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How to motivate customers (Part II)

Last week’s article focused on how to motivate customers by addressing how your product or service is personally relevant to their lives. In this article, the discussion of customer motivation to purchase is continued as we look at the next factor in purchase decisions: the customer’s set of values.

Values are the enduring beliefs held by a person which help guide their perceptions of what is desirable or good. In the consumer’s culture, there can be an emphasis on individual values such as achievement or self-direction; collective values such as politeness, cleanliness, and responsibility; or on mixed-mode values such as security (e.g., national security or family security).

Organizations must understand how these types of consumer values affect consumption/purchase patterns, market segmentation, advertisement strategy, and last, but not least, ethics. Because consumers typically purchase and use products in ways which are consistent with their personal values, organizations can know more about what consumers like if they understand their values. Furthermore, this knowledge will help the organization determine which products to sell, where to sell them, and how to advertise them to various regional markets.

For example, individuals are more likely to buy gifts, send cards, and make long-distance phone calls in cultures where people value warm and close relationships; whereas this is much less likely to occur in cultures where there is less value placed on relationships. In one example, Campbell's Soup failed to make a significant mark in the South American markets because in many of these countries, serving canned soup to one's family seemed tantamount to accusing a mother of not caring enough to prepare a home-made soup. This area of the world places a great emphasis on how a mother cares for her children and her family; as a result, Campbell's had experienced some difficulty in approaching these markets.

When an organization understands the underlying values of its customers (or potential customers), it puts itself in a better position for developing a marketing strategy that best appeals to these customers, in whichever market they may exist.

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