IMPORTANCE OF SERVICES AND CUSTOMER INFORMATION
Companies not having knowledge of their markets and customers about their likes, dislikes, preferences tastes, income, and habits cannot survive and soon they get out of the market licking their sores and giving way to their competitors. Conversely, companies well-versed with the nature of the market get on well and thrive. This is the era where the world changing fast, new and unexpected things are coining to pass, new inventions knock at the door anytime, competition is getting increasingly fierce and complicated, business uncertainty is on the increase. The business world-wide with such a background is in dire need of latest information that has assumed monstrous significance and proportions. After gathering and analyzing information the company can be capable to draw up effective policies and plans to successfully avert undesirable happenings.
The customer information may be divided into two kinds.
1. Kind/nature of customers
2. Consumer needs
3. Other customer information
Their details are given below:
1. Kind/nature of customers
Effective marketing policy is not possible unless customers are ranked in accordance with their r types. The ranking is this.
1. Final Consumers
They are end users of the goods and services. Here, the term refers to the consumers or customers who are targeted as the ones who buy for personal or home consumption and do not intend to resell them. The products that come in their use include bread, garments, houses, cars, needles, books, pens, and the like.
These are the businessmen who buy for reselling without changing the products. Such customers include all middlemen such as wholesalers, retailers, brokers, importers, exporters, department and chain stores, and supermarkets.
These are the marketers or specialized organizations that provide intangible goods and services in the fields of hotels, education, hospitals, theaters, entertainments, traveling lines, banks, insurance, and many others. These providers need to operate their business furniture, stationery, electric goods, safety devices, computers, and equipment. The knowledge of the needs of such service organizations opens venues for lucrative business for marketers of such goods.
Governments And Its Organizations
The government and its organizations also fall in the category of service providers and they include army, police, utilities, railways. They also act as a tax collection authority. Governments in various capacities need aircraft, ships, arms, submarines, tanks, missiles, explosives, guns, uniform in addition to other items needed to run an office. They purchase all needed items through agreements, tenders, bids, or auctions.
2. Consumer Needs
Knowledge of consumer needs that are always changing is a key to success. The knowledge of consumers includes their income, religion, caste, age, taste, status, habits. This knowledge raises the foundation of an effective marketing policy.. However, the job is not that easy as it looks. The reason is that even the customer or consumer himself may not know what and why he needs or why he likes, prefers, or bearers the way he does. He even doesn’t know why he is using a particular brand of T.V. Whether the reason is price, quality, popularity, durability, just because of someone’s advice or he is following others. Hence the job of marketing manager becomes complex and tough. Modern psychologists suggest that the real factor or factors working behind a person’s needs or desires can be analyzed and judged in the light of his biological, socio-economical, cultural, and psychological characteristics.
Hence, to formulate marketing policy with an aspect of nature of consumer needs requires a deep analysis concentrating on biological, socio-economical, psychological, and cultural factors. The following guidelines may be pursued to unfold all such complexities.
(i) Study of Customers
To learn the needs of customer following approaches may be undertaken.
i. Survey or questionnaire
ii. Research and experiment
Another approach to gain consumer knowledge is field test. It is costly, time-consuming experimentation method. Under it, a limited amount of an item is manufactured and spread on certain parts of a market known as test markets. Then the results are noted and analyzed, and subsequently decision is made whatsoever to go ahead with or expand the project or abandon it.
The method brings fairly precise results. The rivals, however, may use tricks to distort the results.
Self-made product method is especially popular in the field of science and technology. Since people are unaware of their true needs it may be futile to enquire into their needs directly. So it is rather common practice where the companies create products on their own choosing at random color, design, size, etc., or they follow their competitors on the market and advertise heavily to attract prospective customers. The theme behind this method is that the company takes the responsibility to educate customers and tries to let them know what they actually need. This method is widespread in the filed of science and electronics including computers, information technology, audio-video products, cellular phones, and home appliances. In these fields customers have little knowledge and when a new or newly modified product is introduced they immediately accept it. For instance when remote control system was introduced by the innovative manufacturers the customers who even couldn’t think of this invention overwhelmingly welcomed it.
3. Other Customer Information
To formulate effective marketing policy it is necessary to group the customers as follows:
Customers should be grouped age-wise to hit the target market precisely. Following age groups are common:
(a) Children and babies (b) Boys (c) Youths (d) Middle-aged (e) Old persons.
By this scheme, for instance, a cigarette manufacture will make group C and D his target market. For baby garments and shoes he will target group (a).
Income and prices are directly related to each other. Low-priced goods are meant for low-income groups. Costly items are bought by customers belonging to high-income groups. Hence the target market will depend on the people with different incomes. Income groups may be classified as:
High income group
Middle income group
Low income group
These three groups can be further subdivided to precisely determine the demand for the product. The car manufacturer, for instance will focus his attention on the high income group. Diamond and precious stone sellers will also target the same market group. Air-conditioner sellers will concentrate on both high and middle-income groups. The knowledge of customers, income plays a vital role in mapping out an effective marketing strategy.
People belonging different religions and creeds have different needs, habits. and views and visions. In Islam, for instance, wine and pork are forbidden. Hindus are vegetarians. Prohibition of casinos in Islam is another case in point. Consumer expenditure in Muslim societies heightens during Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
Taking into account the religious factors in designing marketing policies brings better results to the company.
Language and Culture
The company should have full knowledge of language and culture prevailing in the societies it wants to penetrate. People of different culture have different .habits. They differ in ‘eating, wearing, and life styles. Rice consumption is greater inBangladesh thanPakistan. In Karachi Urdu medium students are in greater number than English.
Education of Customers
There is a wide gap between the needs of the educated and uneducated persons. Company’s marketing programs may be affected by the different tastes of these segments.
Educated and uneducated customers have different habits, styles, needs, and preferences. Company’s marketing policy is influenced by this phenomenon.
In addition to the above, professions, residences, locations,, weather conditions, and other environmental conditions are instrumental in shaping marketing policies.