If I were to categorize the type of consumer I am it would be this: an Individual consumer who is influenced by cognitive responses to the marketing I encounter. When searching for my last farm truck, for example, my attributing reliable and powerful engines to the FORD brand and the PowerStroke Diesel engine led me to spend twice as much on the truck as I had originally wanted. I felt that taking all things into comparison, that one element would be the most compelling.
My purchase decisions are made following my researching the possible solutions to a need which I have identified. I rarely buy on impulse, and for the most part ignore the very compelling marketing efforts at the checkout aisle! Rather, when I look at the fundamental messaging that influences me, I respond to imagery which is aspirational to my specific vision and goals for life. I seek products that are positioned as reliable and peer-reviewed, but I don’t want to be one of many. I want to buy the fringes. That is to say, those products that are the best (supported by professionals who use them, but that are less known by the general public. As an example, I hosted a radio show as the Executive Chef of the only live cooking radio show in the world. Every week I cooked on air with chefs from around the world. From those engagements, I would learn about the best knife or the best pan. It was then that I discovered carbon steel pans. These are not your standard Calphalon or All-Clad. These are purpose built pans that conduct heat quickly and form the basis of the pans used in most high end restaurants. The specific brand that I chose was based on their marketing positioning their version of the pans as the highest rated amongst Michelin chefs.
Marketing Design may be easy to quantify as to what I respond to – that is to say a focus on that product being for those in-the-know and what the smartest and most knowledgable really buy. The story telling needs to be good, and needs to capture my imagination, while appealing to my cognitive reaction.
Marketing Research influences me in a far different way. If I PARTICIPATE in the market research, I am far more likely to be interested in a final product which comes to market (this goes back to wanting to be in-the-know amongst a small group). However, general market research is only relevant to me when it helps paint that picture that supports my buying habit. Knowing that the top Michelin chefs preferred that brand, for example, paints that story I need to make a purchase decision. But a 5-star google rating from any Tom, Dick or Harry that buys a product has no sway with me. The research needs to look for causal, correlated points that infer the experience level of the user and the exclusivity of the product. Qualitative over quantitative points are most helpful in these cases.
From a post-purchase behavior I frequently compare what I wanted with what I actually got. A gap between the two of significance would be enough for me to turn my back on that brand, and even possibly on a product category. The post-purchase behavior is crucial in product lifecycle planning as it helps determine if consumers will re-purchase or move on to a different product. It’s always less expensive to nurture and keep your current customers than it is to find new ones, and conduct the relevant research, etc.
Apple, Inc. is perhaps one of the most monolithic companies in the world when it comes to organizational objectives, but not in the way that you may think. There are no committees at Apple. None. Steve Jobs described their organization in 2014 as set up like a startup. (dfraggd, 2014) Each product has a leader that drives everything about that product. They then all come back together to show where they are progress-wise, and separate back out to continue their work.
As a result of this structure, multiple groups within Apple reach out to clients to determine satisfaction with existing products, needs on new products, and to overall keep the “Cult of Mac” going from a customer perspective (Kahney, 2006). Apple identifies closely with it’s users, and is unapologetic to those who don’t get it. As a result, when conducting research surveys, whether online or in-store, respondents give thoughtful answers which help the market research tasks.
As for organization objectives, Apple reports that when it comes to business customers, and what Apple wants to provide… “Apple hardware, software, and services work together to deliver a seamless experience that just works.” (Business, 2011) This tracks perfectly with the Apple iGlasses which will provide an immersive, Augmented Reality (AR) for everyday business use case that will complement all other Apple products that someone uses in their daily lives.
Currently, failure in market testing would pose a change to the market research findings – not changing the voracity of the testing, but how it is being achieved in this specific product. Should things change, the product focus of iGlasses as currently presented will be challenged and may take a new form. Nothing from an overall organizational perspective would change the focus on the present findings, however. Our market research has focused on primary and secondary sources, showing a need and demand in the AR space for business, with Apple proving to be a trusted provider in the business technology wearable space that fits the opportunity. Surveys conducted tie users of social media to those who would value being able to reduce screen time on a phone while maintaining visual intelligence about the world around them that AR provides.
At all times when test marketing the iGlasses product, and thereafter, special attention is being paid to legal, ethical and industry standards regarding the ethical challenges that always on AR can lead to. Whether video capture permissions and privacy, or ethical considerations of tracking individuals who are wearing the glasses, or tracking those who are identified by the glasses as being in the area by utilizing matrix facial recognition, privacy and health of users and anyone that may be affected by unintended consequences. Users will be frequently polled to ensure any potential medical or emotional issues which may involve use of the glasses are quickly identified. As it currently stands, our marketing test will include access to a legal/medical “telemedicine” facetime hotline that will allow users to immediately contact apple should any issues arise during the test period. Our current test is limited in that all possible social media and databases (such as LinkedIn for facial recognition and ratings systems for local establishments) may not be ready at the time of launch. Social Media developers have been recruited from across the landscape, but new platforms arise every day, and incorporating meaningful use of those platforms, in context with the glasses, will take some time – probably longer than the test marketing period. To rectify this, the Apple iGlasses will have an open API distributed to developers. However, crucial cyber-security components have bee incorporated in the iGlasses Operating System to prevent hackers from exploiting that open API in oder to gain control over Apple iGlasses.
dfraggd. (2014). Steve Jobs – Organizational Structure [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcTtQ0hiHbE
Kahney, L. (2006). The cult of Mac. San Francisco: No Starch Press.