For this assignment from chapter 4, please answer completely, however you should only need 3 – 4 well-stated paragraphs to answer the question. My answer to my choice of company (below) is longer as a learning experience. Focus on the main points such as discussed in the chapter. Please make sure to cite any references you use in APA style.
Topic: The steps in the consumer buying process are:
Information search to satisfy the need or resolve the problem
Evaluation of possible solutions
Making the purchase
Post-purchase evaluation (Good purchase or buyer’s remorse?)
Under typical situations, this process can be short such as for purchases of everything from candy to a book to dinner. For more complex, expensive, or consequential purchases such as clothing, a car, an education, this process can take some time, require some research, and it can include more emotional or social characteristics than with the purchase of candy, etc. The clothes we wear, the car we drive, and even the college we choose can have specific and future implications to our view of ourselves, the view others have of us, the style we wish to project to others, our comfort, our career, that the purchase of candy simply does not include.
Consumer behavior and how our behavior affects purchases and our lives is the subject of much study. It is at the heart of business and marketing activity. When Marketers and others understand our needs and the process we go through to satisfy them, they can almost predict our response (Can be difficult to do.); better satisfy our needs by offering products and services that meet or exceed our expectations. So, they engage in a needs assessment type process and then try to determine which needs they can satisfactorily satisfy and the process moves on. Marketers look at everything from how the consumer makes the decision to consumption or disposal.
For this assignment, please choose one business or brand. It can be one you patronize or one that you would like to know more about or any business. Please briefly describe the steps or process the retailer is taking to embed itself in the consumer buying process for its target market. What does or can the business or brand do from a strategic standpoint that satisfies the needs, wants, and maybe even demands of its target audience?
My answer to this assignment:
What we eat and where we eat it can be a social aspect of American life. Stated by Klein (2018), the restaurant industry is the “heartbeat of consumer behavior in America” (¶ 1). Basically, we like to eat and when we do, social aspects of life can take on a new form.
When change occurs, whether in technology, menu items, social discourse, or in any other aspect of our lives, quite often the restaurant industry is in the middle of the process as food is not only necessary to our daily lives but it is part of the fabric by which we build our lives from wine tastings at the local winery to beer parties at the Capitol, from Maine lobsters to Kansas City Barbeque, from Texas Chili to Philly soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, and for all types of celebrations.
Dunkin’ is one of the largest chains for coffee and baked goods in the world. It is considered a QSR or Quick Service Restaurant and caters to those who are “on the go” using slogans such as “America Runs on Dunkin’” to promote its products to its target market, encouraging it to grab a quick, tasty, inexpensive cup of coffee along with a pastry, sandwich or other treat on the way to work, school or life activity and to entice or motivate their buying behavior over and over again. Basically, it promotes its product as an integral part of our daily lives; as more than just a morning activity. In that way, it shortens the consumer buying process. While the consumer buying process is already short for this type of product, Dunkin’ knows there is competition on just about every corner and that consumers change their buying behavior to meet their needs. Dunkin’ also knows it has to be abreast of these behavioral changes in order to remain relevant in the lives of its target market.
Dunkin’ has specific target markets that it connects with by using campaigns that promote coffee and baked goods for those who are on-the-go; those who want fast, consistent service at a good price; and those who want to feel a connection that for some, is a basic need each day. It aspires to be the everyday QSR of choice, offering a large variety of items its target audience wants, at prices it can afford, at any time throughout the day to meet demanding or changing schedules. And, it does so in a way that makes a quick decision-making process even quicker.
‘America runs on Dunkin’ speaks to a specific target audience that perhaps is not interested in a café experience or expensive pastries. Recently, the company has been focusing on coffee but not abandoning what made the chain famous, its doughnuts. As a global brand, Dunkin’ has an identification point…basically same look, feel, value proposition wherever one buys coffee. It serves the “average Joe” of which there are many who fall into the category. Dunkin’ knows its base by its wants and needs, and serves them in a quick, affordable way. When the chain decided to expand into what is normally considered higher-end products such as espresso, it did so with price and value in mind so as not to alienate its average customer. All the other “adds” such as DD Perks, mobile apps, etc. increase the value proposition by keeping prices low for the customer. Combined, these strategies speak to a particular customer base in a way that repeatedly motivates the base and keeps it loyal, one cup at a time. There is a saying in marketing “Whoever understands the customer best, wins” by Mike Gospe . Dunkin’, by embedding itself into the fabric of American life, by keeping purchases relevant and payment easy, by focusing on quick service while maintaining quality, and conveniently locating restaurants may have found the formula that works for it in understanding its customers’ needs.
In 2020, Dunkin’ Brands, now former owner of Dunkin’ restaurants (which is now owned by Atlanta-based Inspire Brands), followed up on its re-brand of a few years earlier by looking to realign Dunkin’s marketing organization. Why would a successful chain embark on a realignment strategy for what appears to be working? Any realignment needs to be carefully thought out and performed. Such a move is strategic in nature and generally viewed as promoting growth in its go-to-market delivery of products and services (Adams, 2020) to its customer base. Over the last few years, Dunkin’ has increased its digital and mobile capabilities discussed above by adding additional services, conveniences, perks, and even re-designing its restaurants to reflect the manner in which customers order its products today. In the end, the chain is hoping that by re-aligning its marketing teams to combine digital and marketing teams which are already interconnected, it will seamlessly support future growth, make the company’s marketing effort more agile, more cost-effective, and engage in a more integrated marketing approach. Any strategic move can be risky. And, in Dunkin’s case, it will not only affect the target audience. It could also affect its business model especially if the alignment produces a slower than expected process. Remembering that Dunkin’ is a franchise operation, being able to better support the franchisees is also of concern. Only time will tell if this strategic change will improve the current process by making it more seamless, customer-centric, and readily adaptable to consumer behavioral changes in a competitive market.