Section 1: Understanding Buyer Behavior
In a competitive business environment, the role of marketers has always been to acquire new customers and be in a position to retain the already loyal ones in order to offer value and also satisfy the expectations of the consumers. However, the strategy of retaining consumers supporting the high level of satisfaction also has the potential to affect the stock price and earnings per share for the company. In such situation, Cognitivism is the best approach that can be used by marketers to understand the consumer behavior (Sharma 2014, p. 833). It is because cognitive dissonance plays a major role in the value judgments, evaluations and the decisions that consumers make. Tackling the conflicting beliefs that consumers have will affect the ways in which they make decision regarding purchase (East,Wright & Vanhuele 2015, p. 123). It will help customers to make more accurate and fast choices.
Many people have several beliefs regarding candy or snacks like Snickers. The first belief is that it is junk food which is not healthy for consumption. The belief, therefore, has the potential to affect the consumer purchase ability of Snickers. It is the role of the marketers to make the potential consumers or their target audience understand the components of Snickers. The company has been tackling this belief of unhealthy junk food by explaining to their potential consumers the ability of Snickers to lower the blood sugar levels. Furthermore, consumers’ belief that Snickers cannot fulfill their hunger can be tackled by the fact that it is made of groundnuts which is a good source of energy. The creation of new, positive beliefs about the candy will outweigh the dissonant beliefs possessed by consumers that may hinder their purchase ability (Romaniuk, Bogomolova & Dall’Olmo 2012, p. 247). Proper explanations will also help to reduce the number of controversial beliefs.
Considering Behaviorism as an approach to understand consumer behavior, it should be mentioned that the theory mainly focuses on the external environment and the ways in which they affect the behavior of a consumer. It means that the purchasing power will be based on the verbal descriptions of the brand in a particular environment (Wells 2014, p. 1120). The behaviors of consumers cannot change the conflicting beliefs that people have about a product. In this regard, Cognitivism best explains buyer behavior which will result in a sole loyalty for the product.
Section 2: Brand Performance
The brand performance can be determined by its sales records. Therefore, it is important for Snickers Company to conduct brand evaluation to determine its strengths and weaknesses in the market. Table 1 shows that there is a pattern evident between the brand performance measures for the companies listed. For instance, the market share differs across the five brands of chocolate bars with Mars having the highest market share, which may be based on the fact that they have a larger penetration level and sole loyalty among their consumers (Miller 2016, p.1). The pattern shows that the company with the highest level of market share and penetration receives a larger number of loyal clients. The level of frequency of purchase among the company’s consumers whether new or old is also high regardless of the fact that their buying rate is low which may be contributed by pricing or other factors (Siddiqui & Agarwal 2017, p. 365).
Snickers brand has a market share of 20% which results from its greater internal commitment and engagement that has earned the brand a higher purchase rate compared to the main competitor Mars Bar which has the largest market share. However, Mars Bar is a decentralized organization which is the reason for company’s higher level of penetration (75%) and increased consumer loyalty. If Snickers can take a more global approach with company’s product, then its level of penetration will be higher which will increase the chances of acquiring more loyal consumers (Sharma 2014, p. 837). The performance of the Snickers brand would be much better than Mars Bar since they already have the category buying rate advantage in the market. However, the reason behind the low level of sole loyalty to Snickers Company is that they do not have a large share of category requirements like Mars Bar. Table 1 clearly shows that it is easy to substitute brands. It is the reason a person can choose to buy from Snickers but maintain their loyalty to Mars Bar because they meet their requirements in regards to taste and perhaps health issues. At the same time, a Nestle Gold company has the highest level of buying rate because it is a strong brand in the market which people opt to buy because of the product’s high quality. However, due to the lack of penetration and a small market share, they do not have sole loyal clients.
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Snickers brand has an advantage of high number of buying rate (6.2%) which is above average compared to its main competitor in the market Mars Bar (5.2%) that has the largest number of sole loyal clients (22%). The marketing director is fair in his concernes about company’s low level of sole loyalty. Implementing a marketing strategy to encourage the existing buyers to only buy Snickers is the best decision because it will increase the brand growth and sales margin (Sharma 2014, p. 839). However, for this to happen, the company needs to be immediately recognizable. Through a good communication network, Snickers will be in a position to build a brand image that is distinctive. It is also important to increase the company’s growth level through the implementation of the global approach (Equis 2011, p. 10).
Penetration in this case may also mean making the product more available in the stores. Most of the potential consumers purchase Mars Bar which has flooded the market, when they fail to find Snickers in the store (Miller 2016, p.1). As a result, most consumers get used to purchasing Mars Bar and make a choice to become loyal to this brand. In order to obtain growth in consumer loyalty the company is required to have good communication platforms in order to persuade people to buy Snickers bar regularly. A word of mouth advocacy will be crucial in informing the consumers about the stores where they can buy Snickers (Jain & Sharma 2013, p. 118). Many people are already aware of the Snickers brand, the only thing the company needs is fame. The marketers need to convince more people to consume the product which will increase the penetration levels and the sales.
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Section 3: Mental Availability
Mental availability is a strategy being used by marketers to make the consumers notice, recognize and also think about their product to encourage purchase. However, mental availability does not rely only on brand awareness; quantity and quality of a product also play a vital role in the mental structure that consumers have or develop about the product. The best way to build and enhance mental availability is by ensuring quality and consistent marketing through advertisement (Miller 2016, p. 1). In such a way, a marketer can stress the distinctive features of the brands that will win over the market with time. While the brand is marketed, it should be made physically available so that the consumers may easily buy the bar whenever they want it. Snickers brand needs to keep its stock levels high to penetrate the market, this will increase growth rate through increased purchase frequency.
The appropriate strategies that can be used to build mental availability involve getting noticed through increased advertisement. At the same time, the company needs to be consistent with their advertisement to keep the brand visible in the minds of the consumers. The consistency should also be maintained in regards to quality of the product since this affects the consumer requirements that determines their choice of purchase and buyer behavior (East, Wright & Vanhuele 2015, p. 133). The other strategy presupposes focusing on consumer retention which has the potential of increasing the growth rate. In this case, the behavior of the consumers will increase mental availability. Loyalty comes with trust; if consumers convince their friends to purchase a particular chocolate bar, this will help in building mental availability.
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There are different entry points that the Snickers Company can decide to use in its advertisement. They include: the brand campaign slogan which is “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” the information about ingredients such as groundnuts, and the details about the health outcomes of product consumption (Miller 2016, p. 1). Humor is also crucial in advertisement because it increases mental availability among consumers. The company’s advertisement should also indicate the location of the shops where its bars are sold. The commercial should use stories that appeal mainly to company’s target audience to attract consumer’s attention. Snickers may also focus on brand comparative advantages, their level of efficacy. The advertisement may also focus on the values that they are offering that are better than competitors. Lastly, they may include educative information on their advertisement.
Section 4: Demographics and Segmentation
Based on table 4-6, it is paramount that Snickers brand focus on targeting female customers aged between 26-35years old and earn $70, 000 annually. The company’s top competitors have higher performance rates because they focus their attention on female consumers and give less attention to men. Since the majority of women are addicted to chocolate they are the best target market. Men will consider buying a Snickers bar for snack only when it is available or when there is a need for extra energy a tiresome duty might demand. At the same time, in regards to age, based on their competitor’s (Mars Bar) performance, it is evident that the customers between the ages of 26-35 ensure the major income from the sales. In order to increase the sales, the Snickers Company needs to raise its level of penetration in areas where this age group of individuals resides such as colleges and universities. It means that the company is already doing well in targeting this age group but the low returns may be attributed to the low penetration level or market share. Lastly, in regards to demographic factors the best households to target in order to achieve good returns are those earning from $50,000-$70, 000 annually. People with such yearly income are not afraid of spending money on chocolate snacks.
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It is crucial for marketing director to take seriously the issue of segmentation because it is the only way to determine the kind of needs that the consumers possess. In regards to age, the company should implement a marketing strategy that targets people from different age categories. Different advertisements should be created in order to capture the attention of the customers from different age groups since what appeals to the adults may not appeal to adolescents. In regards to income, the company should focus its penetration in areas where the purchase power is the highest. It is true because individuals with high incomes are not afraid to spend money on chocolate. At the same time, in order to achieve growth, the company should ensure that their product is always available, which will also increase mental availability (Mishra 2015, p.22). In regards to gender, since the company aims to shift its focus to target female audience, the mode of advertisement should be changed in order to ensure that the content appeals to female audience.