In small groups, as assigned by your instructor, take turns interviewing each person in the group about a product that each person absolutely loves or detests. Try to probe for the real reasons behind the emotions, touching on all the issues you read about in this chapter, from self-image to reference groups. Do you see any trends in the group’s collective answers? Do people learn anything about themselves when answering the group’s questions? Does anyone get defensive about his or her reasons for loving or hating a product? Be prepared to share with the class at least two marketing insights you learned through this exercise.
Building Your Team Skills
In the course of planning a marketing strategy, marketers need to analyze the external environment to consider how forces outside the firm may create new opportunities and challenges. One important environmental factor for merchandise buyers at Sears is weather conditions. For example, when merchandise buyers for lawn and garden products think about the assortment and number of products to purchase for the chain’s stores, they don’t place any orders without first poring over long-range weather forecasts for each market. In particular, temperature and precipitation predictions for the coming 12 months are critical to the company’s marketing plan, because they offer clues to consumer demand for barbecues, lawn furniture, gardening tools, and other merchandise. What other products would benefit from examining weather forecasts? With your team, brainstorm to identify at least three types of products (in addition to lawn and garden items) for which Sears should examine the weather as part of its analysis of the external environment. Share your recommendations with the entire class. How many teams identified the same products your team did?
Developing Your Research Skills
From recent issues of business journals and newspapers (print or online editions), select an article that describes in some detail a particular company’s attempt to build relationships with its customers (either in general or for a particular product or product line)
1. Describe the company’s market. What geographic, demographic, behavioral, or psychographic segments of the market is the company targeting?
2. How does the company communicate with and learn about its customers?
3. According to the article, how successful has the company been in understanding its customers?