Competitive advantage is the achievement of superior performance using differentiation to better your competitors in terms of customer value or by managing to achieve lowest delivered cost.
Consumer Buyer Behaviour
The definition of consumer buyer behaviour is “The acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining and using economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts.” (Lancaster, G & Reynolds, P. (2002), Marketing: The one semester introduction, Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann).
Consumers are constantly subject to various changes and experiences; this is due to individual’s innate psychological state and the way in which people respond to the environment around them. These changes create new circumstances and in turn affect people’s needs and wants. Marketing is about determining how those needs and wants come about and being able to satisfy them effectively. This is achieved by understand consumer buyer behaviour.
Jobber described the dimensions of buyer behaviour as understanding how customers can be gained, and said it can be done by answering five key questions. These questions outline the various buying situations and how each one influences marketing decisions.
1) Who is important in the buying decision? (the role of the buying centre and its implications)
2) How do they buy? (consumer decision making process)
3) What are their choice criteria?
4) Where do they buy?
5) When do they buy?
The first 3 points are the most important and complex aspect of buyer behaviour.
1) Who buys
When purchasing a product, it may be done by an individual, for example an impulse buy like a chocolate bar. However decision making can also be made by a group of people, for example a household, in which case there may be interactions which contribute to the decision making process. 5 different roles are described; however one person may take numerous roles in the buying decision.
1) Initiator – the person who starts the process of considering purchasing the product. Information may be gathered by this person to influence the decision.
2) Influencer – the person in the group who tries to persuade others in regards to the outcome of the decision. Influencers often gather information and try to impose their choice criteria on the decision
3) Decider – the individual with the power to make the final choice regarding whether to buy the product.
4) Buyer – the individual who makes the transaction.
5) User – the consumer who uses the product.
The marketing implications of understanding who buys a product lie within areas on marketing communications and segmentation. In order to target and communicate persuasively, identification of roles must be analysed effectively. This is because the person who actually consumes the product may not actually be the most influential member on the buying centre, nor the decision maker. And even when the user is the most influential member, communicating with other members can be vital because they also play a role is the final purchasing decision.
2) How they buy
How consumers buy is seen as the decision making process, which has various stages. The consumer decision making process model has 5 stages
1) Recognition of a problem
2) Information search
3) Evaluation of alternatives
5) Post-purchase evaluation of decision
Starting with recognition of a problem, solving a problem is seen as a reasonable action to take place to achieve need satisfaction, for example an item of food may be bought to solve the problem of hunger, which is routine depletion. However it can also be initiated by emotional or psychological needs, or an unpredictable occurrence like a car breaking down. The degree to which the individual intends to resolve a problem depends on two factors: the level of the discrepancy between the present situation and the perceived ideal situation, and the