The purpose of these exercises is to broaden your understanding of consumer behavior by bringing you face-to-face with customers. The first step is to find a person who is not a member of this course, and who has recently bought a product or service. Your task is to conduct in depth interview of about 30-60 minutes in length with each customer. The list of questions on the next page are intended as a broad guide for structuring your in depth interviews. The format should not be followed dogmatically. Nor is the list necessarily complete and exhaustive of the types of questions you need to ask, or the level of detail for which you need to probe. Rather you should try to stimulate a lively and open discussion around these key question areas from which you can: (a) develop a deep understanding of the purchase decision process; and (b) surface the factors, in the environment and in the customer’s psyche, that really determined why the customer acted the way she/he did and c) understand how this impacted the relationship with the product and the brand for the future.
Choose one of the following scenarios to structure your interview around:
- A mundane product or service costing less than $5.
- A product or service costing over $100 that performs a utilitarian function.
- A product or service costing over $100 that, the customer feels, reveals something about the kind of person she or he is.
Prepare a 3 page 12 point font double spaced paper summarizing the interview and the pertinent answers from the questions below. Your paper should reveal some key insights about the purchase behavior of the consumer and display your understanding of the purchase process and the brand relationship.
RUBRIC FOR GRADING
|Content||How well does the paper analyze the interview? Does it include class concepts? Does it include a few key insights gained from the interview?||30 points|
|Structure||Is the paper the appropriate length? Grammar? Sentence Structure?||20 points|
|Argument||Does the paper follow a logical flow? Do the arguments make sense? Are they supported by insights from the interview?||30 points|
|Overall Paper Quality||Quality of writing, quality of interview, depth of discussion. Overall, is this a good paper?||20 points|
General Discussion Questions/Areas:
- Who is the decision-making unit? Who bought the product or service?
- Identify all those who played a role in the decision process. What role did they play?
- What motivated the purchase?
- What problems did the product/service solve? What functions would it facilitate? What attributes seemed important?
- Characterize the decision. Was it a first time decision? A review of a previous decision? A casual decision? Was the amount of deliberation appropriate to the decision?
- Characterize the decision-making process. What triggered the process? Was there an information search? How was the search conducted? How much information was collected? What sources were used? When in the process was information gathered? How many alternatives were evaluated? Why those? How was the final choice determined?
- Where did the consumer buy? Why there? Which came first: where to buy or what to buy?
- How often is the product used or consumed? Who uses it? When? Where? How often?
- What feelings and opinions surround the consumption experience?
- What type of relationship does the customer have with the product or service?
- How long has the relationship been going on? How has it evolved and changed over time? What terms best describe the relationship: good, bad, mixed, ambivalence, dependency, casual, partners, exploited, exploitative, good friends?
- Is the customer satisfied or dissatisfied with the product or service? What factors influence the level of felt (dis) satisfaction? How were expectations formed? Did the product exceed them or fall short? How? What is the meaning of this product or service to the customer?
- How does the product fit into the consumer’s life? What role does it play?
- What role does the brand play in all of this?
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