Information search starts the moment a need is recognized. It is a deliberate attempt to gain appropriate knowledge about products. Knowledge of brands and their important characteristics, and knowledge of stores from where to purchase the goods is gained. Optimum amount of information is required for making a proper choice. Consumers gather information, they then understand (perceive) by selecting, organizing and interpreting it.
Acquisition processType of involvement
On going search Enduring involvement (computer)
Purchase specific searchSituational involvement
Passive acquisition Low involvement.
Questions Faced by Marketer
Types of Information Search
Internal search: It is sufficient in case of loyalty decisions and impulsive purchases. Internal search is also done for routine response behavior and limited problem solving.
External Search: It is a mediated, planned and rational pursuit of information for high involvement purchase decision, i.e., extensive problem solving.
Passive Search: Low involvement use repetitive advertising use TV Emphasize Price Promotion and in-store marketing stimuli.
Active Information Search: Marketer must vary message content frequently. Use Print Media. Emphasize advertising and emphasize marketing before customer enters store.
Hedonic Search: In this, sensory stimuli dominates. There is ongoing information search. Personal sources are more important symbols and imagery is most effective.
Utilitarian Search: Product attributes are more important for purchase. There is specific information search. Non-personal sources are more important. Product information is more effective.
Jacob Jacoby and Associates developed this concept, which cautions marketers against the popular assumption “If some information is good, then more information must be better”.
Too much information confuses the consumer, and with more information, often poor decisions are made. Increasing package information adversely affects the ability to choose best brands.
Sources of Information
Factors Leading to High Information Search
Factors Leading to Low Information Search
Consumers can be classified as:
Cost vs. Benefit Analysis
Benefits can be:
No search is also done because of the cost incurred. It can be both monetary and non-monetary,i.e., money used in transportation, lost time, lost wages, lost opportunities.
Non-monetary may include psychological and physical cost, frustration cost, conflict between search and other activities fatigue, etc.
When a consumer undertakes a search, he comes across various brands and has to choose from them. Some brands are considered out of the total set of brands available. We thus have:
To design market strategies, the nature of search is to be considered, i.e., R.R. B., L.P.S.,E.P.S. and the nature of the evoked set (This influences the direction of search). This gives rise to six strategies.
If the brand is purchased habitually, the strategy is to maintain that behaviour. Attention is to be paid to product quality, avoiding out of stock situation, reinforcement, advertising. Also defend against the competitor’s move which might be disruptive to the brand. Maintain product development, give rebates, P.O. P. displays, etc.
If the brand is not in the evoked set and the decision is habitual, we must disrupt the existing decision-making process. It is a difficult task. A major product improvement must be made. Attention attracting advertising should be done. Free samples, coupons, rebates and tie-insalescan disrupt habitual decision-making.
Capture Structure, Limited Decision-making and Evoked Brand
Limited decision-making involves few brands which are evaluated on price or availability. Information search is mostly done at P.O. P. and through available media prior to purchase. Strategy is to catch as much of the market share as possible/practical. In limited search, the marketer tries to supply information of his brand by cooperative advertising. He must also maintain product quality and adequate distribution.
Intercept Structure, Limited Decision-making and not Evoked Set
Marketer has to intercept the consumer during a search on brands in evoked set. Emphasis will be on local media with cooperative advertisement, P.O. P. displays, shelf space, package design. Consumer’s attention is to be drawn as the brand is not in the evoked set. Coupons can also be effective. Low involvement learning, product improvement and free samples can also be used.
Preference Structure, Extended Decision-making and Evoked Set
Extended decision-making involves several brands, several attributes and many information sources. We have to have a campaign that will result in the target market preferring our brand.
We should be strong in the attributes preferred by the target markets. Extensive advertising campaigns must be undertaken to impart information to groups. Groups be encouraged to test the brand. Extra motivation be given to salesmen. Pamphlets be provided.
It is used in extended decision-making and for the brands that are not in the evoked set.
Similar to preference structure brand is not in evoked set, therefore, the customer is not seeking information about the product. Motivate customer to learn about the brand and visit showrooms. Besides preferred strategies, effort should be made to bring the brand in the evoked set by extended advertisement and imparting information.
Marketing Implications of Research Behaviour are Broad Ranging
It makes marketers aware of how customers search for information. They can help the customer and facilitate the search process to match with their marketing stimuli. Marketers influence search process by advertising product and packaging and pricing policies.
Marketers’ Influence on Information Search
Through areas of advertising, product and packaging policies and pricing.
Advertising: Complex due to selective reception and perception. With time, audience erosion occurs, constant review is important. Audience may not be attentive to the advertisement.
Review is the key word: To present an attractive packaging, one should vary the packaging and design of the product.
Product and packaging: Use words like ‘new’, ‘improved’, ‘better’, or ‘power’ packed. Change in package design and co lour, periodically helps to push information through. It stimulates the consumer and, pushes the information through the threshold level. These adjectives help the consumer to break the threshold level faster, so that the purchases are expedited.
Pricing: Review pricing permutations and combinations to convey desired price quality perception. Most people are sensitive to price variations. This strategy is commonly used.
Consumer Behaviour Related Interview Questions
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Consumer Behaviour Tutorial
Psychographic Or Lifestyle Segmentation
Concept Of Culture & Subculture
Cultural Variations In Non-verbal Communications
Family Buying Influences, Family Life Cycle And Buying Roles
Diffusion Of Innovation
Personality And Self Concept
Motivation And Involvement
Information Processing Learning And Memory
Attitude Development And Alternate Evaluation In Buying
Search And Evaluation
Purchasing Process And Outlet Selection
Purchase Behaviour (situational Factors)
Models Of Consumer Behaviour
Consumerism (public Policy And Consumer Protection)
Organisational Buying Behaviour
Changing Consumer Behaviour
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