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Companies use marketing to promote and sell their products or services, and consumer behavior is how consumers act and respond in the retail environment. In order for a company to create a strong marketing campaign, it is important to understand how and to what the consumer will respond. This relationship between marketing and consumer behavior involves studies, focus groups, psychological analyses and other methods of studying the market for a particular product or service.
Understanding consumer behavior is critical for marketing any product or service successfully. When a company can understand why people buy what they buy and the reasons behind their decisions as consumers, the company can create a marketing campaign that specifically addresses those elements of the purchasing decision. Not all products appeal to all people; the key for successful marketing is to understand the values of a specific consumer group — that's where focus groups, studies and psychology come into the picture.
Studying the relationship between marketing and consumer behavior provides companies with information about their target audiences that they can use when developing ad campaigns. Focus groups are a method of consumer research that involves small groups of people in which a product is discussed. This provides a small sample of how people will react to the product and what elements they find the most valuable.
The relationship between marketing and consumer behavior can also be studied through surveys. Potential consumers for a product or service can be given a list of questions about the product and asked to respond with a "yes" or "no" answer, or to rate elements of the product on most or least important. Surveys are often anonymous in order to encourage people to answer more freely about their preferences.
Buyer's clubs, such as those used at some grocery stores, are a marketing method used to track purchases for individual consumers. At check out, a club card can provide discounts on items as a benefit to the consumer as well as keep detailed lists of all the items an individual purchases, whether they are on sale or not. This provides valuable information for the company that can be used to target specific markets.
Often, understanding the relationship between marketing and consumer behavior relies on a simple psychological analyses of the intended audience and the ability to highlight the features that are most likely to resonate with that audience. A marketing campaign for high-end natural skin care products, for instance, is going to need a much different marketing strategy than a campaign used to sell hunting riffles. A successful campaign will take into account the target consumer as well as his buying behavior.
The sort of focus group taste testing you refer to, Telesyst, is also common in the candy and soft drink industries.
These focus groups often are made up of children in the target age group.
Especially in regards to candy, research has shown that flavor is only one component to a child's selection process, and may not even be the most important one.
Degree of sourness, gross appearance and the use of bright colors in candy making are also big sellers for young consumers.
Restaurants, especially fast food and other chain establishments, do extensive work with focus groups to determine what will sell.
These groups are asked to do much more than just indicate whether or not they like the flavor of a product. Instead, they break down every of the food they taste.
This gives the restaurant an idea of which flavors work best together, even if they seem like unlikely combinations, and what degree of spiciness or heat consumers can tolerate.
Chain restaurant test kitchens and head chefs put out numerous new recipe possibilities every year, but only a select few will ever make it onto the menu.
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