Consumer Behavior and Groups

Informal and Formal Groups

In this week’s post, I will be reflecting on the various groups I belong to, categorizing each group as either formal or informal. In addition, I will be highlighting the significance of each group and how each contributes towards my overall purchase decisions keeping this criteria in mind:

Make a list of all the formal and informal groups that you belong to. Use the ATO model to determine which is the best fit for you to purchase (at least hypothetically). Which ones are most important to you? Reflect on why you believe this is. How long have you belonged to these groups? If they are formal groups, what was the process of joining?

Formal Group:

1.) American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)

Informal Groups:

1.) Friends

2.) Family

3.) Classmates

4.) Coworkers

As shown from the lists above, I am currently more involved in informal groups than I am in formal groups. In my last semester of college, I want to focus on my informal groups comprised of friends, family, and intellectuals in order to build a strong network of people to guide me in my future endeavors after I graduate. I usually turn to my friends and family for personal purchase decisions, such as renting a new apartment or adopting a new pet. I will ask my classmates for advice on more school-based purchase decisions, such as buying a new textbook or scheduling an elective class. I have been at my new job for nearly 6 months now, so I am just starting to branch out and ask different coworkers for different advice based on the project, task, or idea I need an opinion on.

Using the ATO Model, it is clear that informal groups have more persuasive qualities on my purchase decisions than formal groups. While I enjoy the opinions of club members in ABWA, the opinions of my closest friends, coworkers, and class mates have more effect on my overall purchases. These informal groups are more important to me as I have longer ties between each emotionally, and I see these members much more frequently than I do members of ABWA. In addition, formal groups require more commitment to interact with club members as certain outings or events may require attendance versus a member voluntarily choosing or not choosing to attend. The formal process to join the ABWA chapter at ASU is very simple; members must pay a yearly membership fee to the university and the national ABWA organization and attend meetings regularly in order to maintain a position.


Attitude-Toward-the-Object (ATO) Model and Sunglasses

ATO Model Sunglasses

For this week’s blog post, I will be using the ATO Model to determine which attributes I rate as the most important in the sunglasses product category. I will be analyzing three designer sunglass brands (Tiffany & Co., Prada, and Ralph Lauren) based off of my preferred product attributes: low price, design, and quality. Note: I will be referencing the price point featured at Sunglass Hut. The ATO Model is an excellent tool to use when deciding on a high-involvement or high-price consumer purchase. While most people go with their gut on large purchases, the ATO model puts reason behind your gut’s feelings while numerically describing your personal best options.  If you have never used an ATO model before, please refer to this resource for clarity and understanding.

ATO Model Prada Sunglasses

Attitude-Toward-the-Object Model Applied to Sunglasses

Brand               R.L.              T&C               Prada

Attribute     e     b     (b)(e)     b     (b)(e)     b     (b)(e)

Low Price   3     7     21         3      9           5       15

Design       2     7     14         9      18          5       10

Quality       2     8     16         7      14          7       14

Overall Attitude        51                 41                   39

ATO Model Consumer Behavior

Surprisingly, the results found from the ATO Model accurately describe my attitude toward each of the brands in the sunglasses product category. In fact, I recently bought a pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses keeping a pair of Tiffany & Co. sunglasses in the back of my mind. However, as price is the single most important attribute for me when deciding to buy a pair of designer sunglasses, Tiffany & Co. was infeasible and Ralph Lauren came out on top in every other attribute category. I feel great wearing my Ralph Lauren sunglasses, and I feel even more confident in making high-involvement purchase decisions in the future with the use of the ATO Model.

How Accurate Are Geodemographic Techniques?

PRIZM segmentation

American Classics SegmentationIn a consumer behavior class exercise, I was asked to enter the 5-digit zip code of my hometown into the PRIZM (Potential Ratings Index by ZIP Market) database and describe the results that I found. To my surprise, 85365 (Yuma, AZ) is comprised mostly of “American Classics,” or people who live the American Dream by being homeowners and raising families. This fact was the most surprising to me because Southern Arizona actually hosts the largest number of “American Classics” living in a single area throughout the United States. While I always knew that I grew up in a small community, I never realized just how many people’s lives centered around their homes and their families. As Yuma is home to many retirees and snow birds (or winter visitors that have second homes in the hot southwest), I agree with the PRIZM results. We also have a huge military base in Yuma, and many people get married and start families immediately after high school.

Multi Culti Mosaics SegmentationLikewise, I ran a similar test in my current neighborhood in Tempe, AZ. Since I live right by Arizona State University, I assumed the demographic would mostly describe my age and income level. However, I learned that Tempe has a lot of young, single parents with diverse backgrounds or Multi Culti Mosaics. I suppose this stems from Tempe being a hot-spot for first-time Americans and immigrants living in the United States. The university houses many foreign exchange students, and I have known a lot to stay until after they have received a masters education.

Are you interested to find which segmentation classification best describes you? If so, please follow this link! And remember to visit the blog next week for more insights on consumer behavior analysis.

What About Product Placement?

product placement in advertising

Product placement is a huge topic of debate in marketing and advertising. As many avid lovers of Sex and the City may remember, this hunk and his Absolut Vodka bottle took over an entire episode. In this week’s blog post, I will answer questions about product placement in digital advertising in reference to these articles: 1.) “How Much is This Shot Worth?” by Todd Wasserman and 2.) “Now in Blogs, Product Placement” by J. David Goodman. How do you feel about product placement? Check out the articles referenced above and read below to catch my take on product placement.

Has product placement influenced your purchase decision(s)? If so, do you remember the placement?

Product placement has influenced my purchase decisions and continues to do so. While many companies are bashed for using product placement, I find it an easy and for the most part likeable tool that marketers can use to display specific products or services to consumers. Once I started taking more advanced marketing and advertising classes, I began to notice product placement even more. Recently, I saw one of my favorite actresses wearing a beautiful pair of sunglasses that I wanted to buy. I searched for the sunglasses in the scene on Google and found cheap knock-offs similar to the product all over the Internet.

In what instances is product placement a service (a good)?

Product placement can include services such as Aflac insurance, as mentioned in the Wasserman article; however, it also includes physical products such as Absolut Vodka, as mentioned by Goodman in the New York Times article. It varies depending on the company and the media scene in which the product is placed.

Where does product placement not belong?

Personally, I can’t think of a reason not to include product placement in any type of venue or media as long as it is done so in such a way that pleases the consumer – i.e., not mentioning the direct brand but having it seen in the background, such as Reese’s Pieces in the film E.T. The biggest media area I see as a problem for product placement is blogging. As Goodman stated, all companies and bloggers are now required to state whether they promote “sponsored” or “unsponsored” posts. If the blogger is upfront about the sponsorship, I believe most people will accept it.

What is the future of product placement?

I see product placement becoming an ordinary part of a consumer’s life. Whether people like to admit it or not, they are inspired or motivated to buy certain things based off of who they have seen with the products or services or where they have seen the products and services displayed. While product placement may eventually become noise in the background that consumers will ignore, GM’s general director of marketing described it best: “One thing we do know for certain is that the right kind of integration does have a significant positive impact.” I believe consumers will agree as they will be more informed about the products and services they want to buy from product placement advertising.

Interested in learning more about marketing elements such as product placement? Follow my blog or add to the discussion in the comments below! *Note: Any images used in the blog were found publicly on Google and are not intended to infringe upon the rights of the brand(s) mentioned.

Nostalgic Ads – Do They Really Work?

In this week’s blog post, I will be describing four brands and their effectiveness at evoking nostalgia in their advertisements. In addition, I will recreate the Budweiser advertisement to intensify the feeling of nostalgia for my generation. *Note: All of these images were found publicly on Google and are not intended to infringe upon the rights of any brand represented.


McDonald's Nostalgia Advertising

I believe this ad does a great job at evoking nostalgia, particularly for an older generation target market. The ad showcases a past year, “1955,” and it also highlights the original price of a McDonald’s burger (15 cents!) in 1955. Likewise, the ad includes old architecture of the golden arches hanging over a drive-in style restaurant.

The Green Giant    

The Green Giant's Nostalgia AdvertisingAnother brand that chose to market one of its advertisements with a nostalgia theme is the Green Giant. While many consumers may know the Green Giant’s brand as synonymous with green beans, I’m willing to bet most consumers do not know the history of the brand. This ad captures the integrity of the brand by letting consumers know it’s been around for a long time and has not changed its core value of providing nutritional vegetables that help you grow big and strong. Furthermore, it creates a feeling of nostalgia with older consumers who have known the brand for many years.


Budweiser Nostalgia Advertisement

While McDonald’s and the Green Giant’s ads do an excellent job of taking the consumer way back to the brands’ roots, Budweiser’s ad focuses on a particular decade in America’s pastime: the 80’s! This ad centralizes on subtle cues that work together as a whole to re-create a fun and lively time from the brand’s history. The bright colors, cool shades, and large earrings tell a story from Generation X’s memory. Likewise, the old, plastic cup design relates to concerts, parties, and live events that occurred during the decade. While this ad may not resonate so well with millennials and younger generations, it certainly hits home with its target audience, Generation X.

In order to make this ad nostalgic to my generation (millennials), I would redesign the image to mirror a persona from my life’s experiences. An example could be accessorizing the model with college memorabilia or fashion from my 20’s and changing the plastic cup to a can or beer bottle. The change in the actual product would be relevant to me as most social gatherings in my 20’s involve cans or bottles of beer.

CoppertoneCoppertone Nostalgia Advertisement

When I started thinking of nostalgic advertisements, the first brand to pop in my mind was Coppertone. The brand’s advertisement on the right has remained tantamount with its name – so much so that the image is often replicated in the media and in families’ lives as having a “Coppertone butt.” I am sure that at the time this ad creative was originally presented to the marketplace, it was a huge success. The real success here, however, is that a single ad campaign became the defining image of a brand name and is parallel to sunscreen products and beach-time adventures everywhere.

Perception in Menus: How to Sway the Picky Eater

Consumer perception in food

In this blog post, I will be exploring how consumer perception plays a large role in the sale of goods and services, particularly in the restaurant industry. I will showcase three different restaurants in Tempe, AZ, and examine their menus to see what items I normally wouldn’t eat and what marketing elements might work to sway my mind.

Hunan Express: Chinese Cuisine

Hunan Express Consumer Perception

Hunan Express is my favorite Chinese restaurant in Tempe, and as such, the friendly owners have come to know me as a weekly visitor. Although I have a love for certain kinds of Chinese food, there are certain menu items that I am unwilling to try – mostly because I do not know what is in them. For example, the “Dan Dan Noodle” illustrates that the main ingredient of the meal is noodle, but there are no other descriptive details provided to paint a picture of the meal in my mind. I think I would be more willing to try this and other menu items if a small description with the meal’s ingredients was placed under each item name, thus making me a more informed consumer.

Macayo’s: Mexican Cuisine

Macayo's Consumer Perception

Macayo’s is a popular chain of Mexican restaurants located throughout the Phoenix Valley. I especially enjoy their cheese crisps and margaritas. When looking at their menu, I noticed that they had a new item bolded in red. When I saw “salmon” in the name, my first thought was to look over it as I HATE salmon and almost all other kinds of seafood. However, I saw that the item had a description beneath the title and so I decided to give it a look. The description is great in that it provides a lot of information about the ingredients of the meal to the consumer. On the other hand, the description does not provide a picture of the menu item next to its description, and so I immediately lost interest. I am sure that like many other consumers, I do not need visuals of common menu items (such as a cheese crisp or margarita in a Mexican restaurant) to know the basic elements of that meal. Yet, when I am looking at a new menu item, a picture might better explain what the meal will look and taste like than a description alone. Chances are that if more restaurants put images next to their new or unusual menu items, they will get more people to try their latest dishes.

RA Sushi

RA Sushi Consumer Perception

Whenever I am celebrating a special occasion, I choose RA Sushi to be my “victory” venue. In fact, I celebrated my 5-year anniversary there last year! The dark lighting and ambience makes RA a perfect place to enjoy a night out on the town. RA serves many items besides sushi, but they are known for their wide variety and combinations of sushi platters. Traditionally, I go for the sushi that doesn’t really taste like fish – ie, fried cream cheese rolls or spicy shrimp and crab rolls. Menu items are usually organized by the main type of meat or vegetable found in the sushi rolls, and so I try to avoid any “fishy” sections. In one section of the menu, I saw egg sushi rolls placed by “fishy” sushi rolls and this got me thinking. Although I have no idea what “sweet egg tamago” or “quail egg uzura” taste like, I probably would have never tried them – simply because they are next to the fish rolls in the menu. Restaurants should really focus on organizing their menus in such a way that instantly tells the consumer where to look based on their preferences. Otherwise, people may miss out on some phenomenal meals.

Interested in learning more about consumer behavior? Tune-in to my blog next week to catch up on some other current marketing trends!

Image: Evan

How Atmospherics Can Improve Patient Satisfaction

Atmospherics, consumer behavior

When one thinks of brick and mortar places that involve the exchange of goods and services, most do not think of doctors’ offices. As I have been visiting multiple doctors’ offices at the start of this New Year, I have decided to use my experience in these environments as an atmospherics/consumer behavior example. In this blog post, I will describe how atmospherics can improve the overall satisfaction of an unlikely consumer, a patient.

Sight. Out of a person’s five senses, the first one typically used by the body to study a new, external environment is sight. Doctors’ offices decorated with warm, homely colors instantly make me feel more comfortable, as I (and probably many others) associate medical vicinities with cold, metallic, and shiny surfaces.

Smell. Smell is most likely the next sense that directly affects my association with a particular environment. When I imagine a doctor’s office, the first smell I think of is rubbing alcohol or other harsh, sanitary smells. To me, these smells are connected to unpleasant memories, such as visiting the hospital, getting shots or having my blood removed. If a doctor’s office had fresh flowers on the reception desk or fragrant candles burning in the waiting area, my body would relax much faster than without.

Sound. Once I receive my medical paperwork from the receptionist, I sit down in the waiting area. What kinds of things do I normally hear? Receptionists talking too loudly to one another about office gossip, doctors’ murmurs emitting from patient rooms, or other patients speaking on their cell phones. What if the sounds I heard included classical music, running water from a fountain, or birds lightly chirping outside a window? Silent waiting rooms are death traps for the consumer experience as our nerves heighten while waiting for our name to be called next. It is especially important for medical professionals to have delicate, pleasant sounds in waiting areas of their offices.

Taste. Taste is a tricky atmospheric element in a doctor’s office simply because most times, a person does not need to taste anything to be seen by a physician. However, there are easy and enjoyable tastes a medical professional can offer in his or her workplace. For example as an avid coffee drinker, when I see a Keurig in a waiting area, I immediately go over and make myself a cup of coffee. Not only does it help the waiting time go by, but it also physically warms me up and lessens my anxiety. Doctors can also offer tea, water, and small snacks to improve the patient waiting experience to non-coffee drinkers.

Touch. Lastly, what consumer likes to sit in an uncomfortable chair? The answer is no consumer. While medical offices need to have furniture that can be kept clean of germs or diseases, it is also imperative to remember that comfortable furniture can make all the difference in a patient experience. Touch, while being the backburner of atmospherics in a doctor’s office, is the subtle element of comfort and overall trust to a patient.

*Note: Atmospherics involves the controllable characteristics of a retail space that entice a customer to enter the store, and which are designed to influence a customer’s mood so as to increase the odds of a purchase being made. Atmospherics include the store’s layout, noise level, temperature, lighting and decorations. A full definition can be found from Investopedia here.

Check out my blog next week for more tips on how to use marketing for good and improve the overall consumer experience!