BUS203: Principles of Marketing
Unit 3: Customers and Marketing Research
Marketing is all about the customer. But who is the customer? If you
are a car manufacturer, you have multiple types of customers. You might
have governments and rental agencies that wish to buy fleet vehicles.
We call these customers business-to-business (B2B). You would also have
dealerships to whom you want to sell your cars; this is also B2B. Then,
there are the end users, or dealer's customers. Though the dealer owns
the car when it is sold, the manufacturer almost always plays a crucial
role in the marketing of that car. Identifying your target customer can
be difficult, but with the proper definitions and the right research,
marketers will know their customers better than they know themselves.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 25 hours.
Read the section titled "Organizational Buyer Behavior". The decision-making process that organizations follow to determine their needs for products and services is known as organization buying. After reading this material, please consider the following review questions: What buying stages do buying centers typically go through? Why should business buyers collaborate with the companies they buy products from? Explain how a straight rebuy, new buy, and modified rebuy differ from one another.
Read this chapter, which provides an overview of business-to-business buying behavior. This chapter discusses the various ways in which B2B markets differ from B2C markets, types of B2B buyers, buying centers, and stages of the B2B buying process. The chapter wraps up with a discussion of international B2B markets, e-commerce, and ethics in the B2B market. From this reading, you will learn what a buying center is and will be able to name the members of buying centers and describe their roles. Pay special attention to the concepts of the decision making unit (DMU) and the purchase process.
Read this chapter, which explains that a direct marketing channel consists of just two parties: the producer and the consumer. By contrast, a channel that includes one or more intermediaries (wholesalers, distributors, brokers, or agents) is an indirect channel. Firms often utilize multiple channels to reach more customers and increase their effectiveness. Some companies find ways to increase their sales by forming strategic channel alliances with one another. Other companies look for ways to cut out the middlemen from the channel, a process known as disintermediation. Direct foreign investment, joint ventures, exporting, franchising, and licensing are some of the channels by which firms attempt to enter foreign markets.
Read this chapter. Please note that pages 91-98 will be a review from subunit 3.1. The terms "customer” and "consumer” are often mistakenly used interchangeably. The distinction is blurry because different organizations, academics, and governments have varying definitions for both of them. One easy way of distinguishing between the two is to think of the consumer as a potential customer to a firm and the customer as someone that already consumes the goods a specific firm produces. For example, if you regularly purchase shoes from Footlocker, you are a Footlocker customer. But if your friend does not shop at Footlocker, then Footlocker considers him a consumer, i.e., a potential customer. Firms often target consumers and existing customers differently.
Read this chapter, which discusses consumers' decision-making process and examines the situational, personal, psychological, and societal factors that influence their buying decisions.
Read this chapter, which examines the strategic planning process companies go through in order to develop, price, promote, and sell their products and services. The first section explains the value proposition and will help you to understand why a company may develop different value propositions for different target markets. After reading the chapter, please complete the discussion questions at the end of the chapter.
Read this chapter. The American Marketing Association defines marketing research this way: "Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information--information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, and analyzes and communicates the findings and their implications."
Read this chapter, which discusses marketing research and intelligence and the information systems that are used to manage the vast amount of data that results.
Read this article, which describes marketing research questions.
After reviewing the unit materials, please click on the link above and post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion forum. Feel free to start your own post and respond to other students' posts as well.
Pick a marketing campaign that has caught your attention. Who exactly are the marketers' customers? How might other businesses be part of their customer base? As you begin to launch a marketing campaign for your own company or service, who would be your customer base? What sorts of information would you need to obtain to provide precise detail to your customers? Beyond some of the resources suggested in this unit, what other research resources might you find useful? What sorts of information do these resources provide