Marketing Research: Tracking Technology Sheds Light on Shopping Habits

HomeEssaysArticle Critique/ReviewMarketing Research: Tracking Technology Sheds Light on Shopping Habits

Today, commerce becomes more sophisticated and unusual than it used to be many years ago. The digital era makes it possible to make experiments and introduce new ways of impressing customers based on the precise analysis of their needs, interests, and aspirations. The article written by Elizabeth Dwoskin and Greg Bensinger analyzes the inclusion of the latest technological devices allowing shops to track the movement of every customer. Shopping centers willingly started using the latest innovation, which helps to analyze the customers’ readiness to wait in a queue for purchasing the products they need. It became one of the most outstanding and beneficial tools that help shops in accommodating their activities according to the demands of customers. From the marketing point of view, trackers allow shops to analyze the psychological background of customers’ purchases, which lets the stores predict customers’ behavior during their next visit. As a result, it became easier to manipulate every visitor by creating a scheme for selling specific products based on customers’ preferences. Macy’s became one of the shopping centers that successfully implemented tracking sensors recording the paths of visitors. This approach provided shops with valuable information on how to improve their competitiveness.

Nevertheless, a new technology for tracking customers’ movements raised many doubts in society. The article provides the experience of Nordstrom Inc., which faced indignation from customers who discovered that the shopping center was using their Wi-Fi signals to track their movements (Dwoskin & Bensinger, 2013). From the marketing point of view, technology became appropriate for the improvement of knowledge about customers’ profiles and their desires. However, from the point of view of privacy rights, it may lead to the development of doubts among customers being not sure that the shopping centers will track their movement without stealing private information. The Future of Privacy Forum tried to target the issue and convince retailers to notify customers about checking their basic information with the help of Wi-Fi by using signs throughout the shopping space. However, the issue continues to be alarming as long as not every retailer willingly follows the directions of the Future of Privacy Forum.

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Forest City is one of the shopping centers used as an example of a well-balanced marketing campaign and transparency in terms of relations with customers. The article emphasizes the opportunity to monitor customers’ activities without secrecy along with the support of the successful performance of the shopping center. The key lies in making customers aware of observing their activities and movement through the shopping center in order to make their shopping experience better (Dwoskin & Bensinger, 2013). The idea lies in avoiding fear of customers that the shopping center would access private information.

In terms of marketing research, trustful relations with customers will lead to the establishment of their natural desire to come to the shopping center, which has already taken care of making their shopping activity comfortable and satisfying. However, it is necessary to keep from crossing the borders of privacy in order not to damage the company’s reputation and image. The introduced method of marketing research is an innovational technique, which shows the effectiveness of incorporating new data in the development of marketing campaigns.

The article gives its readers a necessary marketing lesson. In my personal opinion, collecting information about customers is necessary. However, tracking systems may lead to unpredictable outcomes, which may have a destructive influence on the reputation of the shopping centers and shops located within. In addition, there are no customers allowing someone to follow every step made in the shopping center. Marketing campaigns should find better solutions for analyzing customers’ behavior instead of following them and tracking their behavioral patterns. It would be better if retailers could conduct surveys and polls in order to know more about their target audience. It would nourish buyer-seller relations with trust, transparency, and mutual respect instead of representing performance of the shopping centers as being suspicious.

Smile! Marketing Firms Are Mining Your Selfies

Another article written by Douglas MacMillan and Elizabeth Dwoskin focuses on contemporary social networks, which have already become the scope of many marketing campaigns. It became easier to navigate through the customers’ needs, interests, and lifestyle by looking through their online profiles. Moreover, social networking became an outlining part of contemporary e-commerce, which obtained a new level of development. The idea of every social network lies in sharing pictures, short messages, and videos with the help of the internet. The focus of the article lies in assuring the reader that friends are not the only ones looking through users’ profiles. Shops are looking for not only naked celebrities in social networks but also for catchy pictures of famous profiles (MacMillan & Dwoskin, 2014). The most beneficial aspect of searching for appropriate images in social networks is the fact that millions of users surf these social networks and post pictures for free. Instagram became similar to the Shutterstock, which does not request any payment for downloading or uploading pictures. As a result, companies do not need to pay for accessing data about customers and identifying their needs. Millions of photos posted on a daily basis provide companies with trends and insights in the latest transformation of customers’ tastes based on their purchases.

According to the rising spread of social networks, the contemporary business developed a new branch of companies offering photo-mining services. Ditto Labs is one of such companies that provide its customers with detailed information on their target audience (MacMillan & Dwoskin, 2014). In fact, the company searches and analyzes public selfies, which gives advertisers valuable hints at the development of the marketing campaigns. From the point of marketing research, it became an innovative technique used to assess customers’ activities and their shopping behavior. Products, logos, brands, clothing, and even the emotional side of every photo indicate the user’s satisfaction level (MacMillan & Dwoskin, 2014). In particular, even smiles matter for the companies in analyzing the target audience. FotoInsight became one of the most popular services, which provides companies with reliable facts supported by evidence regarding the transformation of customers’ tastes. It allows designing flexible marketing campaigns with high accommodation to the external environment.

The latest trends in the development of marketing campaigns focusing on users’ selfies may be profitable for companies. Nevertheless, it is possible to assume that this is another violation of privacy rights, which may discourage customers to share their photos and opinions. Photo-sharing social networks inform their users that third-party organizations may scan their photos for further incorporation in the marketing campaign (MacMillan & Dwoskin, 2014).

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From the point of view of marketing research, social networks provide reliable information on trends and tendencies in customers’ tastes. In addition, the information generated from social networks is valuable as long as it offers direct contact with customers. Due to technological evolution, marketing research will increase the possibility of achieving goals and objectives of the marketing campaigns with highly reliable information based on customers’ opinions.

The contemporary marketing continues to go through new stages of evolution. Customers do not even know about the processes lying behind the products they find while shopping. In my opinion, the latest trend focusing on storing photos of internet users who share their private pictures in social networks has two sides. On the one hand, the companies have a significant opportunity to learn more about their target audience. On the other hand, it is the result of the predatory marketing, which violates the private area of customers’ activities and may lead to global dissatisfaction.

The New ABCs of Branding: feat. Daniel Pink’s 3 Rules for Moving Others

Ayesha Mathews-Wadhwa is another author who dedicated her article to the marketing concepts taking new tools and techniques from the evolution of the business area. The scope of the article outlines the basic concepts used in the book of Daniel Pink willing to reveal the secrets of branding with his readers. In particular, the article emphasizes three components of branding including attunement, buoyancy, and clarity (Mathews-Wadhwa, 2013). The article is full of valuable information, which is worth considering for building the company’s brand, image, and reputation based on the interactions with consumers. The most challenging aspect of all three components lies in adhering to the customers’ needs with their peculiarities and cultural identity. In this way, the companies struggle in a business environment and compete with each other by addressing consumers’ needs as fast as possible.

Attunement is worth taking the primary place in the development of effective branding. It is the art of listening to customers with the diversity of their tastes and demands. As soon as companies manage to understand the behavioral patterns, lifestyle, habits, and routine needs of customers, it becomes easier to establish a brand revealing the perfect image of products and services that the customers are looking for (Mathews-Wadhwa, 2013). In marketing research, attunement has a sensitive nature, which requires precise management and analysis in order to make it sufficient and beneficial for the company’s further performance. Brands’ customization became one of the activities that companies initiate by aiming to obtain additional competitive advantages. Simplicity is the key to successful marketing campaigns built on attunement. The only necessary element in creating an effective brand lies in making shopping experience simple and satisfying, which will show customers that the company knows how to satisfy their needs.

The sense of buoyancy takes second place in the formation of the company’s brand. It is the link between different attempts to create impressive brand and success. Buoyancy provides marketers with the ability to accept failures in the development of marketing campaigns. As soon as companies manage to see their mistakes, there is a space for improvement, which will use more powerful techniques and methods to attract consumers’ attention. Buoyancy teaches how to bounce back to the previous stage and use it for the benefits as a familiar platform for further development with new knowledge and experience. The article suggests a reliable marketing approach towards evaluation of the company’s competitive advantages based on products’ characteristic features. For example, the questions focusing on the reasons why consumers might refuse buying the company’s products will reveal the truth about necessary improvements.

Clarity is the final element that should penetrate into efforts of the company aimed at building an outstanding brand. Thinking and acting with clarity shows the way to target issues which customers do not even know they have and address them in the nearest marketing campaign. It is the key to success in creating a brand, which takes care of customers and surrounds them with comfort. In this way, customers will develop a natural desire to enjoy the benefits of the company’s products and services.

Marketing research has a sensitive nature which defines the future of the company’s strategic planning. The evaluated parts of branding are only a peak of the iceberg flowing in the ocean of business growth, evolution, and competition. However, it is important to use all the available resources to collect, analyze, and incorporate data in the company’s efforts aimed to bring personal performance to leading positions. An effective marketing research is the link connecting the company’s performance and customers’ preferences. The learned course finds its traces in the article and emphasizes the natural struggle of companies for building unique brand and image that will win the customers’ loyalty and tolerance.

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Analyzing Customers, Best Buy Decides not All Are Welcome

Gary McWilliams is another author circulating in the area of marketing, who dedicated his article to the evaluation of the pricing strategies and consumers’ behavior based on the example of Best Buy Co. The company implemented two terms for defining different groups of customers playing a significant role in the company’s profitability. The “angels” are the customers who willingly purchase newly released electronics without waiting for discounts or markdowns (McWilliams, 2004). This group of customers is the main source of profits, which increases the company’s profitability. The “devils” represent the worst group of customers who have a devastating effect on the company’s financial sustainability (McWilliams, 2004). These customers apply for rebates, return the purchased products, and unexpectedly decide to purchase them back by using discounts. As a result, the company has its costs increased based on a non-beneficial exchange of goods with such irresponsible consumers. In the majority of cases, it happens for the reason of customers’ natural desire to save money. However, the company suffers from such manifestations, which have a destructive effect on the financial growth. In the light of such abusive activity, Best Buy Co. decided to use a business-school approach, which would allow focusing on the profitable customers. The approach lies in labeling consumers according to their profitability and then reducing the number of unprofitable customers by 20% (McWilliams, 2004). It is a widely used approach that allows the companies to focus on the middle and upper classes of the target audience. However, it is necessary to admit that this approach is useful in case of stable brand and reputation, which the company has already obtained in the market. Otherwise, the efforts will be insufficient and useless. Best Buy Co. has already implemented the new approach in the first 100 of its stores by cutting sales and promotions, which would attract customers to low-cost products (McWilliams, 2004). This initiative is also the result of the rising competition, which continues threatening the company’s sustainability and growth.

The digital era introduced new space for e-commerce, which obtains new levels of business evolution. There are hundreds of the retailing websites threatening productivity and profitability of Best Buy Co. due to the myriad of available discounts and seasonal offers. It became common for consumers to trade coupons and use them for purchasing electronics at the lower prices. However, the problem may lie deeper than it seems to be. The article explains that the losses associated with unprofitable customers vanish away the benefits brought by profitable customers, which means that the company may misunderstand the initial formation of the target audience and choose a wrong strategy to retain consumers. Best Buy Co. has to create several groupings of the target audience, which allowed making a detailed focus on those customers who can afford purchasing products regardless of the discounts’ availability.

Marketing research benefits from customers’ segmentation and narrow scope of the company’s performance. It becomes easier to focus on the needs of similar customers and direct their preferences through narrow-oriented marketing research. In addition, wealthy customers allow creating a marketing research with the use of simple tools for the evaluation of broad customers’ needs. Wealthy customers can afford almost any product, which makes it easier to create affordable products. The article proved that customers below the middle-level income represent the biggest threat to the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.

The analyzed article reflected one of the most widespread dilemmas faced by the companies along with competition. Customers will always remain the primary target in any marketing campaign. However, the key to winning customers’ loyalty and leading the company’s profitability to appropriate level lies in accommodation of the pricing strategy to the financial status of consumers. Every company should decide upon the financial opportunities of customers and their interest in purchasing its products. Excessive discounts are attractive for consumers but may have a negative impact on the company’s productivity and financial sustainability.

Taking Retailers’ Cues, Harrah’s Taps into the Science of Gambling

Christina Binkley dedicated her article to the marketing concepts and approaches used in the management of casino. Harrah’s Casino and its owner Mark Salvador depend on the readiness of gamblers to bet more while being motivated by the desire to receive more. A computer-generated list of gamblers helps to predict the possibility of raising profits of the casino based on the increased desire of gamblers to take risks at Harrah’s Casino (Binkley, 2004). The idea of the concept lies in collecting information related to gambling, which results in specific behavior. For example, the article mentions a man who enjoys playing in casino but can afford it when his wife is away or when he has a vacation. Moreover, the information from the list provided Harrah’s Casino’s owner with the behavior of the potential visitor and his/her contact information. It would be impressive enough if the casino owner could invite every gambler to take risks at the casino.

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The casino business depends on wealthy customers willing to spend enormous amounts of money on betting. It became easy to survive in Las Vegas, which is the center of entertainment. Harrah’s Casino turned out to be a unique entity, which used the experience of well-known retailers and implemented data collection and analysis initiatives in its primary performance. The casino regularly collects information about its visitors, their behavioral patterns, frequency of visits, and the amounts of money spent there. As a result, it became easier to target needs of wealthy visitors looking for entertainment and risky games. Harrah’s Casino became a leader in the industry of gambling due to its obtained ability to navigate through its customers and trigger their interest in betting by holding various events in every casino belonging to the business chain. Data statistics and accurate calculations support every decision-making process, which helps to bring the company to new level of success (Binkley, 2004). Wealthy customers are the guarantee of the company’s profitability and productivity, which allows avoiding hectic concentration on customers in the wide sense. Only several dozens of customers are enough to ensure that the company remains competitive in the next quarter. It is the result of brilliant estimation and prediction of the customers’ behavior and their readiness to spend significant amounts of money on gambling.

Harrah’s Casino proves that a wise marketing approach and well-balanced statistical analysis provide the best combination of success. In my personal opinion, Harrah’s Casino deserves respect for its ability to perform in the entertainment industry with a thorough estimation of the customers’ inputs in the company’s revenue. It proves that every marketing research should focus on the target audience by making forecasts and projecting the benefits of every step towards the implementation of any new strategy. Statistical analysis and mathematics are the most reliable sources of marketing research indicating the company’s financial opportunities.

In general, it became clear that any information related to the customers’ activity is valuable as long as it sets the tone for business transformation. The decision-making process depends on changes in the customers’ willingness and readiness to afford products and services. Harrah’s Casino proved that even the most entertaining business requires outstanding responsibility and attention to the transformation of the respective industry. Competitors and customers create a natural environment for further accommodation of the marketing strategy with its peculiarities.

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