Retailers often think that the buying pattern of customers is very random. They think that the buying pattern of the customer is straightforward, they purchase the product or they do not. The customers approach the product market with a straight mindset, which is to try out the product and then buy it (Solomon, 2014). The satisfaction derived by the customer depends on trying out various products for the same purpose and then buying one. However, in practice the process of purchasing is just one step and the real process consists of six stages which help the buyers and sellers to benefit equally.
- Whenever a problem arises for a customer be it for goods or services they need to identify the product that will solve their problem. The reason should be clear to them as to what is the requirement and from where to procure it. However, if the need varies from the problem then the customer needs to set his priorities again.
- When the customer gets hold of his problem, his quest for the product begins. When they get hold of the issue, soon afterwards they start looking for the solution at their specific budget. The point of view of the customer is always straightforward (Pinto et al., 2015).
- The customer will then try to look for some alternatives as to try out different options that may fix his problem. In the present market conditions, where the customer is left with many options to choose from, he will go for the best alternative product that is available at the best possible price.
- The decision to buy the product comes after thorough research that the customer does while trying to figure out the best product. After exploring the market, the customer has a set mindset on what product to buy and at what price and to proceed with the purchase or not.
- As soon as the product is final and the decision is made on purchasing the product, the customer purchases it from the dealer. This is one of the important stages of marketing.
- Soon after the purchase is made, the relation of the dealer and the customer does not end. In order to hold on the customer, the dealer has to keep a check on that customer timely. If the customer is not satisfied with the product, then the dealer needs to work on an exchange program or replace the product to gain the trust of the customer (Bruner II & Pomazal, 2013).
Social Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior
The social factors are the ones that are present in the society where the consumers live. Since a society comprises of individuals who have different tastes and preferences, the consumers are open to a varied number of choices. One of the major influences on the consumer is that the preferences and behavior pattern of a family. Since the individual grows and develops the tastes within the family, his consuming pattern also depends on this factor. There are two types of families, the first is where the consumer is born and develops which is known as Oriental type of family, the second is where the individual himself creates a family that consists of spouse, and children know as the Procreation family (Goh, Heng & Lin, 2013).
Another type of social factor is the reference group where the individual becomes a member of a particular group. The buying pattern of a consumer gets strongly influenced over each other in a group. Here the initiator initiates what product to buy, the influencer gives his necessary inputs to influence others in buying the product, and the decision maker takes the final decision as to what product to buy and finally the buyer who purchases the product who takes all the consideration in to account (Hugstad, Taylo & Bruce, 2013).
The third type of social factor is the status of that individual. The individual will purchase only those products that will define their status in the society. The dealer needs to understand the position the customer holds in the society and be prepared with that type of products which will suit him (Javadi et al., 2012).
Cultural Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior
These factors are the one that an individual acquires during the course of his life time through their family or other institutions. The preference pattern and perceptions develop over a period as and when the individual grows. Culture is defined as the custom or tradition an individual follows. As and when the individual grows up and acquires the knowledge of buying and to take decisions, which is good for the person (Leonidou, Leonidou & Kyasova, 2013). Cultural practices vary from place to place and are different on a global scale. Culture can further be divided into subculture where the basis of culture narrows down to specific beliefs. It depends on the region, religion and the country from where the individual belongs. The various sub cultures has to be taken into account by the marketer before selling his products (Schiffman et al., 2013).
The social class also influences the pattern of buying of an individual. The society is divided into upper, middle and lower class. The individual belonging to any of that section shares the same interest that the other person also has. The upper class people will buy lavish goods and can afford to pay whereas the middle class family will have necessary items more and less of luxury products. The lower class will only have the necessary products as they can only afford that. These are some of the factors, which influences an individual in the decision of buying products culturally (Solomon, Russell-Benett & Previte, 2012).
To understand the marketing mix properly, an example of one of the largest dairy farms in Australia has been taken, Fonterra and the product being TIP TOP Berry Ripple ice cream. They supply to more than 140 countries and has farmlands globally. They employ around 16,000 people to manage their large farms and produce one of the best qualities of milk products. They apply various marketing strategies so that their products are available without any difficulty to their customers through local dairy shops and also through the supermarkets.
It is one of the most important factors in the marketing mix as the organization earns revenue based on its pricing of the product. The pricing policies constantly change depending on the shares in the market and the factor of fluctuation being present (Goi, 2015). Fonterra’s TIP TOP berry ice cream was priced at $4.99, which helped them, capture the market on the first hand ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016). Once the market is captured they will increase the price as that will give them the competitive edge over others. Consumers will pay more for that product as they got a taste of it and think that the product is superior to the ones available in the market.
The ice cream provided by TIP TOP proves out to be beneficial for people of all ages. It has all the valuables that milk contains in a tub of ice cream that everyone likes, unlike milk, which may not be liked by certain people of the society. The product has no artificial ingredients, there is no adulteration, and the percentage of fat is very less ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016). The sugar content of the product is also very less thus making the product very healthy and enjoyable.
The manufacturing of the ice cream takes place in the factory where it is stored in big tubs and cones of all different types. After the completion of the product, it gets packed and transported to various wholesalers and retail outlets in and around Australia through trucks. The store then via word of mouth policy ensures that the consumers are aware of the availability of the product.
It is the strategy that the company undertakes to communicate the presence of the product to the target market. Promotion involves the process of awareness created by the company to its customers as new goods are always available in the market on a daily basis. Promotion helps in identifying the product and the company that is there in the market to its target customers. It also shapes up the demand supply chain of the product and highlight the product when any customers enters a shop (Tapp & Spotswood, 2013). The promotional activities taken up by TIP TOP are through ads and free sampling of the product.
The advertising medium used by TIP TOP is mainly restricted to billboards in bus stands and through television. Since the mark audience is mainly children, so the use of newspapers will be an added cost to the company as children do not read papers ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016). So in between, any cartoon program an ad of some seconds can leave a lasting impression of the product in the mind of the child. The logo used by the company also states that on a hot summer families are spending time with each other also have an impact on many families.
The promotional method that the company uses is that for every goods worth $10.00 or more, the customer will receive an additional one point as benefit. This type of promotions helps the brand to be recognized amongst the people. Frees samples are also provided in the sampling points that are available in the stores or on a beach on a hot day also helps in brand recognition.
Sponsoring social events is an useful way of creating brand awareness and brand image of the product. TIP TOP contributes 1% of the sales for every trumpet that is sold in the country and 2% of the sales is contributed to social events and charities on the sale of 2-litre tubs of ice cream ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016).
Communication and Coordination
The status that a company achieves in the market is because of a good workforce that prevails inside the company (Khan, 2014). Fonterra’s process includes the human resource management (HRM), research and development (R&D), and the secretarial teams that make this brand worthy to its customers.
The HRM team focuses on the hiring and directing of the employees to get a better output. the team recruits the best possible employees that are available and guides them through various training processes which help them in understanding the product and manufacturing it. The team looks after the organizational structure, benefits and employee motivation so that the employees have a healthy environment to work in. The team hires best in class web designers so that the products of Fonterra are available online for the customers to get access ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016).
The R&D team is of great importance as they keep a track on the competition and the manufacturing processes. The team keeps a regular check on the ads that are being published so that rival companies do not manufacture the same product. They also provide feedbacks and thoughts about how to improve the products depending on the change in the preferences of the consumers. This team looks after all the needs of the consumers and the marketing factor ("Fonterra - Our Brands", 2016).
Communication is also an important part to influence behavioral patterns in a company. The channels of communication can be messages, calls or emails. For the communication to be effective, an appropriate medium needs to be taken so that the message reaches without any delay (Cross, Belich & Rudelius, 2015). Fonterra uses messages, emails, videos and power point presentation as a means of effective communication.
Market Segmentation used by Fonterra
Fonterra has one of the best market segmentation strategies. They have segmented their market specifically according to age. Since all age groups like ice cream the company tries to attract people according to their ages such as young children likes some good, new and refreshing flavors while the adult generation may try to try out some new flavors (Wedel & Kamakura, 2012). The older generation will always go for their old time classics what they used to enjoy in their young ages.
TIP TOP ice cream also conducts small interviews with their customers when they come to buy product as to what new products or flavors can be done to be the crowd favorite. They take qualitative feedbacks from their customers, which help them to make the product better while staying in the same price range (Baker & Saren, 2016). Since customer loyalty plays a big part in the company they give bonus points to the customers who buy products worth $10.00 or more. This is a tactic that they use in order to retain their customer base and also earn more customers.
Target Market of Fonterra
While selecting the target audience of a product by the company, they have to choose whether the company will be focused on one group or it will be available for all types of groups living in a society (Hennart, 2012). Due to a vast customer base of Fonterra, the expert team manages the target audience very wisely. The monetary profits that the company will gain by selling TIP TOP are well executed by the marketing plans that the company sets and even exceeds the pre-planned profits because of the accessibility that the brand created in the market (Aghaie & Alimardani, 2015). Almost all customers have access to the brand wherever they reside in the country. Targeting young ages often includes the entire family coming in and the customer base just gets larger with each passing day (Brantingham, 2013).
Ice cream industry is one of the oldest yet the most creative industry in the present world. The change in the preference of consumers, the impulsive decision to purchase, availability of the product if it is seasonal and high competition of prices are the prime factors that the demand of the consumers keep on changing. Identification of the brand is very much required for the product to capture the market (Mullen & Johnson, 2013). Children need to be aware of the brand and the flavors of the ice cream because they are the ones who will influence their friends and their families. Advertising the brand is also required in order to make a base in the market and that people will want to taste their quality. Advertising helps in creating awareness of the product and the preference of the consumer can be judged (Juster, 2015). The goodwill of the brand depends on how well the market is coping up with the presence of the brand. In the present situation, internet plays a huge role in developing the brand. Fonterra uses the internet very wisely and the products are very well within the reach of the customers. They do not want their customer base to leave them and shift to another brand due to the non-availability of the product on the internet (Reny, 2015).
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