market so you can use this name throughout all of your remaining writing assignments. Your name should be descriptive of the segments’ characteristics like ‘savvy young shoppers’ or ‘educated baby boomers’, or ‘urban hipsters’, or the like. The goal is for your faculty member to get a mental image of your target market for the remainder of the semester.
- Target market strategy. Should the company focus all their resources on this new target market (concentrated marketing) or should they continue to pursue both the new and the existing target market as well as other market segments (multi-segment marketing)? Alternatively, is the market so saturated might they be more successful by focusing solely on an even more narrow market segment, perhaps an even narrower version (niche marketing) of your selected target market, as their best chance for growth? What is your reasoning?
- Positioning. Draw yourself a perceptual map as illustrated in the week’s readings or use the websites noted in the directions. Be sure to pick two criteria that are important to your new target market for your two axes, perhaps two of the criteria you used in Week 1 in your competitive analysis. Map at least the two major competitors you noted in the previous writing assignment and add any others that you may have discovered since then. Describe what the perceptual map is telling you regarding how each product is perceived in the minds of the new target market you described above. You may have to make a series of educated guesses for some of the data points. Ideally, you want to find uncontested space. If your product overlaps with a competing offering discuss whether or not your product or service should try for an ‘uncontested’ space on the map and ‘reposition’ itself; or if it should keep the same position and compete head on with the other product. (You will have a chance to make changes to the product, the pricing and the distribution to change the product’s positioning and find uncontested space in the coming weeks).
You will want to use marketing references for explaining the concepts and other references for the product or service.
General Submission Requirements
- Prepare as a word processed document (such as Microsoft Word). Use a simple 12-point font such as Times New Roman. Use black ink for majority of your work and only use colors if it enhances your ability to communicate your thoughts.
- Your assignment should be the equivalent of approximately five+ pages of double-spaced text, approximately 1/2 page for each of the eight questions (four in Part 1 and four in Part 2). You may attach exhibits that will not be counted towards the page count of double-spaced text. The cover page and References page are not part of the written analysis.
- Be sure your name, writing assignment number, and the name of your product or service are on the cover page of your writing assignment.
- Include a References page.
- You should use APA style formatting for your paper which includes certain location for page numbers, margins, and so on. More information about using a style guide can be found in the UMUC’s virtual library accessible from your LEO classroom or at umuc.edu/library or in the Content area of your classroom, “Learn to use APA.
- Upload your word processed document in your LEO assignments folder by the due date in the LEO calendar.
Refer to the grading rubric associated with the assignments. Be sure to note that 20% of your grade on this assignment will be based on your grammar, composition, adherence to the submission requirements, and use of an appropriate college-level style guide for writing and referencing.
Any questions? Please post in the general discussion forum for Week 4. Or, feel free to contact your professor.