Consumer Who? Consumer You

The type of Consumer that I am

Hmmm, What do I buy??

A lot about what I am reading so far is about doing market research about the Consumer. I find it interesting that we do not turn that around. Maybe then we could readily find our target market. Let me explain. The Consumer is in the drivers seat and we know what we want. So with that being said, I am that type of buyer (AMCI Global, N.D.). I don’t stray too much unless the current brand or item that I like is out of stock or no longer made. For example, if I like a particular brand of jeans because of how they fit, I will just buy that brand. I shop mainly online and at local stores like Target, Kohls or TJmax. I feel comfortable knowing that I have a go to place.

I also shop a lot on Amazon for home goods and personal items. Amazon is the largest and most successful retailer in the western world because they built the best customer experience. Customers expect 3 core things when they buy products online:

1. Large Selection

2 Consumers always want to find the product they are looking for

3. and, of course, this product should be in stock (Jordan, F., 2020).

Things that influence my buying decisions?

My friends and family influence me.  Also, online ads through Facebook and other outlets sometimes sway me into buying a certain item. If I am looking for a particular thing, I may go to a store that I don’t typically shop at. Even if I don’t actually buy something, as we all are, I am most likely exposed to marketing information in the form of advertisements, product information on packages, opinions from friends or family, and brand symbols on almost everything. These things seem to matter at the moment only to realize they are not filling any void (Kardes, F. N.D.).

Things that lead to my buying decision

There are several stages that lead me to make a purchase.   I mainly buy when something is needed.  I don’t binge shop and I don’t shop a lot.  I have a lot of nice clothes and I shop once or twice per season.  I typically spend what I can so that is a factor as well. For some of us it is an emotional pull or a mental/cognitive state that we find ourselves being compelled to buy. Maybe a sad commercial or exciting ad. Whatever the reason, we are all motivated by something to make a purchase. For example, I purchased a car in 2018 because I had a lease that needed to be turned in and decided to pay cash for a used Acura (Kardes, F., N.D.). Need is definitely a major component for my decisions to buy.

How I am influenced by marketing research and design?

Customer delight goes a step beyond customer perceived value, suggesting customer benefits that not only meet, but also exceed expectations in unanticipated ways (Kardes, F., N.D.). My husband researches everything that he purchases which rubbed off on me. I look for reviews before I purchase something and I am more influenced by those reviews than how the item is marketed and the packaging.

I tend to stick to a brand that works for me. Certain things that we buy like toilet paper matters. If we buy two ply the toilet backs up. So we stick to the on ply Scottie brand. When it comes to clothing, I look for comments on the fit/style etc. Almost all companies have a review page online these days so it is easier to find opinions about the things we buy (Kardes, F., N.D.).

My Post Purchase Behavior

I tend to get bored with things like when I receive an order from Amazon it may not look like it did online. I also have things that still have tags on them and don’t know why I have not worn them yet. It is really silly when you think about it. We get bored and toss things or give them away or hoard. The idea that something that works fine should be replaced is now so ingrained in our culture that few people question it. I sometimes feel guilty about the items I have with tags on them and plan to do better in donating rather than tossing things. Even things that are old to me could be of value to a person that does not have much (Vince, G., 2012).

References

AMCI Global (N.D.). What to Do Now That the Consumer Is Back in the Driver’s Seat. AMCIglobal.com. Retrieved from https://amciglobal.com/consumer-are-back-in-the-drivers-seat/.
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Jordan, F. Why is Amazon so successful? sellics.com. Retrieved from https://sellics.com/blog-how-amazon-became-the-most-successful-store-in-the-world/.

Kardes, F. Consumer Behavior, 2e. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305161689/ .

Vince, G. (2012). The high cost of our throwaway culture. bbc.com. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20121129-the-cost-of-our-throwaway-culture.

5.1 Blog Top Dog Versus Underdog, Microsoft Versus Apple

Microsoft versus Apple

I chose Microsoft Versus Apple for my Top Dog assignment for our week 5 discussion. the reason I chose these companies is because they are both very powerful and well known, yet polar opposites. Microsoft has had many competitors over the years including Gaming, Sony, Nintendo, and Google online. However, none has been as large as than their rivalry with Apple. This struggle saw the late Steve Jobs compete with Bill Gates for dominance in computing with the latter prevailing until Apple became the top dog thanks to their efforts in mobile and tablets (Watchmojo, 2014).

Brand Strategy differences

Brand Strategy - Alpha Co. Marketing & Media
Microsoft Versus Apple

Microsoft and Apple are both successful in the enterprise, but these two tech giants have claimed that success using different strategies (while also at times stealing from the other’s playbook). Microsoft focuses on ubiquity. Apple focuses mainly on uniformity, quality branding a style. Whether you are a Mac or PC fan, these two major players have pushed innovation to new heights (Watchmojo, 2014).

Although the numbers suggest Windows 10 is more popular, it’s also important to note that Windows 10 is available on more tablets and laptops than macOS or iOS, with greater options for entry-level and budget models. It’s easier to own multiple Windows 10 devices on a budget, compared to Apple’s smartphones, tablets and notebooks. These numbers don’t suggest Apple is failing in the enterprise — quite the opposite (White, S. K., 2017).

A survey conducted by Dimensional Research for Jamf, a company that offers management software for Apple devices, found Mac and iPad adoption are on the rise in the enterprise. Of the 300 IT professionals, managers and executives surveyed, 99 percent said their organization uses iPhones and iPads, while 91 percent say they have Macs in-house (White, S. K., 2017).

How the Underdog
Can Improve it’s Strategy

Competitor Analysis Essentials - DIY Basics

To clear up any confusion, Apple and Microsoft have been underdog at times depending on how you look at things. In this article Microsoft held it’s own and in 2017 Apple increased it’s popularity. It is all based on consumer need and what is popular at a given time. So in this next section, the advice given is generic and straight forward depending on who the underdog is at this point (White, S., 2017) .

One strategy that can work when it comes to improving a company’s underdog status to a power player against it’s competitor is a few things:

1. Increase ambiguity in the market place by making comparisons difficult.
2. Do the opposite of market leaders. Market leaders promote the status quo, but underdogs need to disrupt it. Market leaders need to increase ambiguity in the marketplace, but underdogs need to decrease it.
3. Encouraging consumers to challenge their current beliefs can also be helpful to underdog brands (Kardes, F., N.D.).

Why do Consumers Prefer the
Top Dog over the UnderDog?

Northern Alberta's 2018 Consumer Choice Award Winners

Brand resonance refers to a consumer’s intense and actively loyal relationship with a brand. Brand resonance leads to high purchase frequencies and volumes, feelings of attachment, feelings of brand community or kinship with other users of the brand (e.g., anyone who uses my brand must be a good per- son), and active engagement, such as joining a fan club for the brand (White, S., 2017).

Microsoft’s success in the enterprise hinges on pushing higher-end devices, like the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4, to compete with the reliability and durability of the MacBook. Meanwhile, Apple needs to focus on addressing user’s gripes with lackluster features on the latest MacBook Pro and iPhone 7. They also need to focus on multiple adapters and broadening its reach with more affordable hardware (White, S., 2017).

My Personal Choice

A Personal Choice | Think & Be Positive

Personally I have always loved IPhones until 2017 when I noticed the quality of the battery life and the heating of the phones after only having for a few years. Some people change their iPhone when a new one comes out. I hold onto everything until it needs to be replaced. With that being said, I still have the iPhone 6S and just started noticing that it overheats and the battery does not hold a charge for long. Therefore, I am thinking about changing to an Android like my husband who never complains about his phone.

As for Microsoft, I just trust it completely. I use Microsoft office online tools, laptops and macbooks. My son and husband have the macbook. They swear by it. One of the most relevant advantages of buying Mac instead of Windows laptop is the powerful operation system – Mac OS X and iLife. The soul of the machine is loaded with unique and very useful features. It has a very elegant UI that is easily accessible and navigable (Apple Press Release, 2019).

The user interface (UI) is the point of human-computer interaction and communication in a device. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. It is also the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website. So we are bigger Microsoft fans than Apple and consider them to be the Top Dog for our technology choices (Apple Press Release, 2019).

Final Thoughts

final thoughts

Branding, positioning, and other external factors such as visual elements influence consumer preferences for the top dog versus the underdog. Your customers are at the center of the process. We live in a time of unlimited choice. Whereas we used to have a few options to choose from, suddenly we’re overwhelmed with seemingly endless possibilities. It also doesn’t help that we’re bombarded with over 10,000 marketing messages a day (Sullivan, F., 2019).

Brands face the challenge of rising above the din and proving their worth. Once a brand has captured the audience’s interest, they want to know immediately that it can substantiate its claims. If not, they’re going to move along—and it can take a lot of effort and marketing to get them back. Apple is going to have to really step up to the plate when it comes to quality and not just a pretty packaging (Sullivan, F., 2019).

References

Apple Press Release (2019). Apple introduces 16-inch MacBook Pro, the world’s best pro notebook. apple.com. Retrieved from https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/11/apple-introduces-16-inch-macbook-pro-the-worlds-best-pro-notebook/.

Kardes, F. (N.D.). Kardes, F. Consumer Behavior, 2e. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781305161689/.

Sullivan, F. C. (2019). Let’s Talk About Brand Positioning and Purpose. medium.com. Retrieved from https://medium.com/s/how-to-build-a-brand/lets-talk-about-brand-positioning-and-purpose-b74a51da9896.

Watchmojo, (2014). Top 10 Business Rivalries. Youtube.com. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OE4Q60Dzyw.

White, S. (2017). Microsoft vs. Apple: Strategies change but the battle continues. Apple.com. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3188853/microsoft-vs-apple-strategies-change-but-the-battle-continues.html.



Marketing Perspective – Influencers

What I notice about this type of marketing

I watched the 60 Minutes special Here about social media influencers which included Kim Kardashian, Logan Paul, Andrew Bachelor and a few other up and comings. What I noticed right away is the less is more approach. They are not doing anything out of the ordinary nor breaking any laws. For example, Logan Paul does crazy splits in the middle of nowhere and around crowds of people and throws his hands up. This has gotten him millions of followers across the world inside and outside of the U.S. Andrew Bachelor does silly 6 minute vines which are short videos. As for Kim Kardashian, everyone knows here just for being her (60 Minutes, 2019).

What strategies are they employing?

What do they all have in common? The ability to engage their followers with antics and entertain us all in ways that are simple and effective. Nothing is really thought out. They make hundreds of thousands to promote well known products and businesses throughout the world. Businesses like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts are in a way being re branded through these influencers without having to pay ad money on their end and therefore they pay the influencers direct. This is in a sense ingenious. The strategy here would be to get paid while growing their brand basically for free (60 Minutes, 2019).

Roles these Influencers play in marketing

By promoting major brands, this gives a whole vibe to advertising. When a major influencer such as Kim Kardashian does her makeup tutorials the products that she uses from blush, eyeliner to the brushes increase that brands sales. She then in turn makes money when that happens. It is positive PR for the brand and income for Kim (60 Minutes, 2019).

How the use of marketing perspective impacts the relationship between the company and the consumer?

When a company’s brand is shown in a different way through a social media influencer, it gives us the consumer a fresh spin on the brand and makes us want to purchase. For the company it builds a new found confidence in their organization if they were having difficulty connecting with a target market. For example, maybe there are teenagers that don’t purchase certain items. When seeing an influencer such as Logan Paul or Kim Kardashian endorse the product or company, now they too think it is cool. This builds loyalty and trust between the company and consumer without it even being realized (60 Minutes, 2019).

Resources

60 Minutes (2019). The Influencers – CBS News. cbsnews.com Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-kim-kardashian-logan-paul-social-media-influencers/

Digital Advertising Predictions

Top three trends to watch

There are many top trends to watch. For a more detailed list click Here. For now I have chosen three of my top favorites which include personalization, video marketing and social messaging apps. These methods are the top trends for 2020 and 2021 so far (Dave, N., N.D.). Given the light of our current landscape, technology will be our go to for a long time.

Personalization means using audience and data analytics to meet the individual needs of a consumer. In order to do this online communication and research is necessary and should be ongoing/never ending. The market changes quickly and as a marketer there is no excuse not to stay up with it. That is our job (Dave, N., N.D.).

Start by using your data to outline the details of who each of your customers is, what their intention is at any particular moment, and where, when, and how they’ve engaged with your brand previously. Then reach out according to that data. Companies such as Starbucks, Netflix and Cadbury’s have used this method and have seen increases in sales by using personalization with their content (Dave, N., N.D.).

Cadbury’s which is a chocolate candy company, has seen a 65% CTR for their email campaign’s yielding a 33.6% conversion increase. Personalized email have an open rate that is 3X higher than regular email. Customers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs. That’s where personalization comes in (Sitecore, N.D.).

The next big ticket item to watch for in the digital advertising space is video marketing. Some of you may be nodding off because the idea of video marketing is not new. Just hold on because I am not taking about the boring traditional videos. As a matter of face nobody is that connected to that method anymore (Dave, N., N.D.).

What I am exploring now are Live videos, Interactive videos and 360 degree videos are the new video marketing trend. Live videos can be done on Facebook and LinkedIn. They can be done direct with their interface or through live streaming resources like StreamYard (Dave, N., N.D.). For more information look up top video trends for 2020 or 2021.

Live video is becoming more popular with businesses across the U.S. For things like interviews, product demos and networking, it is bring people together while staying safe. One to one video is when a business or marketer creates a personalized video message and posts it or sends it to people as opposed to traditional email. Interactive video is where an avatar is used to explain things and there is a take button (click here or contact us here) connected to it (Dave, N., N.D.).

Finally the 360 D video has symbols or buttons that can be moved around to change the scene or go to a different area. This experience is on the rise. Think of this as virtual reality. This is where a human can interact with the digital media on a screen, mobile phone or by swiping their hands to move an object (U.S. Digital Partners, 2019).

This experience teleported the public to a Marriott Hotel first then on to a Hawaiian beach, which helped position Marriott as a forward-looking and relevant brand within the travel market. The forecast is one that marketers agree with. It will bring communication to another level literally and figuratively (Dave, N., N.D.).

Virtual reality could be effective for educational purposes, business exchange such as showcasing a product like a game or virtual boardroom etc. It is currently being used for Drew Barrymore and her new talk show SEE HERE. She has interviews with people that are at home, but it looks like they are on stage with her (The Drew Barrymore Show, 2020).

Social messaging apps are not just for friends anymore. Over 10 billion consumers and businesses exchange messages on Facebook each month. On WhatsApp there are 1.6 billion users and 55 billion messages exchanged daily. The top three apps are Facebook messenger, WeChat and WhatsApp (Dave, N., N.D.). 80% of the users are between the ages of 20 and 45. They are not going anywhere anytime soon (Wang, J., 2020).

My prediction for all of the above is that a lot of people are not jumping on the band wagon including marketers. Without some of the media solutions above and listed in the hyperlinks, we will fall behind in the industry. These tools and resources work (Small Biz Daily, 2019).

They can be used for yourself and your clients and also sold as a digital resource for them as a standalone sale. That is right. Along with making video content for marketing myself, I could build these videos, personalized templates and clickable links for my prospects. Either way we choose, to not try something is the only wrong move (Small Biz Daily, 2019).

References

Dave, N. (N.D.). 42 Digital Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2020. singlegrain.com. Retrieved from https://www.singlegrain.com/digital-marketing/digital-marketing-trends-2020/.

Sitecore (N.D.). Personalization: The Basics. sitecore.com. Retrieved from https://www.sitecore.com/knowledge-center/digital-marketing-resources/what-is-personalization-and-how-to-approach-it.

Small Biz Daily (2019). If You’re Not Keeping up With the Latest Trends, Your Business Could Get Left Behind. smallbizdaily.com. Retrieved from https://www.smallbizdaily.com/if-youre-not-keeping-up-with-the-latest-trends-your-business-could-get-left-behind/.

The Drew Barrymore Show (2020). Drew Barrymore Reunites with Her Ex Tom Green for the First Time in 15 Years. youtube.com. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8asvgGk05ZI&t=282s.

US Digital Partners (2019). The Future of Digital Reality in Business. usdigitalpartners.com. Retrieved from https://www.usdigitalpartners.com/future-virtual-reality-business/#:~:text=There%20are%20other%20uses%20for,real%2Dworld%20scenarios%20through%20VR.

Wang, J. (2016). The Future of Social and Messaging Apps – Predictions for 2020. ark-invest.com. Retrieved from https://ark-invest.com/analyst-research/social-messaging-apps/.

Why is Search engine optimization (SEO) important?

Image result for search engine optimization
SEO, Keywords, WordPress, Site123.me, Wix.com

My reason for using SEO

When I first started in my career of online marketing six years ago after being in the administrative and upper management industry for over 20 years, I taught myself about building WordPress, Wix,com, and other websites. If you can build a WordPress website, you can build any web page. WordPress is sort of tough to build and has a lot of quirks, however, once you navigate through it you learn a lot (Mattreport, N.D.).

One of the features that is very popular on WordPress is their Yoast SEO, which is a built in tool that when utilized, takes the key words that you enter and puts the site on higher Google ranks as those words are searched and your website comes up on the search engine. There is color coding. Red means try again, Orange means, keep going, yellow is almost there and green means you have met the key word/SEO qualifications. It is not easy to get to green (Mattreport, N.D.).

Image result for greenlight seo

How to get the green light in WordPress

In order to get to green, you have to be sure that the content in that you have throughout your web pages matches the key words in the Yoast SEO boxes. Then when you put those words in one area, you have to re – type them in another area. The colors also includes the quality of the page so this on top of the correct key word usage can make it tougher to get the green code because you have to keep tweaking the site accordingly. For example: If you key words are Graham Marketing or Virtual Marketing but you don’t have those words in your pages accordingly, WordPress will have a message pop up telling you to go back to the particular page that you are working on and correct these areas Yoast, N.D.).

What is SERP?

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, which may also contain other results such as advertisements (Google N.D.). These pages are known as landing pages, social media pages and even blogs.

Other places that utilize the SEO tool

Wix.com, and Site123.me have built in SEO wizards that tell you the key words to put in. This is so much easier than WordPress because we don’t have to guess at what to put into the word box. In Site123 it looks something like the image above (Appsite123, 2019).

Image result for using hashtags for seo

SEO is not just putting keywords into a website. It is also hashtags. They help you to categorize your content and help social media users find it. Be careful with hashtags, though; hashtag use varies from platform to platform. By using hashtags to identify key trends on Google, you can discover social engagement trends which can later be incorporated into posts on Google+ and other social networks. This means that SEOs can get their social content to the top of the pile by promoting posts successfully across Google+ (Google, N.D.).

Google charges you to get you on their list. SEO is a free way to do this organically which is amazing when you think about it. I have used this method and will continue to use it until something different or better comes along.

Lydia Graham
Graham Virtual Marketing Solutions
www.grahamvmsolutions.org
Phone: (203) 701 – 9115
Reach out today for your free consultation

References

Appite123me (2019). Website Appsite123me.com. Retrieved from https://app.site123.com/manager/wizard

Matttreport (N.D.). WordPress is not easy. Matt report. Retrieved from https://mattreport.com/wordpress-is-not-easy/

Yoast (N.D.). WordPress SEO: the definitive guide. Yoast.com. Retrieved from https://yoast.com/wordpress-seo/

Google (2019). Greenlight – SEO search. Google.com. Retrieved https://www.google.com/search?q=greenlight+seo&safe=active&sxsrf=ACYBGNTbG_KWu9JFGERfyphdmcNH8Rp_fw:1576639892045&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjP19Clob7mAhUnUt8KHWTqAPoQ_AUoAnoECAwQBA&biw=1366&bih=625#imgrc=60IYNc3fCkc17M:

Google (2019). What is SERP? Google.com. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?safe=active&sxsrf=ACYBGNR6zQzwSKhSrX7WdWUC5N3cMUpWzA%3A1576637960871&source=hp&ei=CJb5XbvZMui1ggeq_5Fo&q=serp%27s&oq=serp%27s&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0j38j0i30l8.80.10844..11836…5.0..0.838.2848.2-2j1j0j2j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131j0i20i263.M45u3bQxG6s&ved=0ahUKEwi7_eCMmr7mAhXomuAKHap_BA0Q4dUDCAg&uact=5

Google (2019). Using hashtags for SEO. Google.com. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?safe=active&sxsrf=ACYBGNTHNEDF1PIF7YOOeQTUta9axnxOQg%3A1576641037002&source=hp&ei=DKL5XdijOq-3gge43bXYCw&q=using+hashtags+for+seo&oq=using+hashtags+for+seo&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i22i30.205867.211839..212228…4.0..0.1012.4672.0j4j3j3j1j0j1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0j0i13i5i30j0i13i30j33i22i29i30.r3GUX7lIvWE&ved=0ahUKEwjY2cjHpb7mAhWvm-AKHbhuDbsQ4dUDCAg&uact=5

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