Free «Behavioral Learning Theory and Consumer Involvement» Essay
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According to Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp (2006, p. 312), behavioral learning theory states that an individual develops a pattern of behavior as a result of the rewards and punishments of his or her environment. Learning is a process that takes place as a result of influence by the environment through behavior observation which completely changes ones’ behavior. The theory has got its principles which state that; an individual’s responses and behaviors are learned, individuals learn to maximize pleasure, individuals are born with instincts that respond to the environment, and that people learn through association with others, through consequences and through observation. Thereafter, one demonstrates particular behaviors which he/she has considered to be positive. Therefore, the environment can reinforce certain behaviors in individuals and shape them.
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Young, Klosko & Weisher (2005, p. 120) further note that this theory is important for the mobile marketers since it makes them to appreciate that the behaviors exhibited by any are highly influenced by the environment and that individuals modify their behaviors depending on their personal experiences or the experiences of those close to them. The marketers should thus use this knowledge to take any available opportunity to help them create an environment that can change the market behavior the way they desire it be. It is therefore important for them to first learn the five stages of consumer behaviors. The stages include; problem recognition stage, searching for information, alternative evaluation, decision to purchase and the post purchase decision making stages (Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, 2006, p. 312).
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In the problem recognition stage, the consumers assess the need to buy the phones. At this stage, the marketers should be ready to let them know the importance of having the phone and all its benefits. They should try hard so as to influence the behaviors of the customers at this particular stage since the customers’ minds are totally blank on the importance of the phones and so it is the best opportunity to convince the customers. They should let the customers learn about the importance of the phones by practically showing them the uses. This can be done through the organization of trade shows and exhibitions during which the consumers are made aware of the availability of the phones.
At the information search stage, where the customers are trying to find more about the phones and their importance, the marketers should be ready to avail to them as much information as possible. This is to help put in efforts in trying to influence their behaviors towards the use of the phones. This can be done through intensive advertisement using the media and door to door visit in order to provide more information regarding the phones. If it becomes successful, then the consumers will have as much information as they need to make them decide whether to change their behaviors or not. At this point also, the marketers should be able to segment the market so as to deal with the consumers in their specific consumption categories (Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, 2006, p. 314). These categories may be according to; lifestyle, social class, location and age. Once this is done, the marketers can easily know the types of phones to market to which particular people. This will also facilitate easy understanding of the specific consumers since whatever they are being influenced to buy fits their capabilities, tastes and preferences (Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, 2006, p. 314).
However, Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, (2006, p. 314), further note that in the information technology market; there are also other players who compete for the same consumers. These players include the landline phone service providers and the internet e-mail service providers who may prove to be better alternatives to the consumers. This therefore can confuse the customers’ behaviors since they have to make a choice among the many alternative communication service providers. For the mobile industry to influence the consumers’ behaviors, they have to let the consumers know the weaknesses of the competing communication service providers. Such an action can help modify the consumers’ behaviors towards the use of the mobile phones. At this stage, the mobile phone providers should also be ready to let the consumers have a taste of their products for free so as that to help convince them to buy.
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After the consumers have assessed all the alternatives and they have to make buying decisions, the mobile phone providers should then be able to provide easy access to purchasing places, charge reasonable prices, and offer good after sale services. This allows the marketers to entice their potential buyers and thus influencing their purchasing behavior even in cases where they had not decided on which brand to buy (Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, 2006, p. 314).
During the post purchase decisions, Tenenbaum, Griffiths & Kemp, (2006, p. 314) note that the customers usually do evaluate the level of satisfaction of the products and determine whether they made the right decisions by purchasing them. This stage is therefore very critical since it determines whether the consumers’ behaviors will completely change or not. At this stage, the marketers should majorly be focused with maintaining the loyalty of the consumers to their products. To ensure this happens, they should be able to develop loyalty retention strategies which will completely change and shape the behaviors of their customers. According to Corbett, (2005, p. 43), these loyalty retention strategies include; offering after sale repair services to their customers’ gadgets within a specified duration after sale, keeping track of their customers and staying in touch with them, listening to their complaints and positively reacting to them, and finally, coming up with good reward programs for their customers.
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According to Jaroslav, Vaclav, Karel, Wita & Henry (2011, p. 443), customer involvement is the dedication in terms of time, thought, and energy that a customer put towards the purchasing process. These involvements by the customers are in different levels. These include both the high involvement and low involvement levels. However, in these levels of consumers’ involvement, they are either rationally or emotionally triggered. This has therefore created four categories of customer involvement. They comprise of the rational high involvement, emotional high involvement, rational low involvement, and emotional low involvement. Other than the personal reasons, it is also important to note that the customer involvement can be influenced by the nature of the phones presented to him or her.
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According to Stark (2011, p. 246), these levels do affect the evaluation and choice of mobile phones by the customers in different ways. Rational high involvement is a situation where one’s evaluation and choice of a product is highly influenced by his or her level of need and the clear explanations of the features and benefits of the product. This category is associated with the expensive purchases. Therefore, only the phones that meet the consumers’ rational requirements will be chosen.
On the other hand, Gladfelter (2010, P. 4) states that emotionally high involvement is the situation where the level of customer involvement is influenced by the passion to obtain luxuries and the captivating marketing stimulus. In this category, therefore, thorough marketing strategy easily wins consumers’ taste since the phones are just for luxury and not a necessity. Therefore, if the phones are not fashionable then they are not likely to be bought.
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According to Macintyre (2011, p. 125), in the low involvement category, the rational low involvement is the situation in which a consumer’s level of involvement is influenced by his or her habit without much thought. Therefore the consumer just chooses the phones because he or she has to but not that its qualities are captivating. The focus of advertising while dealing with such consumers therefore is just to win the consumers from other competitors. On the other hand the emotionally low involvement is where the consumers are only impressed by the appearance and the gratification they achieve. Therefore, this allows the consumers to choose any phone which looks nice without much consideration into the qualities and features.
In order to increase the consumer involvement in the mobile phone’s market, the mobile phone marketers have had to do a lot on the various aspects of customer satisfaction and enticement. First, the high-end Smartphone’s marketers have to create awareness for the phone in order to trigger the consumers’ attentions. This is achieved by carrying out intensive advertisement of the phone in the whole market coverage. The mobile phone marketers should also establish a customer involvement team that will be directly into contact with the consumers so as to be able to know there preferences and how they change over time. The team should also be able to provide the consumers with the necessary information, support and advice (Sigala, Christou & Gretzel, 2012, p. 25).
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In addition, the marketers should advice the production department to come up with a variety of the phone models that can fit the needs of different consumers. For instance, to ensure that those who like new fashions to get involved, then the marketers should try to know such category of people and directly market to them such fashionable models. Physical contact with the customers is also very important in trying to increase the consumers’ involvement. The marketers should therefore go in the field to where the consumers are and try to convince them while talking face to face so as to win their attentions and hence getting them highly involved in the purchasing process (Sigala, Christou & Gretzel, 2012, p. 25).
According to Canetta, Redaelli & Flores (2011, p. 38), the marketers should also be able to let the consumers have a taste of their products so that they can know the benefits and later on get involved. This can be done by giving out free samples to the customers. The marketers should also learn the general market behavior so that they can segment their markets based on the consumer’s decision making styles. This is important since it will ensure that the right consumers for specific models are targeted.
The marketers should also try and diversify their marketing modes so as to capture every class of the consumers. For instance, they should use a variety of advertising medium such as the internet, newspapers, televisions, radios and physical movement from place to place so that they can reach a large number of the consumers; hence creating a trigger to quite a number of people. The customers should also be asked for their opinions on the phone models. Once established, their thoughts should then be considered during the introduction of new models. This will boost the consumers’ participation and hence actively involving them in the purchasing process. Follow up should be made to the already actively involved clients so as to make them continue with their active involvement (Canetta, Redaelli & Flores, 2011, p. 38).
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According to Mintel Analysts (2011, p. 4), the marketers should also organize for sales promotional activities where the participants are rewarded for their participation. Finally, the marketers should explain the safety of using the phones so that they can clear the already consumers’ perceived risk.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that the understanding of the Behavioral Learning Theory is very important to the mobile marketers. Equally marketers also need to get their consumers involved in the purchasing process for better results.