Over the past several decades there has been an emerging segment within the electronic gadgets and technological related markets, such as mobile phones, laptops and cameras. Such products are being related or targeted to youngsters through the use of innovative designs and advertisements.
This report will look in to detail of a consumer’s decision making process to buy a digital camera by analysing the anticipatory, contemporaneous and retrospective accounts of behaviour/s.
The aim is to identify and analyse the criterion influenced in the buying episode and highlight the marketing implications of this to suggest relevant marketing strategy/s to be used across the market segment.
The protocol analysis method is applied to a female student, aged 20 living in West London, who has recently purchased a Panasonic Lumix FX8 digital camera. This will help derive distinguished recommendations, which can be extrapolated across the market segment.
GOALS IN BUYING
There are several goals mentioned by the consumer, which reflect upon her broader life goals and immediate goal for satisfaction, both which are split between her conscious and unconscious.
The near future goal is to succeed in her education and have a successful career, largely influenced by her family and cultural background and their social surroundings.
This goal effects her collection of life goals, which is to be rich, have a dominating position in her future career and have the best of things available. This is in order to fulfill the hopes of her family as well as fuel her passion to succeed and gain a respectful position in society.
Her goal in buying is to impress others of what she has to become part of the society where her broader life goals lie by acting and purchasing products/brands similar to them.
REASONS (WANTS AND BELIEFS)
The want of a digital camera eventually grew within the consumer, especially as she saw the trend shift towards digital cameras and saw people who she aspired to be like using them.
She was unconsciously aware that she wished for one but the want was more notional which stemmed from her life vision.
The possessions of her aspiring group became her desire to purchase a digital camera too eventually become part of them, like a trendsetter.
The want was not regarded as a necessity but seen as a source of self satisfaction for herself as she is trying her best to achieve her life goal, her obsession. Therefore the camera must qualify to be a well-known brand so it is recognizable to as many people as possible as well as have the best features, which will reflect the true quality of the camera.
Through the purchase decision the latent want begins to change the beliefs the consumer holds about the need for the product. Eventually it becomes a necessity and more important to have a digital camera.
Her initial belief is that if her aspired group has a product which will help her boost her self image and become part of that group then she should also purchase that product.
Her belief then turn personal and more emotionally attached as she relates the need to the accomplishment of her life goal.
Further analysis shows that the consumer’s belief of the need of the camera will help her not only to become a member of her aspired group but also help her to portray a confident self image. Thus her need for a well know brand is more important than any product.
She believes that a well advertised and well known brand will get her noticed and attract positive attention to boost her image.
A relatively high price will reflect the quality of the product and her ability to buy what she desires, which will help her to keep a lead from other students and people within her group. This will help her to remain a trend setter and one of the first to have the ‘smartest’ gadgets.
She also believes that she will attract positive attention from her peers and family and they will aspire to her and come to her for product information, which will help her to build a dominant position in life.
The analysis shows that her believes of being materialistic and having ownership over innovative and expensive items will help her to remove the image of a low earning student with low disposable income but be seen with status. Therefore any products or brands with a low retail price are considered to be unworthy and of low quality. However sale items on expensive brands are only considered a valuable bargain and are justifiable in her opinion.
The main criteria is the popularity of the brand as well as the retailer she buys from. The shop should provide excellent customer service and a friendly and clean environment. She considers the better the retailer and service the more superior the brand and accurate advice given to her, linking the retailer with the manufacturer. She relies on advice for reassurance that she is getting the best brand available within her capacity, but effectively her choice governs the purchase.
Point to be noted is that despite the brand being popular in the eyes of the customer the value of the product falls if a particular model is owned by people similar to her in age and status. She believes that the less people who own a product the more prestigious it is.
Similarly the more the complicated and additional features there are the more valuable and reliable the camera.
The protocol shows that her decision to buy is hugely influenced by the early adopters of her aspiring group. Her desire for a product triggers her to buy a product is she feels that she is missing the fashion. It is almost a ritual for her to have ownership of products which she considers will give her the status she hopes to gain in life and considers such products to be pioneering and of great magnitude.
CHOICE CRITERIA IN BUYING
The consumer had a range of choices from different brands, features and prices. This is where her choice criteria became important in helping her decide which Digital camera will be most suited to her needs.
The core-use function relates to what the product has been designed for. The primary use function for her Digital camera was the ability to take pictures and see them instantly without having to pay to develop the photos in order to see them. The core technical function helps to achieve the performances that are sought and these performances can be critical factors in evaluating the product in terms of choice criteria.
She did not have first hand knowledge about the technical criteria she was looking for but because her aspired group all had digital cameras and had bought them to social events she had seen how they worked. She also had heard her aspired group talking about the features they had in their digital cameras.
Having seen people with a range of digital cameras she was unsure which technical features would be suited to her needs so she turned to her peers and family for advice because she wanted to attract positive attention to herself and build her dominant position within her family and friends.
The technical features that her friends and family advised her to look for were
* USB for moving her pictures on to her computer so they could be stored and viewed at her convenience. Once her photos were on the computer she would easily be able to attach them onto emails.
* Software that would be compatible with her computer so that she could download, edit and store pictures and so that she could organize her photos for each social event.
* Video features with voice recording so she could capture her experiences and share them with her friends and family.
* Optical zoom in and take photos from a distance without affecting the quality of the photo.
* Pictbridge facility to print photos if she decided to buy a printer in the future.
* The size of the LCD Screen was important because this would be the primary base of viewing her photos and showing others.
Gadgets such as a digital cameras have many technical functions and the most latest technology aims to put more features into one product. Her need to have a camera with the most technical functions is in accordance to materialistic personality and having ownership of innovative and expensive items would help her to remove the image of a low earning student with low disposable income.
She found that every Digital camera she looked at included many technical functions so she decided to narrow down her choices by considering the right product in terms of its ancillary features.