Discussion #3 Marketing Intelligence, Consumer Behavior, and Segmentation/Targeting

Learning Goal: I’m working on a management discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Using your HBS coursepack, review the following core marketing readings:

Marketing Intelligence

This reading identifies the importance of understanding the marketing research process and the techniques used to make better marketing decisions. New data sources and the growing popularity of business analytics have increased the importance of marketing analytics. The following three sections of the reading are presented and explained, and examples and illustrations of each are provided:

  1. An overview of the research process and research techniques
  2. Research methods for collecting primary and secondary data, as well as conjoint analysis and perceptual mapping techniques.
  3. Building a research program

Effective marketing managers understand when and how to obtain information about customers, competitors, the industries in which they compete, and other factors that affect their marketing decisions. This reading provides some of the most relevant tools for accomplishing this objective, whether for strategic or tactical decisions.

Consumer Behavior and the Buying Process

The overarching goal of this core reading is to understand the psychology that influences and impacts the way in which consumers buy goods and services. In the process, it is intended to do the following:

  1. Introduce different lenses for understanding how consumers differ in their buying behavior.
  2. Provide an appreciation for how buying behavior can vary across products and situations.
  3. Identify the consumer’s decision-making process, and how the psychology of buying differs at different phases of that process.
  4. Identify the consumer’s decision-making unit, and how the members of that unit can influence the buying process.
  5. Discuss several of the most prominent forces shaping modern consumer behavior.

Segmentation and Targeting

The purpose of this reading is to help develop an understanding of segmentation and targeting as fundamental concepts in marketing. You will learn the primary variables used in both consumer and business market segmentation; how segmentation is done; and why and how organizations choose to target particular segments. The material in this reading draws on seminal academic research, but emphasizes real-world examples.

Following your review, prepare responses to the following discussion questions:

  1. What is the value of marketing intelligence?
  2. How many companies do you think conduct marketing research studies before launching a new product? Why?
  3. What recent developments in the marketing landscape have affected consumer behavior and the buying process? Explain.
  4. How is communicating with customers via social media similar to and different from conducting marketing research studies? What are the implications for marketing?
  5. In the crowded market for candy, cookies, and other sweet treats, Estee Foods (www. Esteefoods.com) successfully carved out a niche by offering a wide range of sugar-free products. Estee targeted diabetics as well as other consumers who needed or wanted to restrict their intake of sugar and other ingredients, like carbohydrates. Discuss Estee’s target selection based on the three criteria from Section 2.3 in the reading: segment characteristics, competition, and company fit.
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