With globalization world economic activities have become integrated by people being able to move across bonders while business can be able to operate internationally. So an environment has produced a complex market in term of diversity in consumption behaviour. For a business to survive the stiff competition that is resulting from economic integration, it has to set fundamentals right: consumer is the determinant of business performance (Trompenaar &Turner, 1997). This starts with the understanding of the diversity in the market so as to be able to serve any market segment the best way possible. Understanding market diversity facilitates the development of marketing mix to appeal to your customers the best way possible to outmatch any competition. Marketing mix refers to different aspects of marketing that relates to; price, product, placement and promotion which are generally referred to as ‘four p’s of marketing’. Consumer behaviour relates to why, when, where and how consumers make their consumption (Festinger, et al. 1957). This results from diversity in the market resulting from social, cultural and economic factors, the variations in consumption behaviour are more pronounced in market that are more heterogeneous with respect to these factors as opposed to where people share a lot in common. These diversities demands diversity marketing whose aim is to put into consideration all the segments putting into consideration differences in psychographic factors, social class, lifestyles and personalities. It structures communication mix and methods that help serve the diverse groups in the market. This marketing approach seeks to appreciate the fact that people who share different cultures and social background displays different consumption behaviour. They have different expectations, values, beliefs, tastes, ways of interactions and ways of entertainment.
For the new centre to operate there must be some form of exchange that are taking place. This occurs through marketing. Marketing links the producer to the consumers and enabling the producer get information about what the consumer wants. However consumers do not display similar wants or needs or neither is their needs static. This calls for constant seeking of information. The new centre requires to have a detailed understanding of the market before it starts operations.
Marketing research can be defined as a process of systematically identifying, collecting, analyzing and distributing information to get knowledge and facilitate decision making in business. It may be conducted at different times of the business and at different stages. It generally has six steps which includes; identifying and defining the problem, developing the approach, establishing research design and strategy, collecting data, performing data analysis and presentations just like any other research. Consumer analysis makes an integral part in market research and its there prudent that before a business starts operation to conduct consumer analysis.
The consumer research
This refers to the process used to obtain consumer information from the market. I will use it to test new market for the new centre.
To get timely, reliable, valid and complete data, I will make use of the following processes;
Setting consumer research objectives
My objective in the research will be to determine the factor that affect the consumption behaviour of the various segments of the markets. These segments will be made up of consumers who share a certain trait that give similarity in consumption such as people who share common believes, social background, ecology among others.
Planning consumer research
I will organize all the activities to be carried out, the time, financial requirement among other resources. The priority activities will be getting the segments and this will involve keen observation to be able to differentiate the behaviour. In the university those who come from the same country will form a segment by themselves.
To achieve the goals, i will incorporate different methods of data collection such as interviews, focus groups, internet survey and questionnaire.
I will conduct this to try and derive meaning from the data that I will get with respect to ideology, believe, ecology, esteem, hobby, among others. I will derive the causal effect that will help to explain the global consumption behaviour.
After analysing the data relating to consumer behaviour I will provide recommendation as to the best marketing mix that should be used at the new centre. This will be aimed at providing tailor made services that will enable the young people to reverse the trend of going to the neighbouring town and private centres.
Therefore the feasibility of the new centre cannot be derived from the inadequacy of the old facility. Rather, a detailed consumer research and consumer analysis have to be conducted to understand various segments in the market, their culture, priority, beliefs, self-esteem among other factors that need to be assessed so as to help come up with a marketing mix that gives the new centre a competitive edge. The differences that are reflected by the consumer buying behavior are determined by various factors. These are the factors that I will analyze so as to be able to give my recommendation to the management on the sport to include.
Consumers have different values which relates closely to their past experience and exposure. Such values may include; security perception, self respect, sense of accomplishment, sense of belonging, fun-enjoyment-excitement, and respect from others. Culture manipulates the perception that people have towards products. Culture affects priority of consumers in their choice of the consumption bundle. This demand tailor making of some services so as to fit a particular segment of the market. It is important to understand that the more diverse people are the more diverse is their consumption behavior. The students in the university for from 50 different countries may reflect 50 different cultures and ethnicity. To understand how this is likely to influence the demand of the firm then its important to conduct a study.
The different areas of culture that I will have to assess on the different segments relates to: the effect of individual habitats on their consumption based on the technologies from their place of origin. These cultures that are developed from ones adaption to the technologies or his place of origin are said to be ecological. For example, to some people sports means boat riding because they come from the sea shores, skating because they come from polar region, while others are only used to indoor games due to their domestic exposure. The other aspect of culture that I will have to look at is the social structure. This refers to how an individual behavior has been modified by exposure to a certain social life. This refers to refers to social behavior that can be emulated by an individual. The social life will affect the type of sports that one would chose as well as food that one’s eat. For example those student whose country of origin are likely to be oriented to football, this is because Brazil is a country that is known in football and the citizens there take pride while associating themselves with football. A segment identified that shares a common social structure can be served as a niche on its own rather than assuming a general taste. The other aspect with regard to culture that I will assess is that of ideology. People hold different ideologies with respect to different things. In some place women believe that they cannot participate in a kind of a sport, may be with a perception that that game is meant for men. If this forms a significant proportion of the market, then it’s important to create a distinct sport that such a group will perceive feminine. This therefore means that the number and level of orientation to those whose consumption pattern has been built by culture needs to be known to make informed decision about the services to provide.
Another aspect of culture that I will have to look at is the crescive norm; it is normally embedded in a culture and can only be noted upon interaction. As student come from the 50 countries to study in the university they bring with them their norms. This leads to customs, which are norms from the past handed over. Customs that have greater moral value are referred to as mores. An example of a more is a taboo and has an immense impact on the choice of services and goods to consume. For example a Muslim may not find it unfavorable if in the café there some pork that are cooked. Interaction can also result to conventions which refer to norms as a result of every day’s life conduct. For example if there is a tradition of the students to go to swimming pool in the afternoon, even the new students from other countries who may come in future will get assimilated to the others student behavior and hence modify the consumption behavior.
Additionally I will evaluate the rituals of different people too be able to know the possible fluctuations in the demand for services. This is because rituals are periodic, symbolic and multiple behaviours, that relates to a popular culture. This is important to be able manage and reduce wastage of resources. For example an influx would be expected in the new centre during the festival season such as December and holiday. I will also look at the response of the market to a new product. This helps understand how the market is able to change to a new fashion or popular culture.
I will also make effort to ensure that I understand the cultural production system (CPS). This would be important in the determination of product that eventually emerge. It happens that many different agents create a popular culture. My goal however would be to give recommendation on the components of CPS. Based on the cultural study of the market I will recommend on the most creative subsystem by telling them what sports to offer. In respect to management subsystem, I will provide recommendation on selecting, producing and managing the distribution of sport services. I will also seek to understand the market segments that that influence the information or symbols that the whole market is exposed to (cultural gatekeepers). This is because they have a greater impact in determining the consumption behavior of the whole diversified market. Similarly I will recommend on the best popular culture to be integrated into the marketing strategies. As business-related influences on a certain culture rise, marketer- centred symbols features in the market the more.
Attitude is generally perceived as that enduring feeling that is positive or negative about something or somebody and can either be explicit or implicit. For example, a certain segment of the market may have a negative attitude towards swimming. Attitude may depend from an individual previous encounter where by his or her experience was bad. It’s important to examine for example, do we have some student from a particular country that have a bad attitude associating with the another social group. Such analysis would be important in deciding what to locate where, e.g if a particular group of people have a negative attitude towards any person who is drank, then it would be prudent that the management assess the possibility of separating sport activities such that no one would feel out of place.
According to Osgood, Suci and Tannebam (1957), explicit attitude can either be bad or good, like or dislike and positive or negative. The goal then to the new centre is to ensure that it remain relevant to the market that it serves. In the consumer research then it important would be collected.
My recommendation on the basis attitude would be derived from the study done on the market. I would obtain data relating to the attitude towards sports and other services that can be provided in this centre. The question that I would engage the management into considering is why there exists attitude. It is simply because there are choices and consumers can be able to develop a liking of some and dislike of the other. This may be based on several other subjective factors: outlet of the services. Some may have a negative attitude because the facility is located far from where they live, or maybe they never had a nice experience the last time they were there, or simply because of the pricing. The new centre has to ensure that, it puts the financial strength of the market into consideration when coming up with the pricing strategy. Others may have their attitude based on the materials. Student who comes from a high income country may only feel comfortable to get into the facility if it is being maintained at a standard similar to what they are used to in their home country. This call for the management to ensure that the standards they maintain are acceptable by as many segments in the market as possible and every effort has to be made to ensure that any segment in the market finds joy using the facility. Attitude may also depend on colour, brand and also styles among others.
Attitude may be formed from exposure (Damasio, 1994). For example familiarity results to liking. This means that the new centre has a great role to play to create attitude. This can be done in form of advertising through media and other technologies. They can also employ any other technique for sometimes when they open to ensure that as many people as possible are able to access the facilities e.g. temporary free entry. Attitude can also be reshaped depending on the rewards being received. If one gets rewarded, then he develops a positive behaviour, if he is punished he develops a negative behaviour. Similarly, people develop behaviour depending on how they see others being rewarded. This means that there is a social learning that takes place when one realises that the other is getting rewarded. For example majority of the people may like a certain sport because they see the stars in those games gain high social status as it used to be with Tiger Woods in golf, as it is for Messi in football, Bolt in Athletics among others.
My advice to the new centre would be based on the fact that attitude can be adjusted through operant conditioning social learning and classical conditioning. Therefore it is the management’s effort in this that will determine how successful they become in winning the consumer’s attitude in their favour. For example they have to market the new facilities and reverse the people attitude against the public facility in the town. Also the service provision should be consistent otherwise consumer will readjust their attitude. They do so by re-interpreting their previous information, seek new information are change pattern of behaviour.
Self and selves
As people interact, they borrow some behaviour from others or impact from them. Self-concept refers to the structure of perceptions of oneself. This affects determines the intrapersonal and interpersonal processes. It therefore forms bases of one’s motivations and reaction to other people’s feedback. Therefore, consumption behaviour of individual will be dependent on the behaviour of others, environment in terms of in terms of technologies and resources that mediates his social relationship, and ideology and religious belief that contribute to self.
A pattern of beliefs that an individual has about his self worth is referred to as self-esteem (Goleman, 1995). It is developed from once experience from the past with relation to success and failure. Therefore a group of student originating from Africa and are gifted in athletics would have their esteem high if they can be able to participate to such an event as frequent as possible. High esteem has a positive relationship with expenditure. However, the effects of people’s interaction and impact on each other depend on the level of internal and external locus. In case of external locus control an individual have much personal control but allows the external forces to dominate. If the foreign students happen to have external locus of control then they are likely to emulate the consumption pattern of the native and therefore the new centre may just provide the services as they have always been provided traditionally. For an individual who has an internal locus of control will take charge of his behaviour based on the skills he has. In this case the difference between the consumption behaviour will be distinct and every segment will require special attention for a tailor made product.
The fact that the small town has great diversity in culture and ethnicity does not mean that there is no interpersonal influence (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Human beings are social and therefore there is constant exchange of information that may affect their consumption behaviour. Therefore to be able to give suitable recommendation about the sports sport orientation of various groups and therefore the marketing mix, I will have to analyze the influence that each group has on the other.
Interpersonal influence is the changed way of thinking or conduct resulting from rhetorical, expressive or accident communication of other people (Dostoevsky, 1961). Where deliberate effort to change a person way of thinking is made, then it becomes persuasive. These is a common phenomena wherever people of have different cultures, observation, moral values, education, religion, history among others meet. It is even more common to young people because they tend to have more leisure time that is used to exchange information (Smith et al., 1956). I will give attention to how students from the 50 countries are able to impact on each other and also how several groups in the town influence each other. The youth decision making are likely not to be independent of the group because they are mostly shaped by the social group. When an American youth who participate in the American football meets with a Chinese youth who like martial arts, they are likely to provoke each other in to doing which each one of them does. This means, though not everyone would accept the change a good proportion are likely to add to the sport activities that they were used to.
Assume we have two groups of young people, each 100, from Jamaica and Brazil. Also assume that due to sharing backgrounds those from Jamaica like athletics while those from Brazil like football.
This kind of an influence is likely to take place. Jamaican’s influence Brazilian’s in Participating in athletics while the Brazilian’s influence the Jamaican’s into participating in football. Therefore instead of the new centre to prepare to serve 100 of each sport, it should prepare to serve 150. Such observation should be made for all the groups to ensure that everyone in the heterogeneous market is considered.
Recommendation will be based on the finding of the research conducted. To start with the capacity of the facility should be able to accommodate at least those who were being served in the old facility and those who had sought better services from neighbouring town and private providers. Also there should be room for expansion just in case it becomes relevant in future. It should also be future oriented by observing the trends in consumer behaviour. Assuming the town having a high rate of inflow of youths, either immigrants or from other towns, and the current situation is such that majority of them are assimilated to the cultures of the natives, then it would be advisable to provide for expansion of the native preferred sport.
The most popular sport is likely to the one that the natives have a bias towards. This must be given the highest capacity. For sports are only performed seasonally depending on the rituals of the different groups, the one that has is shared by more people such those associated with Christmas festivals should be provided preferably from non permanent structure to avoid under employment during off peak. The price should be such that they observe the elasticity of demand. To avoid under employment of the minority facility, its important to charge them based on their ability to pay.
Promotion should be provided in a sensitive way to observe the culture of different groups in the market. Based on the familiarity and attitude concept, I would encourage the management to charge the least possible and where possible exemption for different groups to experience what is being offered by the new centre. Use of specific sport’s stars in promotion can make different segments to be persuaded into those sports. To check on the costs, management should not invest on fixed structure for seasonal sports.