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Consumer vs Business Markets

In both business and consumer markets, the individual that will use your product or service is not always the same individual that makes the actual purchasing decision. For instance, a husband may purchase a product that his wife needs, or a parent for a child, or an employer for an employee. In these situations, your responsibility is to satisfy the decision maker(s) by providing them relevant information as to how your product or service can enhance their business or lifestyle.

Generally, when I walk into a jewelry store to purchase a gift for my wife, the sales representative will ask questions about my wife, not about me (until we start talking budget). In business, you need to ask the purchaser about the goals or intentions for the product or service, not about their basic needs. To make them happy, you have to sell the expectation that the individual receiving the purchase will be happy. When the decision maker is not present, you can generate more sales by focusing on expectation rather than the moment.

Business Market Purchases. When marketing to a business, you should concentrate on what is most important to the business which often includes statistics, facts, data, and a return on investment. Within the business market, the purchasing decision is generally made by multiple individuals. Your selling strategy should focus on each of the decision makers by way of the individual who sought out your business. This may include giving everything to the purchaser and letting that individual determine how to disperse the content to the decision maker(s).

Consumer Market Purchases. Consumers regularly make purchases based on factors which include value, availability, and emotional connections. In consumer markets, you will either sell to an individual or a couple. An example of a couple transaction is a husband wanting to purchase a new home. To do so, he would need to get his wife to agree to the decision. Similar to a business market, you need to sell to both but primarily satisfy the decision maker, which you should identify as you work to develop the relationship.

In both business and consumer markets, you can go a long way by getting the individual who contacted you to like you. If they like you and your business, they will fight on your behalf to influence the decision maker.

Evolving Consumer Behavior – Case Study

CompanyEC’s (CEC) current marketing plan is not currently aimed at engaging the online consumer behaviors identified in the Meet the Connected Consumer study. The reason for this is not that CEC finds these studies irrelevant. It’s due to CEC simply not having the strongest of marketing plans. Currently, the marketing plan is to create backlinks mainly within forums and blogs within its niche market. Nonetheless, CEC does have its company brand within the most popular of search engines and social networking websites. What CEC could do to improve its marketing for this study is to place more ad dollars and marketing within the areas mentioned. A majority of CEC’ consumers have a MySpace, Facebook and Twitter account. With that knowledge, CEC could benefit greatly from advertising within these markets.

Being that CEC is an online-based company, using this consumer study for its marketing techniques could allow for the company to gain a true understanding of its online consumers. CEC could easily implement most of the web 2.0 techniques into its own company. Previously, the tag cloud technique was used on the main page of the website. However, this was removed due to room for further marketing. In addition, RSS feeds and social bookmarking tools are currently implemented within the website.

While this consumer study can be beneficial to use for marketing, it would also seem to be most affective with a dedicated team member to handle this portion of the marketing on a regular basis. This type of marketing needs to be kept and updated regularly, possibly on a daily and/or hourly basis. Assigning the task of keeping these techniques updated will be the best method to create its success. In addition to marketing, creating online contest and awards can also encourage user interactivity within the social networks (Welborn, 2009).

The Internet and customer behavior

The Internet isn’t changing the way that CEC’ customers behave mainly because the business has always been an Internet business. The only difference is the locations in which CEC is marketing itself. It has previously been marketed within locations such as Craigslist.org, Backpage.com, Yellowbook.com, and other local advertising websites. With the internet changing and advancing with user interacted web 2.0 websites, the business now has the opportunity of being marketed on broader networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. In the order to create success within the web 2.0 market place, CEC needs to join this social online environment and make its brand positively known (Eikelmann, Hajj, Peterson, 2007).

With the thousands of additional social networking, blogs and forum type websites, CEC has a greater opportunity to build its brand name. Searching for the keyword “CompanyEC” on search engines will bring up a large list of the websites links and name within other websites. Currently, CEC has as many as 120k backlinks.

What the development of new websites and the growth in online networking, the Internet has been created as the largest marketing tool for CEC. This is done through a combination of CEC’ own online marketing and through previous customers promoting the brand online through their social networks. This allows for CEC to be found through many new, relevant and trusted sources on the Internet.

There hasn’t been any noticeable difference in how the users view the website or company or any changes within their decision-making process. Visitors are still looking to visit the website and find what they are looking for quickly with as little amount of clicks as possible.

Shifting behavioral patterns

CEC’ current marketing efforts are capitalizing on the shifting behaviors of its target audience. Ways in which is does this is through social networking websites, forums and blogs. With each of these online networks growing in users and in popularity, CEC has found many opportunities in joining these networks to build its brand name.

In addition to CEC’ own marketing techniques, potential and past consumers are also discussing the services offered through the company. While searching through the Internet for the company’s name, it has showed up on many additional forums and blogs through users own discussion postings. CEC has found that the company name in these situations is being used as references from previous customers or questions from potential customers. With seeing the affects of this type of marketing, CEC has placed high priority on customer satisfaction, as the users experience is likely to be shared throughout the Internet.

Brand evangelists

CEC has some great opportunities to create and identify brand awareness. The ways in which it creates them is by providing them a valuable service and simply ask them to tell their friends. A happy customer is very likely to tell their friends of the service they received from CEC. Creating brand evangelists doesn’t necessarily involve rewarding the customer with free services. The best method that has been proven successful is by letting the customer know that they are appreciated as a customer and advise them to please tell their friends of the service they have received from the company.

Previous customers are also likely to socialize about the service they received form the company without being asked. If they are happy, they will likely tell everyone why they are. Whether a Facebook, Twitter or MySpace status update, blogs or forums, they will tell their story of success. Customer satisfaction goes a long way when creating brand evangelists.

Ways in which CEC can identify brand evangelist is firstly by joining and staying updated with its social networks and watch for when the company name is mentioned. Another method is by understanding the type of user that the service is being created for. If CEC is creating a website for a consumer that is socially active, then it needs to place a higher priority into making sure that they are satisfied with their service. These users are likely to express their service online and their users are likely to take the advice as coming from a relevant and trusted source. Users with large social networks are a great opportunity for CEC to create brand evangelist.

Another great opportunity for CEC to get involved with its consumers online is by incorporating widgets into the company website. These widgets can be used to allow for CEC’ site visitors to communicate their thoughts and share them on their favorite social networking websites with the click of a button.

 

Credits

Eikelmann, S., Hajj, J., Peterson, M. (2007). Web 2.0: profiting from the threat. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from http://www.strategy-business.com/article/li00037

Schmitt, G. (n.d.). Meet the connected consumer. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from http://www.slideshare.net/gschmitt/meet-the-connected-consumer

Welborn, J. (2009). The eight essential steps for successful social media marketing. Retrieved May 22, 2010, from http://www.indelibuzz.com/?p=362

Consumer Segmentation

CompanyEC (CEC) specializes in innovative website design, print, search engine optimization, logo design, animations, marketing and many other business creative services. CEC’ biggest revenue comes from its web design services, which has a target audience of medium and large sized business owners. CEC views its medium sized businesses as companies that are trying to build a larger name for their brand. These owners are looking for a website that is affordable and will help them present themselves appealing to their online consumers. The larger business owners are looking to create a website that functions high and they are looking for a company that has great customer service.

CEC offers many benefits to our medium sized business owners. It attracts this consumer by use of its web design portfolio to provide the customer with the eye-catching design services that it offers. CEC also includes small promotional phrases and testimonials within its websites pages to emphasize the affordability of its services. In addition, our own web design is aesthetically appealing and this should further comfort these business owners to realize that CEC has an eye-for-design. While CEC could promote its “affordable pricing” motto further throughout its website, it chose not to due this in order to gain customer interaction through the completion of a free quote form, contact form, email or phone call to one of CEC’ sales representative who could further promote the brand to the consumer. This method has been proven best and it helps to build consumer confidence (Chaffey et al. 2009, p. 64).

CEC believes its large business consumers to be business owners looking to expand their website image and functionality. Throughout this process, these consumers are also looking to find a company that has the experience to provide for their needs and they are looking for a company with great customer service. CEC promotes its experience through its “About Us” page and knowledge base sections. In addition, its extensive portfolio helps to further promote its experience. Through the use of testimonials and other care statements throughout the website, CEC provides its large business consumers with knowledge of its customer services beliefs, values and work ethics.

CompanyEC prides itself in its previous works, customer service, quality and in price. CEC promotes its company to show that they are the best and that they provide high customer satisfaction with all of its work. In knowing who they are, they look for their customers to have the same integrity and beliefs as they do. They want from their customers, the same as the customers want from them. They don’t just sell a high quality service; they expect high quality service in return. CEC’s marketing strategy is to market toward companies that fit its high-standard criteria. Its marketing strategy includes high promotion of its portfolio, testimonials and work ethics. With this strategy, CEC’ goal is to attract consumers who value higher quality over lower prices. Their current marketing plan is aimed at marketing in areas with high psychographic locations of the types of consumers they are trying to reach.  The researching of their demographics is done through services such as Quantcast, Alexa and other analytics tools (Matt, 2009).

Credits

Chaffey et al. (2009). Internet marketing. (pp. 57 – 87). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall

Matt. (2008). Building a customer psychographic profile . Retrieved May 14, 2010, from

http://blog.hillsearch.org/index.cfm/2008/8/8/Building-a-Customer-Psychographic-Profile

Internet Consumer Behavior and Analysis – Case Study

Unaware of Need:

Through the use of social networking, PPC, referrals, and directory listings, CompanyEC can generate awareness to its brand. Currently, it uses each of these marketing techniques besides that of PPC. Organic results for the keyword “Dallas Web Design” shows CompanyEC between the first and second pages of Google, first page of Yahoo and second page of Bing. There is far greater potential for implementing a PPC campaign so to address additional keywords to target. Previous statistics have shown that a majority of customers find awareness about CompanyEC through previous customer referrals. Getting involved within online networks, referral programs and campaigns will successfully and inevitably generate awareness of the brand name and image.

Aware of Need:

Potential customers will find awareness of CompanyEC and its services through the use of search engine marketing, affiliate marketing and online directories. The main focus to generate the correct awareness is by the use of relevant keywords and placing the company’s name within niche directories and affiliate websites. This campaign will need to explain to the user why CompanyEC is the best and why they should choose this company over the competitors within the market. In addition, this campaign will need to address the needs of the potential customers. To do this, keywords or key phrases could be used to draw-in the potential customers to the company.

Supplier Search:

Lead generations will come through directories, referrals, and other intermediaries. While directory leads help to generate leads, they will not be the main focus as they only generate a very small percentage of leads. Because most leads come through referrals of previous customers, including a referral program within the website may be a great way to reward previous customers for their referred lead. This reward system may also inspire more leads. Referral programs may also work best due to previous customers satisfaction of the service that they will sell to the potential customers. If CompanyEC focuses more on making sure that current customers are being satisfied, then this referral program will bring endless success.

Evaluate and Select:

CompanyEC will use its most popular and relevant content to persuade users in their purchasing decision. Statistics show that the most popular content visited by users consist of the web design portfolio page, the testimonial section, and the company’s “About Us” page. By making these pages with easy access and usability, this will allow for users to find what they are looking for with ease. In addition to making these pages relevant for usability, they will also include quick links to the “Free Estimate” form and the telephone number to contact the company for further details and to receive an estimate for services. The main pages of the website are designed to get the user to where they want to go within one or two clicks.

Purchase:

In order to facilitate a purchase, customers will first complete a free estimate form. This form is needed in order to create an accurate estimate. Those customers who have additional questions, may call in using the telephone number on the website. Nonetheless, the estimate form will be completed either by the user on the website or by the telephone representative that the potential customer gives the service details to. Once this form is completed, the customer will be sent out an official estimate email that will include a link to make a down deposit payment to get started on the project. This payment system is done either on the website or via PayPal.

Post-Purchase Evaluation & Feedback:

Once the user has completed purchasing their services, they will be offered a discount on their next purchase. This discount will be in a percentage depending on a date and service type. In addition, completing a feedback survey will also allow for the customer to express any concerns or testimonials that they have about their service. This will be beneficial for use with future customers and business practices. Another option to add as a reward for previous customers is the option to receive a cash or money-back reward for a service referral in which they will receive once that referral purchases and completes a service.

Conclusion:

CompanyEC’s current online marketing strategy is to first aim at being amongst the first page of Google’s organic results under the keyword of “Dallas Web Design.” Once this is accomplished and proven to generate more site visitors, the next step is to put focus on previous customers and referral programs. This marketing strategy will work best in this order as it allows CompanyEC to focus on one marketing avenue at a time without being overloaded as it currently builds its in-house team of designers. While focusing on progressing organically within the search engines, CompanyEC is also partnering with local companies to offer more services to its customers. Once these agreements and expansions are created, CompanyEC will then focus on heavy marketing through PPC, email marketing campaigns, referral programs, offline paper marketing and offline networking. Previous studies have shown that while this marketing strategy is successful, it isnt beneficial to gain too many customers until the company first expands on the inside. Once CompanyEC is ready to expand on the outside with its marketing strategy, using this consumer behavior and analysis chart will create an excellent guide to creating a successful marketing campaign for understanding its customers.

 

Credits

Richarme, M. (2005). Consumer decision-making models, strategies and theories, oh my!. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.decisionanalyst.com/Downloads/ConsumerDecisionMaking.pdf.

Future Now. (2002). The buying process leads to a decision to buy. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.grokdotcom.com/index10-15-2002.htm

Cheung, C. Zhu, L. Kwong, T. Chan, G. Limayem, M. (n.d). Online consumer behaviora review and agenda for future research. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://ecom.fov.uni-mb.si/proceedings.nsf/0/c9beda3ca328c8b7c1256ea1002c72b8/$FILE/16Cheun g.pdf.

Constantinides, E. (2004). Influencing the online consumer’s behavior: the web experience. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.utwente.nl/nikos/research/publications/ecpapers/constantinidespaper influencing.pdf.

Harris Interactive. (2008). Digital influence index study. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://technomarketer.typepad.com/FH/DII_2008.pdf

Chaffey et al. (2009). Internet marketing. (pp. 57 – 87). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall

Consumer and Business Markets

Consumer and Business Markets
Business markets are task focused, while consumer market buyers may have an emotional factor when making purchase decisions. Moreover, in both business and consumer markets, the purchaser often does not have the final authority to make purchase decisions. In the consumer market, marketing methods may include advertising and promotions, while business markets can include necessary meetings before the final transaction. In addition, once a business purchases, there is the possibility of generating a brand loyalty for future purchases. In a consumer market, the consumer may base their future purchase on price, availability, and those continued emotional and personal factors. Furthermore, businesses often purchase in larger volumes. Consequently, the business market will likely generate more sales per customer.

Marketing Efforts
In creating a marketing strategy, product managers should be directly involved. To build a successful marketing strategy, the marketer should understand the consumers’ daily life and target their emotional needs. Consumers often purchase based on influences such as culture, social, and personal factors.  Marketing efforts should focus on building an emotional connection with the consumer to satisfy the consumers’ needs. In addition, marketers need to be aware of the consumers’ perception of the brand. Marketers can use integrated marketing communications to help with observing the marketing process. The company could focus on marketing to consumers from home by focusing more on their online marketing efforts. Consumers enjoy a comfortable setting when shopping, including having the ability to shop from home. Businesses prefer face-to-face sales meetings. To gain more customers within the tradesmen market, the marketer can advertise in electronic media and focus on e-commerce.

Marketing Approach
Consumer market purchases are likely made by individuals. An example of a consumer market is a husband wanting to purchase a new home. In order to do so, he would need to get his wife’s approval before making the decision. His wife will likely introduce personal factors, which may hinder his decision such as kids, bills, and other priority items. Consequently, he will not be able to make the purchase immediately because of these personal reasons. The marketer should create a campaign that addresses these personal concerns. The strategy could focus on the personal and family benefits that a new home would produce. It should mention the affordability, safety, and other family oriented concerns and then provide positive solutions for those concerns. In regards to a business market, this same strategy could be used to focus on the business benefits of purchasing a new business. The business marketer could showcase a better location, statistics surrounding the local traffic, and the return on investment. Within the business market, the purchase decision is made by many individuals and groups. A marketer needs to be aware of who has the buying power within the group. Once this is determined, the marketer should address each of the individuals’ concerns.

When determining the market, the business needs to know not only who are buying and why they are buying the product or service. The market purchasing decision for a business may be easier as there is a larger need. For consumers, there are other factors in to consider such as financials, family, personal, and priority items for example. For large purchases, there often needs to be a collective decision made by the family. Business markets often focus more on sales and purchases that are sold directly to other businesses, which may use those products to re-sale directly to the consumer. Consumer markets are markets where the consumer purchases an item to use for their own use. The strategies necessary for these markets are determined based on their needs and wants of the market. In a business market, purchases may also involve a collective decision, but there may also be a larger plan ahead for the company and the purchase may be one small item on a larger scale.

Within both business and consumer markets, the market must always be aware of the service strengths and needs of the purchasing organization. The products must provide value to the target market. To target consumers, the organization could use mass marketing and advertising methods to reach a wider audience base. Businesses are likely to also purchase larger volumes of items compared to consumers. Business markets may also have purchasing agents who are responsible for buying company items. These agents may already know the price they are looking to spend. In targeting the consumer markets, marketing agents should look to move online into e-commerce as it gives consumers the opportunity to make purchases directly from home or while on the go. Businesses often use more traditional purchasing methods such as face-to-face meetings. If market agents do desire to grow their online market, they have many options, which include services from Facebook, Godaddy, Google, and thousands of tools that can assist with targeting their desired consumers.

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