Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Entry #4 Approaches to Marketing Research Methods

By: Matthew Larson
                Marketing research is the basis to all marketing concepts.  It is a tool that helps business flow and allows companies to understand consumers.  Through constant study it is the idea that trends can be made and through extensive research new methods of marketing can be developed.  With understanding comes a battle of numbers and figuring out whether something is qualitative or quantitative.   While consumers maintain a consistent buying habit, research continues to grow and expand.  It is hard to determine if information being gathered is tangible or not.  Validation plays a key role in gaining trust from the consumer. 
Marketing research also plays a critical role in the financial end of businesses and their relationship to the consumer.  By spending money on research companies can make money back by effectively.  Financial gains can also be made with the information gather.  Knowing where consumers are going to be putting their money can greatly affect the marketing concept a business will come out with.  So by knowing where people have been, the marketing messages can be driven to tell a consumer where to go.  This completes the cycle of consumers putting their money in and getting it back through information gain in purchases made by customers.  Such companies that handle all this research and manage all this information make up a 5.5 billion dollar revenue sharing.  That means that research and understanding consumer behavior is a major part of marketing functions.
                Advertising research defines objectives of products and gives clarity and understanding of target markets, product placement and advertising media.  Target markets are a wide variety of consumers that buy a certain product, or even maybe an entire brand.  Business objectives are more directed towards how to gain competitive advantages over another brand or business in the particular industry.  Research also gains insight to what other brands or products are doing to maintain their image or even become better.  The objectives are all similar from business to business.  All businesses need to stay competitive with one another to maintain a healthy consumer environment. 
                Evaluation of research is done by numbers and how much consumers will buy on any given day or week.  Paying attention to trends, being aware of what competitors in an industry are doing, and finding comparative data between market leaders are all very time consuming processes.  Therefore, companies hire specific businesses to handle the large volume of information.  A company such as Hoover’s (http://www.hoovers.com) handles 40,000 companies marketing plans and research.  That’s just one major marketing research firm.  There are many more that handle specific companies and brands.  With all that data being handled by just one firm.  There is a better understanding for where economic trends are going and if a business is successful with a campaign.
                Marketing research is the function that links the consumer to the business and the business to the research information based on consumer history.  The cycle is ongoing, constant information is being utilized to persuade and pursue new clients(http://www.marketingresearch.org/).  Consumers continually change their buying habits.  This is caused by the rapidly changing technology and new innovative delivery mechanisms. 
               Time is the real factor for marketing research, time changes everything.  As consumers shift in age, buying habits, and taste change.  Marketing research will continue to be as adverse as marketing itself, and while it is certain that the information obtained overtime might help predict future trends, the ever changing consumer world will be driven by marketing efforts themselves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blog #3 Explaining Advertising through Theory

By: Matthew Larson
            Advertising is made up of many ideas and thoughts.  These thoughts and ideas are processed by consumers through messages displayed in advertising.  With so much diversity on how these messages should be delivered, many theories have been generated.  But, it goes much deeper than just messages being received by a consumer.  Consumers have been adapting to the way messages are presented for since advertising began.  Over time there have been shifts of persuasion through certain channels of needs identification.
            Maslow’s Hierarchy demonstrates these needs with a pyramid.  At the bottom of the pyramid is the physiological need.  This need deals with consumer’s most basic needs.  Shelter, food, and the most basic essentials are a necessity.  Next, the second layer deals with safety.  Consumers are driven by habit to remain safe with most products that are purchased.  The last three with dominate the top of the pyramid are love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.  People possess certain perceptions about how they will be seen from many viewpoints.  While it is certain that humans will not change their habits of buying certain products, it can be derived that this is something that advertisers model their messages after. 
            It is thought that the post-world war period is what influenced this theory.  People view themselves in terms of classes, and life stage.  By knowing and utilizing this; advertising could be tailored to meet the needs of consumers based on the category the product would be placed in.  Super markets soon became the melting pot for most advertising.  With the most basic, to the most wanted needs available at super markets.  Advertising became competitive with the knowledge and understanding that consumers have a set of needs.  Competition led to the development of brand families.  This was created to manage specifically targeted items that consumers frequently purchased. 
            Values were also established as a separate theory.  The idea was tied together with lifestyles and lifestyle changes.  It resulted in the VALS assessment created by the ad agency Young and Rubicam.  Using VALS requires the four C’s, Cross Cultural Consumer Characterization.  Through survival, escape, security, status, control, individuality, and self-expression, it is easier to decide on what values mean the most to people.  Attraction to different brands is played out through the 7 levels of value.  But, this attraction can be identified through what type of message consumers respond too. 
            Consumers also respond to the communication style.  This is the way in which a message is translated to the consumer.  It can be done through tone of voice, use of space, color, dictation and mood of the ad.  Certain keywords have also been found to work better than others.  In Rob McMinn’s interpretation of theories he states that words such as “healthy” and “simple” are words that consumers find most attractive in recent years.  Throughout the years people have responded to the reflection of the economy and how global and national governments have run.  When money is tight, words have been used to ease this emotional stress; nevertheless it proves that people won’t change their habit of spending money as long as the messages are tailored to their situation. 
            Security is also a theory in itself.  The security of consumer’s well-being exists because they know that products will be delivered the same way every time.  Same with the messages that display the products, people desire a need for consistency.  Sometimes stepping outside the lines and having a powerful message will reach consumers on more than an emotional level.  But, it can be certain that while consumers remain habitual with their buying process.  Security also assists with the status of something.  When a brand has established itself with a good reputation, its status remains solid until a new product or something different evolves and replaces it.
            Theories of advertising remain as adverse as the messages they represent.  Through constant study and an initiative to further understand consumer’s behavior there will always been advancement in theory.  Progression and technology have rapidly assisted in this understanding.  Advertising had already supplied consumers and businesses with enough theories and knowledge that only understanding it more will make unstoppable in the marketing world.