Archive for October, 2010

In Chapter Three of Levy and Grewal’s Marketing they make the case for ethics explicitly (not just through stop-hand warnings!): “When customers believe that they can no longer trust a company or that the company is not acting responsibly, they will no longer support that company by purchasing its products or services or investing in its stock. For marketers, the firm’s ability to build and maintain consumer trust by conducting ethical transactions must be of paramount importance” (61). The central claim here is the typical one: business ethics makes good business sense.

Consumers and investors increasingly appear to want to purchase products and services from and invest in companies that act in socially responsible ways. Large global corporations, such as Coca-Cola, have recognized that they must be perceived as socially responsible by their stakeholders to earn their business. As a bonus, these companies earn both tangible and intangible benefits for acting in a socially desirable manner…; it just makes good business sense to take actions that benefit society. (Levy and Grewal, Marketing 67)

 

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According to Grewal and Levy, marketing information systems create value for firms and customers. Information is data that crosses a threshold of pattern formation. Here I am thinking of distributed networked databases that interface events up and down the supply and distribution chain. When certain activities become volatile and unpredictable or dense and viscous, then a threshold of organization or circulation is crossed–this is both a threshold relatively stabilizing processes around a given basin of attraction, and a switch for processes of value capture (in the sense that Grewal and Levy understand that phrase). These activities could be patterns of consumption, perception, facebook clicks, habituation, circulation, desire, pleasure, sensation, association, recognition, movement, network mobilization.

Recognizing these patterns, creating innovative strategies for mining, organizing, restructuring, and potentializing these patterns add value to a firm and its customers.

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Let’s look at another take on consumer behaviour. In “Understanding consumer behaviour,” David Jobber specifies further why perception is crucial for marketing (Jobber, Principles and Practice of Marketing [London: McGraw-Hill, 2010] 108-143). Jobber claims that an understanding of customers can be gained by answering the following questions (109):
1. Who is important in the buying decision?
2. How do they buy?
3. What are their choice criteria?
4. Where do they buy?
5. When do they buy?

These are the key dimensions of buyer behaviour according to Jobber. In an interesting, although unacknowledged, reprise of Bergson’s memory cone, Jobber notes that need recognition of consumers runs a dynamic spectrum from functional (the simple recognition of needing a commodity like replacing a broken TV) to emotional or psychological (buying a perfume or cologne). The decision making process goes through various stages, and it is important that these concepts are presented in the pop-out box, at least in this instance, as a temporally linear unfolding: need recognition/problem awareness → information search → evaluation of alternatives → purchase → post-purchase evaluation of decision. Memory and perception and their mobilization are key throughout. For instance, in the first stage need recognition will happen initially through “a review of relevant information from memory” (113). The aim of searching for information for a good marketer like Jobber is to build up the “awareness set—that is, the array of brands that may provide a solution to the problem” (113). Much like Grewal and Levy, Jobber expends a few choice words on “low-involvement situations.”

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