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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1.) The five decision making stages/steps are the need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation. The first step, need recognition is when a consumer realizes that they have an unmet need. A consumer realizes that their levels of satisfaction are not being met. I believe that a Dell computer, is not a need, but a want.  Someone can come to a need recognition in multiple ways; they can come across a situation where they don't have the correct tool or product, talking with friends and family, advertisements, and many other ways. In this situation, a consumer comes to recognize that they need a computer. At this stage, it can be a Dell, an HP, Lenovo or any computer. As a marketer, the need recognition step is essential because in this step, as a marketer, you can convey a consumer to convince them they need what your company sells. Dell's advertising and products can lead to a need recognition.

The second step, information search is when consumers search for internal and external information. In this stage, they are more inclined and persuaded to search for information, and look to find value in the product or service of their need. In this case, a consumer will have identified a need for a computer, and seek to find value; they will also determine the options available. Information search is essential for Dell and Marketers because this is where they must position their value and information in their marketing efforts. The consumer will look for information from instore salespersons, advertising, company website, and retail sites, as well as reviews, and WOM.

The third step, evaluation of alternatives, the consumer will look at all of the product and brand options. This stage is essential for marketers because to increase the chances a consumer selects their product, A Dell computer. Dell needs to understand and market what benefits, features and value consumers are looking for and most important for their decision-making process.

The fourth stage is the purchase decision. A family that has determined to buy a Dell via online, they will look towards or can look at a retailer such as BestBuy. I believe that this is essential to marketers because you want a consumer to choose your product and purchase from your site. To do this Dell can include added value to the consumer who decides to purchase from your website, such as sales, offers financing which can be an added value and make the purchase as convenient as possible.

The final and fifth step is the post-purchase behavior. In this step, the consumers decide if they like the product and if they will purchase a product from Dell in the future and if they will recommend Dell products to friends and family. This step is essential because companies and Dell should reach out to consumers and build a relationship, this leads to WOM and future purchases. In this stage marketers can influence consumer feelings by offering consumers to join clubs or groups, money back guarantees, follow-up emails, and future offers to persuade future purchases.

2.) There are a number of factors that affect the consumer buying decision including the complexity of the purchase and decision, individual influences, social influences, and situational influences. Individual or personal influences include age, gender, life-cycle, occupation, income, motives, interest and lifestyle. Social influences include culture, subculture, social class, also family and friends. It's important for Dell and marketers to understand each one of these factors that affect the consumer buying decision because they are opportunities for sales.

3.) As of Q4 2017, Dell ranks 3rd in PC market share at 15.2%, behind Lenovo 20.8% and HP with 21%. This market share is based on total sales of desktop computers, laptops, and netbooks. The last time that Dell was 1st in market share was 2006. Since then, HP and Lenovo have controlled the top two spots while Dells has maintained 3rd. 2017 Q3 was Dells best in most recent years with 18.1% of total market. Market share is one of the most important metrics for businesses. Market share allows companies to compare with competition in terms of sales within the industry and measurement for external benchmarks. With Dell, HP, and Lenovo being relatively close in a dense market, market share allows Dell to see how effective their marketing strategy is each quarter.

4.) The four unique business characteristics include the buying center, hard and soft costs, reciprocity, and mutual dependence. The buying center is essential because this effects the purchase decision, rather than in a consumer market where only one person is involved, a group of people is responsible for decision making for a company. It is important for Dell to be able to multiple groups of people including users, economical and technical buyers. Each one of these groups plays a role so it is essential that you can appeal on the usability level, a tech and feature level and cost level. The next characteristic is hard and soft costs, this is important because consumers only look at up-front cost, how much will this computer cost now? Companies look at the up-front cost of the equipment, and long-term, how long will it last, energy cost. They also look at training, is this product user-friendly and how does it affect productivity. If an HP costs $799.00 but has a high long-term cost, a Dell that cost $899.00, with low long-term cost user-friendly and positive productivity, the company will choose the Dell. The third, reciprocity is about the relationship with your purchaser. If I buy a Dell computer and give them my business, will they give me their business? I don't think that this is a significant factor, and with Dell is not a typical situation primarily with small business. Possibly tech company to tech company would use this as a factor. The fourth characteristic is mutual dependence. Depending on the size of the company buying computers, mutual dependence can be a significant factor in business markets.

5.) Three ways the Dell has differentiated themselves from the competition include customer experience/service, technology/innovation, and value. The most important competitive advantage that Dell has is customer service and experience they offer. Dell is known for its serviceability customer service, fast responses, and their value delivery. Dell offers direct selling and built to order products and computers. This allows Dell to work with consumers and find or make the perfect product and technology for them. With the custom approach, this also enables Dell to have an extensive range of costs that can fit any consumers budget. While tech is important to the company their commitment to the consumers are their best position.

6.) Market segmentation is the process of taking a broad consumer or business market and dividing them into sub-groups with similar characteristics. In Dell's case, they take a more general market of people, consumers interested in computers and narrow that down to segments based on behavioral segmentation and psychographic segmentation. For the most part, Dell targets tech-savvy consumers, an example of this segmentation is younger consumers interested in PC gaming. The other segment that they focus on is business professionals and companies.

7.) Four effective criteria that Dell could have used include measurable, substantial. I think that these two are great criteria to use based on their two segments. Tech-savvy, younger generations who are into technology and gaming. The Second being business and executives. Both of these markets are large, and relatively high spending power. These two segments are sustainable for a long period and have specific characteristics such as age group, socio-economic background and brand perception. I believe that Dells segments are also accessible, the segments and demographics fall within their marketing efforts.

8.) Looking at Dells product, pricing, place, and promotion strategies, they for the most part line up with each other. Dells is focused on customer service and customer experience. I think that their strategies reflect their customer-oriented approach. First looking at their product strategies, Dell has a wide range of products for every consumer and business, PC, Laptops, and Tablets for the consumers, products for small medium and large companies. Dells products have added value including warranties, repair services, and software services. Their products have features and benefits for every customer need and want. Customers can also build-to-order products, allowing Dell to offer customers a personalized tech solution. Dell place and distribution channel continue the trend of customer service; Dell sells a lot online including direct to customer sales. This allows Dell's sales to be zero or one channel distribution.  Dell has a low pricing strategy compared to the competition, however it still overs some of the more expensive computers in the industry. With the build-to-order, and a wide range of pricing their pricing strategy is based on the customer's needs. For promotion, Dell uses a lot of print and media advertising, Dells sale promotions include coupons and discounts on their website, and reward programs. Reward programs are popular for long-term relationships and customer service.

EC.) I do not believe that a company can genuinely position themselves in more than one way. Looking at companies, a majority are known and leave a mental image of one thing, Audi (Technology). Companies position themselves around speed, quality, customer service, and cost. When looking at a perceptual map, there are four squares, and it is tough for a company to be in two squares at once successfully. An example is a high quality, high cost. If a company has high quality and low price they are not going to be viable for long.

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