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Literature Review: How might potential customers respond to a particular change or new product offering?

In the words of Lynch (1974), consumer response is defined as a situation that encompasses either a positive or negative feedback to a business entity or company on a certain product. The feedback is not restricted to products only. This is because in some instances business ethics and services are covered. In some situations, the response received on a certain product is initiated by the consumer, although the company may also solicit the mentioned response. A company may prepare a market questionnaire in which customers get to respond by answering questions a bout a given product. The company may also get the response through letters mainly attached to the products.
The importance of consumer response
In the opinion of Lynch (1974), there are numerous benefits attributed to response of consumers in the growth of a company or a business entity. Depending on the line of business that a company is operating, consumer response facilitates quality of either a product or service offered. In an instance whereby a company deals with products such as manufacturing of cars, the response made by a customer on the effectiveness of the engine of a new car, the company may send the collected information to its engineers who may modify the engine. A consumer response also serves to the benefit of both the customer and the organization. Essentially, it is to the benefit of the company to get the products response so as to correct any defects found in the product.
According to Kapoor (2003), today’s economic situations require a company to study closely and understand different messages sent by the customer either through direct response or failure to purchase the new product. Failure of a new product in the market may be brought about by ignoring the signals sent by customers. Essentially, it is stated that the most unbearable mistake by any company intending to market a new product is failure to listen to and understand the customers’ concerns. Any product in the market, either new or rebranded, depends on the information offered by consumers for its success. Unfortunately, many companies misconceive their role in understanding the needs of customers through the responses that they make. The resulting impact of such mistakes is that the company’s product does not sell to its potential customers.
In addition, the task that lies before the company in understanding the needs of a consumer, is not an easy one hence any effort to underestimate it may lead to poor results. There is no short cut to understanding consumer’s needs. The process entails learning what the consumer desires by directly analyzing the different responses on the product as previously explained. Many companies have met hurdles in not understanding what to change in a new product since they lack enough information on the product from the consumers. Sometimes, to understand responses from consumers, one has to listen to consumers. This can be through engaging them in a free interaction session whereby they will say what they think about the new product (Kapoor, 2003).
Any improvement or success of a new product is solely dependent on the ability of the company to understand the broad categories of customers. This will facilitate the devising of an appropriate mechanism to market the product. The need to respond quickly to what consumers propose is a great strength in improving a product to fit the market demands. Most companies in the process of soliciting the consumer response on a new product initiate a direct process by asking questions and receiving the feedback on the spot. It is increasingly becoming hard for companies to market products hypothetically without first letting consumers see and use it. Notably, many companies are designing products that are relatively poor in quality but modify them with time to conform to the needs of the customer. The development of the product is the center stage whereby feedback is highly required. Possible questions on a new product like a cell phone may be able to ascertain what the customer desires to be added or modified (Murley, 1996).
Notably, many companies believe that they are consumer focused. However, the attention of these companies to the market sometimes tends to overlook the opinion of consumers about a certain product. Poor management of marketing campaigns has also led to the perception that any product in the market will sell with time. This has been mainly contributed to by the fact that many consumers do not know what and why they want some product. Also, consumers spend a relatively short time in scrutinizing the product they want. In many instances, the modifications on a certain product to fit the consumer’s wants become impossible since the consumer does not recognize the want in the first place. The general limitation on the consumers thinking about what can be changed in a product has hindered the companies in ascertaining what to change (Cook, 2011).
Consumers are continuously in a habit of making generalizations or assumptions on certain products. In addition, consumers are fond of trying to compare products with the previous ones instead of articulating what they need. The forming of an opinion about a certain product by a consumer may be translated as impossible. Therefore, it follows that since the customer considers the change impossible; the response offered on the performance of the product may be underestimated or overstated. In this case, the information cannot be reliable. The information mostly withheld by the consumers is important in bringing out a novel product, but companies do not get that chance since consumers disregard the information (Murley, 1996).
It is critical to note that the quest for consumers’ response should always go beyond mere conversations. Reliable feedbacks can only be received if the company takes time to watch consumers in their day to day task. This is especially in respect to the consumers’ tastes and preferences on different products. Substantial focus on the marketing strategies without engaging consumers’ response has resulted to having the same products only changing the brand name. Physical watching of consumers’ conduct may be costly and at the same time not essential. The mentioned techniques may be applied during interviews to cut the costs associated with it (Cook, 2011).
This aims at making the customer like the product and eventually buy it. That is the rationale of using the consumers’ opinion in developing a product. The entire process of coming up with a new product becomes an easy task. Needless to say, the needs of a consumer may require a certain step in the manufacturing of the product to be omitted. At whichever stage of marketing a product, the consumer has a very crucial role to play. This is in respect to making sure that the company addresses the market demands (Vavra, 2002).
The best approach in dealing with the customers’ response is not only initiating feedbacks but making the consumers’ part of marketing the product. It is suggested that the company ought to view the customer as a partner. The company will essentially create a friendly climate with the consumer. The company and the consumer eventually benefit. The consumer will enjoy the desired products while the company will achieve the set goals. The result of the partnership is that it leads to valuable solutions and easy management of competition in the company (Vavra, 2002).
The understanding of consumer response on a new product is intertwined with the dynamics of a given marketing strategy. It is nearly impossible to consider consumer responses without having an elaborate analysis of the association among the two aspects. The impact of marketing strategy is largely used to identify the model of response in a given situation. A case in point is a situation when mail samples are used during a launch of a product are compared to when the manager of the company takes the product to market (Murley, 1996).
The relationship between marketing and consumer response
Sometimes, the choices made by the consumers on a certain product are based on the results of a product used in the past or connection with a famous brand. This shows that the strategy of marketing has a significant hindering role on the level of consumer response. The reliance of a certain response may be distorted by switching among different brands in the market. The intricacy of market diffusion has negatively affected the consumer’s response since the consumer may settle on a certain response depending on the influence by other consumer’s opinion (Cook, 2011).
The response of consumer on a new product in the market depends on two salient issues. The two issues include brand selection and purchase timing. There is a generalization of consumers among many companies. Marketing companies, as well as manufacturing companies, make assumptions that all consumers have the same probabilities. On the same note, the market strategies are pegged on the notion that brand selection is independent of purchase timing. It has been recognized that diffusion of information affects consumer response. In marketing, the diffusion of information enhances the marketing path hence dictating whether there will be a growth or decline in the purchase of the product (Kapoor, 2003).
Pride & Ferrell (2012) avers that the core thread that consolidates the goals of a company to market a new product. Also, the necessity to consider the response of consumer purely rests on the working of a certain company. The consideration of consumers’ response is in most circumstances geared towards reducing competition from competitors as well as maximizing the profits. The initial step in any entity that desires to develop a new product highly depends on both internal and external conditions. In every organization, any new product created should market itself even before market strategies are put in place.
There are certain consumer perceptions that hinder the process of getting the right feedback. This is because sorting them from the rest of the information is quite a complicated issue. It is note worth that not all perceptions hinder the growth and marketing of products. Therefore, some of these perceptions positively support product development. In the underlying stages of product development, the consumer’s response is very important (Kapoor, 2003).
Though different firms have different ways of developing new products, it is agreeable that the stages involved call for consistence response between the company and the consumer. First, the idea generation requires a smooth flow between the company and consumers. Though some firms or companies get the desired information from other sources, such as the competitors or supply partners, consumer response has been termed as the most appropriate piece of information (Cook, 2011).
Secondly, during the process of screening and evaluation, the consumers’ needs are analyzed with a special consideration of the company’s capacity. According to Malhotra (2005), the response offered by customers cannot be ignored since they are the drive behind any technological, social, and economic changes. Designing the mode of communication and how to receive their feedback is equally important. The mode in which a new product is promoted in the market has changed hence necessitating improved interaction with the customers (Pride & Ferrell, 2012).
Effect of ignoring customer’s response
To a company that is developing or modifying a product, it matters a lot to convince customers to stay since their stay has the effect of attracting others. The trickiest moment to every business enterprise is losing customers. However, it is not impossible to understand the responses of customers on a new product. This is because the customers will complain or the facial expressions will say it all. Malhotra (2005) states that with the new dynamic in place, the stakes have been raised and customers will always object to be treated like second class citizens. Customers have the ability to affect the profits earned. The real power of customers is no longer pegged on the fact that they share experiences with their friends. However, this is because customers have the power to use the media (Malhotra, 2005). Million of customers can be influenced by a single customer through the use of the social media. Such reactions are disastrous, and a prudent business entity will seek to avert such influences by getting feedbacks. The advent of the social networks is a development that calls for prudence and due diligence when dealing with customers.
It is clear that the most feared consequences of not listening to the response of customers are not as disastrous as the viral effect of a negative experience about a product in the Facebook. Companies have a challenge of learning how to handle the feedback given customers. The world has witnessed a change in the access of information by customers. Easy access to information by customers has led to instant connections though the social media. Companies with the intent of maintaining their customers and influencing potential customers have to shift their attention to the customers’ experiences. In the most realistic terms, a department to listen and respond to the concerns of customers is essential in maintaining efficiency (Cooper, 2011).
Pride & Ferrell (2012) argue that customers are irrational and understanding them is an easy task. In the first place, the required interactions ought to be created so as to make the customers feel they are part of the company’s investment and a partner in developing the company. The traditional business hierarchy is not favorable. This is because the new trends of marketing and consumer needs are to be accommodated in the entire chain of consumer–company relationship management. In addition, full devotion is required to create a reliable consumer program.
According to Lamb, Hair & McDaniel (2012), the understanding of consumer responses to products takes substantial information. The consumer decision making is divided into three main categories. This includes making extensive decision and response in a routine way. In addition, limited decision making is also considered as one form of decision making. In the above mentioned forms of decision making, there are factors that work hand in hand with consumer involvement. All the foregoing factors work hand in hand to facilitate consumer decision making. This includes length of time a consumer takes in decision making and the number of alternatives considered.
In the classification of consumer response, the level of consumer participation during the decision making process is very significant. In the words of Aoki (2009), the reaction of a certain consumer has to be connected with one element of the product. Consumers may react to the price given to a new product. In most organizations, the new product developed has a tendency of having a shadow price so as to test the market status (Murley, 1996).
Many companies make advertisements of products in order to create its awareness. This can be through the company’s website or the hire of services from another marketing company. The marketing and advertising of a new product have a direct relationship with the response of consumers in a given situation (Cesari, Lynch & Kelly, 2011). Further, lack of creativity and ineffective advertising are the main causes of negative responses on products. Many people might reject such products. This is because the products’ poor presentation enables the storage sensors to feel that the said products are not designed to attract. It is advisable for a company to evaluate all the marketing strategies and identify the best one in a given case when introducing a new product.
The unique way of by which consumers have prejudice can only be cured by having an appealing marketing strategy for the new products. As argued by Cesari, Lynch & Kelly (2011), the prehistoric incidence of human beings is marred by making decisions based on instincts which are good. This means that a person will follow an appealing advertisement to obey the unavoidable instincts. However, the test on instincts is not universal hence there is a class of consumers who do not follow commercial puffs.
Consumers react to a new product in a number of ways. The price and the quality of the product are very crucial in ascertaining whether to reject or accept a new product when other factors are held constant. There are several forms of responses to a product which include making a bad experience of the product public through social media. This mode of response is the most difficult to remedy since millions and millions of consumers are linked in the social network. It takes time and a lot of resources to deal with such a situation. In general, consumers tend to trust fellow consumers, and in many instances, they find it easy to trust any information no matter how exaggerated it is (Pride & Ferrell, 2012).
Direct response of customers to new products
Marketing companies have realized that consumers tend to trust fellow consumers hence they have devised methods of marketing. Such methods include having consumers on board to explain their experiences. The several ways in which consumers react cannot go unnoticed. Firstly, a consumer may choose to make a direct response. The main advantage of direct response is that it points out a problem or need that the product has satisfied. In direct response, the test of the new product becomes clear. This response is very instrumental in ensuring that the available defect in a certain product is identified and fulfilled (Cesari, Lynch & Kelly, 2011).
The very first question that any average consumer seeks to understand when a new product is in the market is about the company makes it. Identifying the manufacturer of a certain product is critical as consumers associate the manufacturer with a known product. Accepting a product from a company where consumers have had worst experiences is not easy (Murley, 1996).
Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel (2012) argue that all consumer behaviors are predictable basing on the results achieved through the learning, experience, and practice. Some forms of consumer reactions cannot be directly deciphered hence they are inferred or observed from the person’s actions. For instance, if a consumer sees an advertisement about a certain medicine that is new and improved, then the consumer will be assumed to have learned about the medicine if he goes on to buy the medicine. The learning in this case is through observing the consumer’s reaction since the consumer has just acted.
As per Lamb, Hair & McDaniel (2012), there are two forms of learning that assist in learning the consumers’ behaviors. The first form of learning is known as experimental while the second one is called conceptual learning. Experimental learning is derived from the term experiment. Therefore, it means that if a consumer buys a product that does not get satisfaction from using a particular new product, he will not buy it again since the consumer has learned through experimenting.
On the other hand, conceptual learning is one of the various types of learning that does not depend on experience. An example of conceptual learning is when a person informs a customer that a new tooth paste leaves the mouth with a sweet taste. In this respect, the consumer chooses another brand of toothpaste. In this learning, the consumer has not tried the product, but goes a head to decide not to buy the product basing on conceptual learning. In recent years, other types of consumer learning have emerged (Pride & Ferrell, 2012).
How consumer response is related with consumer learning
The reinforcement learning is one of the new types of learning that has emerged through years. In its usage, reinforcement may be positive or negative. This can be demonstrated when a consumer sees a seller of breads selling stale bread. However, upon buying it, the customer discovers the bread is good to eat. It is said that the behavior compelling the consumer to buy the bread has been through positive reinforcement. On the contrary, if a consumer buys bread thinking that it is good, then discovers it to be stale; the response of the consumer will be not to buy the bread again. In such a case, the learning is said to through negative reinforcement. It is imperative to note that, without positive and negative reinforcement, a consumer cannot be motivated to repeat or avoid a certain pattern of responding. The positive and negative elements create an imbalance to make sure that reinforcement is achieved. It is said that reinforcement raises neutral feeling about a certain product it means that much promotion through advertisement is required to induce intake of the product (Vavra, 2002).
Learning theory is very essential in determining consumer response. This is because it is the yardstick whereby the step to be taken by a consumer about a certain product is measured. Repetition is also a key element in fostering new product promotion campaigns. Learning may also be facilitated through beliefs. A belief is a pattern of knowledge that a certain individual holds and believes to be true. The attitude of a certain consumer towards a new product is extensively influenced by the antecedent belief about the brand of products. This is applicable in a situation whereby a product is within a family of products. An attitude on a new product may also tend to influence the consumers response since there is a learned tendency to respond to a given nature of attitudes. The set standard on what is wrong or right is taken as part of knowledge to determine the response. However, this might not be true sometimes because it is based on hearsay (Malhotra, 2005).
Further responses to new products include stimulus generalization that happens when one form of response is widened to cover another stimulus. It is misleading since a marketer may use an already existing brand name to market a family of highly rated products. Stimulus generalization has many assumptions, and in some situations, it can act against the company’s product if the previous company’s image has been bad. The response in stimulus generalization will very much depend on the image of the brand of products in the past. Its advantage is that it gives consumers broad familiarity of the new line of products in the same family (Vavra, 2002).
The stimulus discrimination is the contrary of stimulus generalization. It means that a consumer can draw a clear distinction between products of one undertaking from the rest. The said ability is very critical, and in some instances, it acts as a guide against misleading nature of branding. In making such a differentiation, consumers will consider certain products more stimulating than others. For instance, a consumer may prefer having Coca-Cola products rather than Pepsi (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2008).
There are factors which work hand in hand so as to explain why a consumer would respond in a certain way on new products. To start with, there are outstanding cultural values that dictate the response a consumer would give about a new product. It is important to note that cultures are made up of certain myths and values that hold them together. The said values of a culture are passed from one generation to the other. In the set stands of every culture, it is agreeable that a given mode of conduct is more preferable than others. This will essentially elaborate why certain products are very popular in certain cultures and extremely unheard of in others (Murley, 1996).
Dictated by the demographic characters a culture can be divided to subcultures. The subcultures mainly share the ethnic or political background. Intertwined with cultural influences is the social class. It is noteworthy that every customer or potential customer belongs to a class either knowingly or unknowingly. It is notable that many decisions made by consumers will have some form of exerted influence mainly from the peers. The only duty of any marketer is to strive hard so as to win some members of a certain class since the rest will follow suit. It is compelling for individuals in social classes to accept using certain products to satisfy the sense of belonging (Szwarc, 2005).
Every consumer has a need to get satisfaction. However, it has proved hard to market a new product rather than an existing one. The general rule in consumer decisions and behaviors is that they find it hard to use the product without consulting fellow consumers. In many situations, the consumers have a negative response to information from marketers. For new products to get a positive response, it is an uphill task whereby the standard of convincing is higher than that of a product already in the market. Consumers will always make consultations, but the underlying principle is words from the marketers are considered one sided (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2012).
There are numerous factors that are the guiding principles to every marketing company. These principles ensure that companies handle the response of potential consumers in the most appropriate manner. The process of developing a new product is speculative and hectic hence the best way for a company is to be open-minded. The process of analyzing the responses and establishing a product to cover the modifications is tedious. In making changes on products to suit the responses, it is imperative to note that some reactions by consumers are beyond the normal range. In this case, if they are considered, they may lead to misleading conclusions. Age of a potential customer has been said to have an influencing role on the response expected (Cook, 2011).
The age of a potential consumer is mainly coupled with the family life cycle. Age stands independently and can have a great influence on the consumer’s reaction on a product. Notably, the age of consumers is critical in determining the response to a new product. At a certain age in life, some products appeal more than others. On the other hand, the criteria in which experiences are gathered through the family cycle, from one stage to another also affect the consumers’ response. That explains the reason as to why marketers will target a certain range of stages and not consumers in general (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2012).
The gender of a customer will also affect the response of a consumer regarding a new product offering in the market. The physiological differences common between male and female call for a different approach since their responses are unique. Even with the changing roles of both male and female in recent years it still remains clear that the needs are distinct (Szwarc, 2005).
The understanding of feedbacks to be anticipated when a product is offered in the market for the first time is based on many factors. The reason why a consumer reacts in a certain manner is dictated by numerous factors too. The literature above shows that consumers have indicators, which mainly influence the decision making process. A response could be positive, negative or inferred from the surrounding circumstances. The mode of learning by a consumer also affects how a consumer behaves towards a product.

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