Dear sir,

Could you please give me answer for the question
1.when you decide to buy q car you have to cross the hectic stage of making right decisions thereby you start getting idea right from your kith and kin and searching various websites. Elucidate in detail above content.



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Elucidate in detail stages of making right decisions TO buy  a new  car
Information Search and Decision Making

Problem Recognition.  One model of consumer decision making involves several steps. The first one is problem recognition—you realize that something is not as it should be.  Perhaps, for example, your car is getting more difficult to start and is not accelerating well.    The second step is information search—what are some alternative ways of solving the problem?  You might buy a new car, buy a used car, take your car in for repair, ride the bus, ride a taxi, or ride a skateboard to work.  The third step involves evaluation of alternatives.  A skateboard is inexpensive, but may be ill-suited for long distances and for rainy days.   Finally, we have the purchase stage, and sometimes a post-purchase stage (e.g., you return a product to the store because you did not find it satisfactory).  In reality, people may go back and forth between the stages.  For example, a person may resume alternative identification during while evaluating already known alternatives.

Consumer involvement will tend to vary dramatically depending on the type of product.  In general, consumer involvement will be higher for products that are very expensive (e.g., a home, a car) or are highly significant in the consumer’s life in some other way (e.g., a word processing program or acne medication).

It is important to consider the consumer’s motivation for buying products.  To achieve this goal, we can use the Means-End chain, wherein we consider a logical progression of consequences of product use that eventually lead to desired end benefit.  Thus, for example, a consumer may see that a car has a large engine, leading to fast acceleration, leading to a feeling of performance, leading to a feeling of power, which ultimately improves the consumer’s self-esteem.  A handgun may aim bullets with precision, which enables the user to kill an intruder, which means that the intruder will not be able to harm the consumer’s family, which achieves the desired end-state of security.  In advertising, it is important to portray the desired end-states.  Focusing on the large motor will do less good than portraying a successful person driving the car.

Information search and decision making.  Consumers engage in both internal and external information search.

Internal search involves the consumer identifying alternatives from his or her memory.  For certain low involvement products, it is very important that marketing programs achieve “top of mind” awareness.  For example, few people will search the Yellow Pages for fast food restaurants; thus, the consumer must be able to retrieve one’s restaurant from memory before it will be considered.  For high involvement products, consumers are more likely to use an external search.  Before buying a car, for example, the consumer may ask friends’ opinions, read reviews in Consumer Reports, consult several web sites, and visit several dealerships.  Thus, firms that make products that are selected predominantly through external search must invest in having information available to the consumer in need—e.g., through brochures, web sites, or news coverage.

A compensatory decision involves the consumer “trading off” good and bad attributes of a product.  For example, a car may have a low price and good gas mileage but slow acceleration.  If the price is sufficiently inexpensive and gas efficient, the consumer may then select it over a car with better acceleration that costs more and uses more gas.  Occasionally, a decision will involve a non-compensatory strategy.  For example, a parent may reject all soft drinks that contain artificial sweeteners.   Here, other good features such as taste and low calories cannot overcome this one “non-negotiable” attribute.

The amount of effort a consumer puts into searching depends on a number of factors such as the market (how many competitors are there, and how great are differences between brands expected to be?), product characteristics (how important is this product?  How complex is the product?  How obvious are indications of quality?), consumer characteristics (how interested is a consumer, generally, in analyzing product characteristics and making the best possible deal?), and situational characteristics (as previously discussed).

Two interesting issues in decisions are:

Variety seeking (where consumers seek to try new brands not because these brands are expected to be “better” in any way, but rather because the consumer wants a “change of pace,” and
“Impulse” purchases—unplanned buys. This represents a somewhat “fuzzy” group.  For example, a shopper may plan to buy vegetables but only decide in the store to actually buy broccoli and corn.  Alternatively, a person may buy an item which is currently on sale, or one that he or she remembers that is needed only once inside the store.
A number of factors involve consumer choices.  In some cases, consumers will be more motivated.  For example, one may be more careful choosing a gift for an in-law than when buying the same thing for one self.  Some consumers are also more motivated to comparison shop for the best prices, while others are more convenience oriented.  Personality impacts decisions.  Some like variety more than others, and some are more receptive to stimulation and excitement in trying new stores.  Perception influences decisions.  Some people, for example, can taste the difference between generic and name brand foods while many cannot.  Selective perception occurs when a person is paying attention only to information of interest.  For example, when looking for a new car, the consumer may pay more attention to car ads than when this is not in the horizon.  Some consumers are put off by perceived risk.  Thus, many marketers offer a money back guarantee.  Consumers will tend to change their behavior through learning—e.g., they will avoid restaurants they have found to be crowded and will settle on brands that best meet their tastes.  Consumers differ in the values they hold (e.g., some people are more committed to recycling than others who will not want to go through the hassle).  We will consider the issue of lifestyle under segmentation.
Families and Family Decision Making
The Family Life Cycle. Individuals and families tend to go through a "life cycle:" The simple life cycle goes from
For purposes of this discussion, a "couple" may either be married or merely involve living together. The breakup of a non-marital relationship involving cohabitation is similarly considered equivalent to a divorce.
In real life, this situation is, of course, a bit more complicated. For example, many couples undergo divorce. Then we have one of the scenarios:

Single parenthood can result either from divorce or from the death of one parent. Divorce usually entails a significant change in the relative wealth of spouses. In some cases, the non-custodial parent (usually the father) will not pay the required child support, and even if he or she does, that still may not leave the custodial parent and children as well off as they were during the marriage. On the other hand, in some cases, some non-custodial parents will be called on to pay a large part of their income in child support. This is particularly a problem when the non-custodial parent remarries and has additional children in the second (or subsequent marriages). In any event, divorce often results in a large demand for:
•   Low cost furniture and household items
•   Time-saving goods and services
Divorced parents frequently remarry, or become involved in other non-marital relationships; thus, we may see
Another variation involves
Here, the single parent who assumes responsibility for one or more children may not form a relationship with the other parent of the child.
Integrating all the possibilities discussed, we get the following depiction of the Family Life Cycle:

Generally, there are two main themes in the Family Life Cycle, subject to significant exceptions:
•   As a person gets older, he or she tends to advance in his or her career and tends to get greater income (exceptions: maternity leave, divorce, retirement).
•   Unfortunately, obligations also tend to increase with time (at least until one’s mortgage has been paid off). Children and paying for one’s house are two of the greatest expenses.
Note that although a single person may have a lower income than a married couple, the single may be able to buy more discretionary items.
Family Decision Making. Individual members of families often serve different roles in decisions that ultimately draw on shared family resources. Some individuals are information gatherers/holders, who seek out information about products of relevance. These individuals often have a great deal of power because they may selectively pass on information that favors their chosen alternatives. Influencers do not ultimately have the power decide between alternatives, but they may make their wishes known by asking for specific products or causing embarrassing situations if their demands are not met. Thedecision maker(s) have the power to determine issues such as:
•   Whether to buy;
•   Which product to buy (pick-up or passenger car?);
•   Which brand to buy;
•   Where to buy it; and
•   When to buy.
Note, however, that the role of the decision maker is separate from that of the purchaser. From the point of view of the marketer, this introduces some problems since the purchaser can be targeted by point-of-purchase (POP) marketing efforts that cannot be aimed at the decision maker. Also note that the distinction between the purchaser and decision maker may be somewhat blurred:
•   The decision maker may specify what kind of product to buy, but not which brand;
•   The purchaser may have to make a substitution if the desired brand is not in stock;
•   The purchaser may disregard instructions (by error or deliberately).
It should be noted that family decisions are often subject to a great deal of conflict. The reality is that few families are wealthy enough to avoid a strong tension between demands on the family’s resources. Conflicting pressures are especially likely in families with children and/or when only one spouse works outside the home. Note that many decisions inherently come down to values, and that there is frequently no "objective" way to arbitrate differences. One spouse may believe that it is important to save for the children’s future; the other may value spending now (on private schools and computer equipment) to help prepare the children for the future. Who is right? There is no clear answer here. The situation becomes even more complex when more parties—such as children or other relatives—are involved.
Some family members may resort to various strategies to get their way. One is bargaining—one member will give up something in return for someone else. For example, the wife says that her husband can take an expensive course in gourmet cooking if she can buy a new pickup truck. Alternatively, a child may promise to walk it every day if he or she can have a hippopotamus. Another strategy is reasoning—trying to get the other person(s) to accept one’s view through logical argumentation. Note that even when this is done with a sincere intent, its potential is limited by legitimate differences in values illustrated above. Also note that individuals may simply try to "wear down" the other party by endless talking in the guise of reasoning (this is a case of negative reinforcement as we will see subsequently). Various manipulative strategies may also be used. One is impression management, where one tries to make one’s side look good (e.g., argue that a new TV will help the children see educational TV when it is really mostly wanted to see sports programming, or argue that all "decent families make a contribution to the church"). Authority involves asserting one’s "right" to make a decision (as the "man of the house," the mother of the children, or the one who makes the most money). Emotion involves making an emotional display to get one’s way (e.g., a man cries if his wife will not let him buy a new rap album).
Group Influences
Humans are inherently social animals, and individuals greatly influence each other.
A useful framework of analysis of group influence on the individual is the so called reference group—the term comes about because an individual uses a relevant group as a standard of reference against which oneself is compared. Reference groups come in several different forms.
•   The aspirational reference group refers to those others against whom one would like to compare oneself. For example, many firms use athletes as spokespeople, and these represent what many people would ideally like to be.
•   Associative reference groups include people who more realistically represent the individuals’ current equals or near-equals—e.g., coworkers, neighbors, or members of churches, clubs, and organizations.
•    among many teenagers, the process of clothes buying is a two stage process. In the first stage, the teenagers go on a "reconnaissance" mission with their friends to find out what is availablend what is "cool." This is often a lengthy process. In the later phase, parents—who will need to pay for the purchases—are brought. This stage is typically much briefer.
•   Finally, the dissociative reference group includes people that the individual would not like to be like. For example, the store literally named The Gap came about because many younger people wanted to actively dissociate from parents and other older and "uncool" people.
•   Reference groups come with various degrees of influence. Primary reference groups come with a great deal of influence—e.g., members of a fraternity/sorority. Secondary reference groups tend to have somewhat less influence—e.g., members of a boating club that one encounters only during week-ends are likely to have their influence limited to consumption during that time period.
Another typology divides reference groups into the informational kind (influence is based almost entirely on members’ knowledge), normative(members influence what is perceived to be "right," "proper," "responsible," or "cool"), or identification. The difference between the latter two categories involves the individual’s motivation for compliance. In case of the normative reference group, the individual tends to comply largely for utilitarian reasons—dressing according to company standards is likely to help your career, but there is no real motivation to dress that way outside the job. In contrast, people comply with identification groups’ standards for the sake of belonging—for example, a member of a religious group may wear a symbol even outside the house of worship because the religion is a part of the person’s identity.
Background.  Our perception is an approximation of reality.  Our brain attempts to make sense out of the stimuli to which we are exposed.  This works well, for example, when we “see” a friend three hundred feet away at his or her correct height; however, our perception is sometimes “off”—for example, certain shapes of ice cream containers look like they contain more than rectangular ones with the same volume.
Factors in perception.  Several sequential factors influence our perception. Exposure involves the extent to which we encounter a stimulus.  For example, we are exposed to numerous commercial messages while driving on the freeway:  bill boards, radio advertisements, bumper-stickers on cars, and signs and banners placed at shopping malls that we pass.  Most of this exposure is random—we don’t plan to seek it out.  However, if we are shopping for a car, we may deliberately seek out advertisements and “tune in” when dealer advertisements come on the radio.
Exposure is not enough to significantly impact the individual—at least not based on a single trial (certain advertisements, or commercial exposures such as the “Swoosh” logo, are based on extensive repetition rather than much conscious attention).  In order for stimuli to be consciously processed, attention is needed.  Attention is actually a matter of degree—our attention may be quite high when we read directions for getting an income tax refund, but low when commercials come on during a television program.  Note, however, that even when attention is low, it may be instantly escalated—for example, if an advertisement for a product in which we are interested comes on.
Interpretation involves making sense out of the stimulus.  For example, when we see a red can, we may categorize it as a CokeÒ.
Weber’s Law suggests that consumers’ ability to detect changes in stimulus intensity appear to be strongly related to the intensity of that stimulus to begin with.  That is, if you hold an object weighing one pound in your hand, you are likely to notice it when that weight is doubled to two pounds.  However, if you are holding twenty pounds, you are unlikely to detect the addition of one pound—a change that you easily detected when the initial weight was one pound.  You may be able to eliminate one ounce from a ten ounce container, but you cannot as easily get away with reducing a three ounce container to two (instead, you must accomplish that gradually—e.g., 3.0  --> 2.7 --> 2.5 --> 2.3 --> 2.15 –> 2.00).
Several factors influence the extent to which stimuli will be noticed.  One obvious issue is relevance.  Consumers, when they have a choice, are also more likely to attend to pleasant stimuli (but when the consumer can’t escape, very unpleasant stimuli are also likely to get attention—thus, many very irritating advertisements are remarkably effective).  One of the most important factors, however, is repetition.  Consumers often do not give much attention to a stimuli—particularly a low priority one such as an advertisement—at any one time, but if it is seen over and over again, the cumulative impact will be greater.
Surprising stimuli are likely to get more attention—survival instinct requires us to give more attention to something unknown that may require action.  A greater contrast (difference between the stimulus and its surroundings) as well as greater prominence (e.g., greater size, center placement) also tend to increase likelihood of processing.
Subliminal stimuli.  Back in the 1960s, it was reported that on selected evenings, movie goers in a theater had been exposed to isolated frames with the words “Drink Coca Cola” and “Eat Popcorn” imbedded into the movie.  These frames went by so fast that people did not consciously notice them, but it was reported that on nights with frames present, Coke and popcorn sales were significantly higher than on days they were left off.  This led Congress to ban the use of subliminal advertising.  First of all, there is a question as to whether this experiment ever took place or whether this information was simply made up.  Secondly, no one has been able to replicate these findings.  There is research to show that people will start to giggle with embarrassment when they are briefly exposed to “dirty” words in an experimental machine.  Here, again, the exposure is so brief that the subjects are not aware of the actual words they saw, but it is evident that something has been recognized by the embarrassment displayed.


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Leo Lingham


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