This technological device as we call the “cell phone” or “mobile phone” originates from the need to connect to another in different locations to transmit messages. However, this need has became and object that the human race can not seem to live without due to its many purposes that directly involve the survival of person whether it be for work or personal matters. For its mobility functions, a cell phone entails a lot of microchips and technological advancement to be able to maximize its purpose. It has involved in many purposes such a compact organizer instead of a usually notebook executives use. Cell phones become cameras as well and as time progresses the mega pixel feature of cell phones match what could be attained with another camera altogether.
Moreover, the decision to purchase a cell phone has become more and more complicated due to the options given by the retailers. There are numerous providers who all speak the same language in terms of marketing strategies- they all claim that they possess the most excellent criteria. However, marketing takes its toll on consumers and as we dissect the edges and loopholes of each marketing strategy relative to the decision made by the consumer we shall build the pieces together whether our buyer / interviewee could be named an impulsive buyer or otherwise.
To start of, my interviewee is an Executive Assistant for a CEO in one of the biggest multinational companies in the world. Given her stature and position, Rachel James maintains a very busy schedule. As mentioned, she recently purchased a new plan. This new plan is accompanied by a cell phone unit. Beforehand, Ms. James was very comfortable with her previous cell phone. It is brought to my attention as to why there was a need for Ms. James to purchase this offer. This now begins the quest as to why consumers continuously bite the pull of various marketing strategies. Ms. James purchased a plan from T-mobile Get More 1000 Plus plan that comes with a Blackberry Pearl phone. The details of her purchase are as follows:
Product and Service: T-Mobile Get More 1000 Plus Plan & Blackberry Pearl Phone
Product Price (Retail $399.99) $349.99
$150 instant discount w/$39+ plans!
$100 instant discount w/$39+ plans and data option!
$100 instant discount w/2 yr. agreement!
Free earbud hands-free kit
$50 T-Mobile Mail-In Rebate -$50.00
After Rebates: You make $50.00
Just like any other consumer the major considerations of Ms. Rachel for making such purchase relies on 4 major aspects:
Blackberry Unit- Rachel will be out of the office most of the time and can not always attend to calls so emails will be an important part of her work deliverance.
Widest Network Coverage- Rachel will be traveling a lot more this year
PDA phone- Rachel would like to get rid of her organizer because it is so difficult to tag along with it.
Aesthetic appeal- Rachel, being a woman is but natural to desire an object that will look very professionally indeed.
As I was able to probe more questions, she mentioned that she did not bother to look at any other network provider because she has been using T-Mobile for quite sometime now and she is most comfortable already with it. We could relate this to “brand loyalty.” Most of the big companies around the world greatly depend on this attitude of consumers since this is a very strong leverage of the company against their competitors. When there is brand loyalty, consumers automatically defer from looking at other brands or options. Consumers who choose only by what they know are most likely the very same consumers who are considered the bread and butter of a company. Ms. James mentioned that she initially considered what phone came with a plan and since she had a particular phone in mind, she immediately looked at plan that offered the Blackberry pearl as the free phone. The plan was purchased in an actual store since she had to process all the documents needed to complete the purchase. She mentioned that she used a couple of cell phone websites such a www.letstalk.com, www.wirefly.com, and of course www.t-mobile.com. She added that since she was more concerned with the phone and not the plans, she initially searched the internet about the phone specifically in www.blackberry.com. It goes with the personality of the consumer that she is very decided on what she wants and she is towards only achieving what she wants. This is very the reason why she immediately researched on the phone. Rachel believes in the functions of the Blackberry as a Smartphone. With a consumer like Rachel, she had full brand awareness, brand familiarity and a strong purchase intent. Her background has everything to do with how her purchase decision-making has gone through. Obviously, to this client, the brand’s imagery was clear and appealing. Considering that the Blackberry is a new product, there are a lot of advancements accompanied with it.
The immediate need was for her to purchase that specific cell phone. In the process of a little researching that Rachel did, she found out that it would cheaper for her to buy a plan instead of buying the Blackberry Pearl outright.
Given the scenario that she needed more minutes on her hand, she felt the need to upgrade her plan and at the same time take advantage of the offers that the service provider is giving to their customers. As for the buying cycle, the consumer that we are looking at was very focused on attaining one thing from the beginning and it goes with the buying attitude that she has. She did not look elsewhere, she knew where to look and she knew what she wanted as an end result. The buying cycle for her was very quick and the turnaround of the event was quick that it may have definitely kept both parties very satisfied. Who does not like a quick sale and who does not like getting what he/she desires right away?
The ‘purchase funnel’ has different phases. As mentioned, this consumer valued brand loyalty, she had a preference, she was somehow aware of the choices, she considered very minimal points and she purchased right away. All these processes refer to this kind of purchase funnel but in a very quick manner, almost simultaneous. (Lerma, 2005)
As far as this transaction is considered, it is very obvious that the consumer acted on her own impulse. There was no push from another capacity. It was just between the company and her. The attempt to seek more information regarding the Blackberry was done upon her own probing and all expenses that have been made were made only by her personally. If we look at what she has mentioned, all the research was done using the internet. The great part about purchasing is if you know what you want and at the same time you are very able to purchase it anytime because you have the funds already. Unlike most situations, there are a lot of items we desire but we do not have the funds to buy it and it could also be that you are ready with the money but the item is not available. Given those situations, it is best said that it truly saves time and money when you have both –money and knowing what you want and where to get it.
If there is brand loyalty there is an equal ‘brand image’ that the consumer is depending on and in this case, the most important factor that relates to the company’s mage and the consumer’s loyalty is that there could not be any one of them without the other. There is sustaining perception that the image goes well with the value. A consumer who is able to see all options because of availability and of funds does not need to choose between value and brand image. Being in such an environment where you can have value and brand image at the same time at a specific amount of money, there is rarely a case when the consumer has to choose- and this what happened with the purchase of Ms. James
When the service was brought about to be discussed, our interviewee stressed the fact that she did not need much convincing so that staff merely acted as a middleman to complete the transaction. The buying cycle and the purchase funnel was very fast, the actual purchase did not take long. Before Ms. James went to the store to get her plan with T-Mobile, she was prepared with all the requirements stated in the website. She was able to bring all this at once and with that there was no need to wait for another day to settle the business. She mentioned that she was satisfied with the kind of accommodation that she received and that she was fulfilled as soon as the transaction was completed because she was able to finish all that she desired in such a minimal amount of time.
The purchase was able to address all her needs as of the moment and it is yet to been if there is truth into whatever feedback and research she was able to retrieve in the quick time that she was looking into the possible purchases she was to make. The most vital product attribute with the Blackberry Pearl as explicitly stressed by Ms. James is that it is definitely handy yet very useful in many ways. Secondly, the product was expensive and relatively new, therefore to get a few dollar discounts on the purchase would have satisfied her already and this is how she brought to the choice of getting another plan. I would be most impossible that our interviewee would just decide on such a phone without seeing an advertisement or heard and saw it. In this case, Ms. James saw both, she was able to see her colleague use and she was able to see an advertisement on it as well. With those events, she was more than just convinced that it is exactly what she wanted and nothing otherwise.
This purchase is no bargain to begin it. The negotiation is fixed as their rates are fixed. Most of the packages being offered to clients are usually non-negotiable. The major incentive that our client received is that there is a cash rebate. Atop this, she is able to purchase an expensive item at a very minimal cost and no immediate cash outlay even. At the same time, with the more minutes allotted in the plan that she got, she is able to maximize her bill and the whole cell phone plan is cost-efficient on her budget. This is a personal phone and she will be paying for it personally and not the company. Therefore, there was really a need for her to look at the costs somehow. It is but a natural reaction. The client knew where to go and knows that it is a staple package and that she would just go to the retail store where she always goes to. These kind of consumers do not experimenting nor trying something new because the feel as if the risk is not equal to cost for it will cost them more if the risk is realized.
For starters, the retail environment of a store is very crucial for actual completion of the purchase. A consumer may be absolutely decided on what to buy and where to buy it but if the retail environment is not appealing or somewhere along the way the consumer gets disappointed with the staff, the purchase might just be jeopardized altogether. Most especially for the walk-in customers who sometimes become loyal customers as well, the retail environment must be their very reason why they even gave the store a second look, enough to go inside. When asked to describe the retail environment, she mentioned that she did not care much about the store because she was after the actual purchase and the post-service that she has experienced from T-Mobile already. She stressed the fact that the good thing about buying a phone is that the accessibility has been very much improved by the different companies since a phone is more of a consumer basic need rather than a luxury. It is a given that from time to time, consumers would like to make another purchase because of the fast-paced improvements on technology and because the companies are using these developments to make more promos and plans that shall entice their consumers. However, given another situation, the retail store plays a very important role in the consumers’ buying process. As of the moment, as we spoke, she only purchased the item a month ago and so far she does not have any complaints regarding the unit and the T-mobile plan. She mentioned that she was also very lucky that the saleslady gave you another bonus of an extension of the warranty for another 3 months. On the other hand, it could be a marketing strategy altogether. It could be that it was all part of the plan but to make it seem as like the consumer is favored, she only tells the clients about this on the actual purchase. She was the one who opened this idea to me and this is why she thinks that either way, this marketing strategy on purchase rewards truly catches the ‘loyalty’ and satisfaction from the customer. She also mentioned that she once encountered a problem with her billing statement and T-Mobile responded quickly to her inquiry. She strongly believes that T-Mobile is definitely reliable and she pointed out that if she was not satisfied from her previous involvement as a consumer with T-Mobile, she would have not chosen them at all anymore.
The purchase of the Blackberry Pearl to Rachel meant convenience. More than anything else, when we purchase a basic item we satisfy the need to have it and to use it because the benefits are detrimental to our everyday survival. In context, this is what Ms. Rachel is emphasizing- there was convenience upon being able to use to the phone. She was well-informed about the benefits that she will receive, therefore there were expectations at hand already and it as she mentioned it is most relieving to know that until this point, she has no regrets with her purchase. The product represents a pleasing characteristic to the owner and that in itself shall keep her prominently happy with her purchase. It was a personal decision to buy that plan to obtain that phone so there is no one else to consider as to how they feel regarding her purchase. The research was done personally, the probing came from her liking so the result is that she is the one happy or disappointed.
It is common knowledge that when one is delighted with their purchase, they will not hesitate to share this with their family and friends. By mere casual conversations, one way or another, it could be brought up. When asked whether she would promote this purchase to her family and friends she bluntly told us that if someone asked about it then she will but if not, she will not. She believes that T-Mobile has a very effective marketing arm in their company that they she needs not promote them even more. When I asked as to why she would not voluntarily tell her family and friends about it when she is obviously satisfied with her purchase, she said that though indeed she is happy with the product, she is emphatically amazed because as mentioned, she views this purchase as a basic need.
As a whole the major aspect the enticed Ms. Rachel to pursue her plans is relative to the idealism that pricing made it all happen. Consequently, it was a promotional stance that led to the completion of the purchase. It was also strategically arranged, that the advertisement that was seen by Ms. Rachel about the Blackberry Pearl was during a break of a seminar she was attending. The distribution of the products’ marketing collaterals, in this case, it was a pamphlet was well thought off. It pays to organize the 4 P’s of Marketing as a product is established in the market. The 4 P’s would be Price, Place, Product and Promotion. Since product development should have been mastered even before the launching of the item, the marketers made it a point that the product was packaged well to have an additional impact to the customer
I came across an important principle during this activity : “People buy benefits and not features”. (Stone, 1996) Another point that I have absorbed is that it is important that the customers are understood well and their needs are addressed. It is advisable to really invest in good market research so the products can answer their needs and in effect be very beneficial for them. Lastly, like any business, credibility is essential and if this is established well, then the customers would likely retain your brand and would come back. (Eisend, 2006)
Also, the major theory that I learned from the interview regarding marketing is that when a consumer possesses a high purchasing power, the cycle is made easy and business is pleasurable. It is all about the distributing the purchasing power of one economy equally so that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of a sale and a purchase. In terms of marketing, for the efforts to be recognized and for the purchase to be savored and enjoyed, the purchasing power of a consumer is very vital and essential in making the strategies effective. If a consumer’s money worth is justly bestowed upon the due person involved then there is what we call a fair transaction. Marketing strategies are only truly effective when the benefits are reaped by the consumers. And if the end users are not able to seize up their money’s worth and make the most out of the benefits, expect a downfall in sales due to a failure in the marketing efforts of the company. Moreover, when a consumer is loyal, it makes a whole lot of difference in the buying process and the in the whole marketing spectrum. Last but not the least, I learned that when a marketing activity is open to a lot of options being offered to the clients, there are also more chances for a sale. The more options, the more sales you can expect because the wider is the range of the chance and of being able to be at par with the needs of the each and every different client in the market. Amidst all the strategies to properly segment the market, it is inevitable that from time to time a company should be open to changes because each client has different needs and requirements.
Eisend, M. (2006). “Source Credibility Dimensions in Marketing Communication – A Generalized Solution.” Journal of Empirical Generalisations in Marketing. Retrieved April 22, 2007 from: http://members.byronsharp.com/empgens/SourceCredibility.pdf.
Lerma, P. (2005) Interactive and the Brand Experience Cycle. ClickZ Experts. Retrieved April 21, 2007 from: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3553016.
Stone, B. (1996) “The Past, The Present and Future of Direct Marketing,” In Beyond 2000: The Future of Direct Marketing, Jerry Reitman (ed). NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company.