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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Evan Goyetche

Dr. David

BUS 338

April 22nd, 2018


What is time? According to Merriam Webster dictionary time has a multitude of means from the duration of an event, the season, the tempo or rhythm, etc. Time is an all powerful function that explains how we send our day or how we consume time. Affecting how we act and speak time has created phrases like “I am running out of time”, “you caught me at a bad time” or “time flies”. All of these phrases refer to time as how the current person is perceiving time and whether or not they have a lot of time or very little of time. For example, I regularly shop at Marc's for groceries, however; since I did not have any time during the day I had to shop at Giant Eagle because they longer hours than Marc's. Marketers understand that time is key when understanding how situational factors affect consumer behavior, how time has made choices for me and

how McDonalds is the king of time.

Researchers have found that time is one of the biggest situational factors that affect consumers. According to Russell W. Belk, he uses a behavioral setting to describe situational factors. “A behavioral setting is not only bounded in time and space, but also by a complete sequence of behavior or an "action pattern”” (Russell W. Blek). He uses examples like a piano lesson or a basketball game because it involves an interval of time. The figure below explains stimulus-organism-response. The time and place is the function of the situation, while the object is the different items or services. This plays into how consumers market to time or the Temporal Perspective, which is referring to time as a unit of measurement, either a specific time of day or season of the year (Russell W. Blek). Events past and present allow people to measure time given each situation. For college students this may be a semester or the number of days until a holiday, for others it can be how long it took to fill up the gas tank of a car or their pay cycle.

The stimulus-organism-response model explains how time can affect consumer behavior. This model spits the perceptual distinction between focal and contextual clues, which is explains the behavior of picking a product or service. The rationale for this single situation shows the  “operationalizing a construct which has an existence apart from the individual's total consciousness” (Russell W.Blek). In other words how a situational factor such as time is a stimulus that affects people's decisions, which provides information on consumer buying habits. The stimulus affects the organizem and creates a response. Time is a stimulus because it explains how we might act depending on the situation a person is in, such as writing a paper last minute, picking where to eat or picking where to go to college

(Russell W. Belk Situational Variables and Consumer Behavior)

Time is all we talk about and it regulates our daily lives. For people with any type of job generally know how long it takes to get to work, what time they need to wake up for work and the time when work ends. The consumption of time that regulates how people live, helps marketers understand how we as consumers use time. An example of this, is how time affects consumers in the grocery store. “The amount of time available for shopping affects in-store decision making in two ways. First, the sheer limitation of time restricts the extent to which consumers can process in-store information.” (Situational Effects on the Consumption of Time Jacob Hornik).  This affects a multitude of consumers depending on their situation, such as a family with kids going to the store. Their amount of time is going to be shorter than a retired person who is shopping at the same time because the dad and mom will be distracted by the kids. While the retired person can take their time to make their in-store decisions.  

Secondly, the pressure of time increases stress levels of consumers, which will interfere with memory recall. This stimulus can be observed with “in-store decision making activities other than those related to product/brand search often require retrieval of not well rehearsed memory (e.g., recall of product inventory levels at home).”(Situational Effects on the Consumption of Time Jacob Hornik). Back to the in store family shopping example, let's say that little Johnny has a tee-ball game in two hours. This will cause the parents to act a lot differently in their behavior. By knowing that there is another event soon after the shopping is done will cause stress and will interfere with the parents decision making skills. Making the parents rush through the store grabbing more than what they intended and forgetting some items as well. Due to the situation the pressure of time will increase the parents memory recall and create a behavior of keeping the kids happy.

The clock has influenced me in multiple ways and my consumption time is really dependent on the amount of time I have. This variable is constantly changing and will influence how I use my time. Some decisions are made quickly due to a lack of time, while others are more thought out. The academic research of time as a situational factor has has been relatively accurate in my own life experiences such as shopping at a grocery store and watching my fiance buy something because of a sale. However, there is one instance were the academic findings of time as a situational factor was wrong, which finishing my class projects..

The Situational Effects on the Consumption of Time findings has affected me when I am in a grocery store. For example, I generally will shop at Marc's for groceries; however, when I wait until I have no food or need to get something I go to Giant eagle after my night class.  In that situation I am short on time and will focus on grabbing only the items I need, which can lead me to picking out the wrong item. Shopping late at night also causes me to rush through the shopping. Instead of focusing on what I need I focus on the next task. The pressure of time affects my memory recall, which explains why I might not grab all the items I need. This type of behavior also stresses me out because after working and night class I have lack of time.  

Another example of how time has affected my personal life is finishing up my final projects. I know it is a fairly simple task and I knew that these projects would be due; however, even though the projects are due in a few days my motivation for completing them is little. This goes against the research findings because according to the findings of “time pressure increases the level of arousal or stress” (cite). Even though collaborating and working of these projects can take a significant portion of my time, I found that as time is dwindled, the amount stress remains constant. I believe this is due because I am graduating in May or senioritis. This light at the end of the tunnel mentality has caused me not stress as much as I would have last semester finishing end of the class projects. The academic findings of stimulus-organism-response explain that a situational influence should stimulate people and get a behavior. However, this is not the case for me the stimulus of time pressure is not creating a behavior to combat my senioritis.

Time is also affected somebody I know, my fiancé is an example of falling victim to sales. Whenever there is a sale when we are at the store, regardless of what the item is she will often look at the items displayed on sale. When she looks at the item on sale, she thinks of the if she would use the product. She fell victim to this yesterday when she bought paint for our kitchen. Sherwin Williams was having a sale on paint she decided that we needed to buy paint right away. So, she goes to Sherwin Williams and picks out paint for our kitchen. Soon after she get pack she explains that she bought a whole gallon of paint for our ten by ten kitchen with two walls. She explains that it was on sale and she saved $75 on the two cans of paint she bought. The stimulus of the sale made her purchase more paint than we actually needed. One day later she has realized that we did not need a gallon paint and instead we only needed a half gallon. This has happened many other times such as  buying a new pair shoes, a dress or a household item that is on sale. This aligns with the research in case study because during this type of flash sale or is in store to place a showing a product on sale it creates a stimulus on the person creating this behavior of purchasing an item.

McDonald's the fast food chain with the highest awareness and they seem to be everywhere. In fact there are three mcdonalds on bagley road, and two within about a mile of Baldwin Wallace. McDonald's is such a prominent fast food chain because they are the king of time. When you walk into McDonald's chances are you do not want to wait long for your food, so what do you do… you go to McDonald's pay, get your food and eat all within ten to fifteen minutes. Time is a big factor into how McDonald's designs their marketing strategy.

The products the McDonald's offers is classic american food (i.e. hamburgers, sandwiches, shakes, and fries). Even though McDonald's is known for their hamburgers, they offer a wide variety of products to market to different customers. Two examples of this are McCafé and the Happy meals. McCafé allows McDonald's to compete with Starbucks and other local coffee shops. Happy meals are also one of McDonald's best products. By marketing to kids McDonald's via the Happy meal, McDonald's is getting the parents to eat there as well. These examples show that McDonald's marketing mix innovates new products to attract to different customers tastes and preferences.

Have you ever noticed that McDonald's is everywhere domestically and abroad. In airports by monuments and in your hometown there is a McDonald's nearby from the aqueduct of segovia spain to bagley road in berea ohio. The brick and mortar shops are not the only locations that people may order food. McDonald's has a mobile app as well, that customers may order ahead of time. Moreover, the company's mobile apps lets customers claim special deals and find McDonald's restaurant locations. By letting customers order McDonald's via an app the customer can save time by being able to pick up their food without waiting in line and having minimal interaction with McDonald's staff.

McDonald's promotes their brand in a number of ways via advertising, sales promotions, public relations and direct selling. Advertising is McDonald's most notable promotion tactics. The company uses TV, radio, print media and online media for its advertisements. McDonald's also uses sales promotions to draw more customers to its restaurants. For example, the company offers discount coupons and freebies for certain products. In addition, McDonald's public relations activities help promote the business to the target market. For instance, the Ronald McDonald House Charities and the McDonald's Global Best of Green environmental program support communities while boosting the value of the corporate brand. Occasionally, the company uses direct selling, such as for corporate clientele, local government or community events and parties. In this element of its marketing mix, McDonald's emphasizes advertising as its main approach to promote its products.

Pricing is another part of McDonald's pricing strategy involves price bundling combined with psychological pricing. In price bundling, the company offers meals and other product bundles for a discount. In psychological pricing, McDonald's uses prices that appear to be significantly more affordable, such as $__.99 instead of rounding it off to the nearest dollar. This element of McDonald's marketing mix highlights the importance of price bundling to encourage customers to buy more products.

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