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Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy
A sound understanding of consumer behavior is essential to the long-run success of any marketing program. In fact, it is seen as a cornerstone of the marketing concept, an important orientation or philosophy of many marketing managers.

The following descriptions explore the role of consumer behavior in designing and deploying three major marketing activities.

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Market-Opportunity Analysis
This activity involves examining trends and conditions in the marketplace to identify consumers' needs and wants that are not being fully satisfied. The analysis begins with a study of general market trends, such as consumers' lifestyles and income levels, which may suggest unsatisfied wants and needs. More specific examination involves assessing any unique abilities the company might have in satisfying identified consumer desires.

A variety of recent trends have resulted in many new product offerings for consumer satisfaction. For example, companies attuned to the fitness interests of Americans have been quick to offer such new products as exercise bicycles, weight training books, and clothing. In the health care field, companies sensing consumers' unmet medical needs have offered coin-operated blood pressure testing machines at shopping centers and other convenient locations.

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Target-Market Selection
The process of reviewing market opportunities often results in identifying distinct groupings of consumers who have unique wants and needs. This can result in a decision to approach each market segment with a unique marketing offering. Consider the soft drink market. Here, major segments of ultimate consumers are distinguished by the type of purchase situation: (1) the food store segment, (2) the "cold bottle" or vending machine segment, and (3) the fountain market, which includes fast-food outlets. Unique packaging arrangements (container type and size), point of purchase promotions, and other variations are made for each segment.

In other cases, the marketer may decide to concentrate company efforts on serving only one or a few of the identified target markets. An excellent example of this occurred in the bath soap market. By segmenting consumers according to their lifestyle patterns and personalities, the Colgate-Palmolive company was able to identify a unique group of consumers in need of a certain type of deodorant soap. Development of Irish Spring for this target group led to the capturing of 15 percent of the deodorant soap market within three years of introduction.

Marketing-Mix Determination
This stage involves developing and implementing a strategy for delivering an effective combination of want-satisfying features to consumers within target markets. A series of decisions are made on four major ingredients frequently referred to as the marketing mix-variables: product, price, place, and promotion.

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Source of Reference:
Albert Loudon and David Della Britta, Consumer Behavior : Concepts and Applications, , McGraw Hill. You can obtain this fine book here

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