Empirical investigation into the use of complexity levels in marketing segmentation and the categorisation of new automotive products
2014-01-16T13:11:01Z (GMT) by
This thesis is set in the context of the automotive industry where launches of new products with high levels of technical innovations are becoming increasingly complex for consumers to comprehend. Car manufacturers need to understand consumer perceptions of new models so they can categorise their products form the consumer perspective, to obtain a more accurate indication as to where their products fit within the increasingly defined consumer segments. Situational and personal variables now play the most important roles in marketing. In the area of nested segmentation consumer variables are only concerned with their needs, attitudes, motivations and perceptions and overlook any previous experience, exposure or familiarity that a consumer may or may not have had with the product. It is argued here that consumers have differing perceptions of newness and that asking how new and new to whom would be valid questions for marketers when introducing new products. If car manufacturers can categorise their products in terms of newness for specific consumers based on their levels of Expertise, Involvement and Familiarity with the product, manufacturers will be able to target appropriate markets more effectively. To explore this area a mixed methods research approach was applied. This research found that the level of Involvement with the product, from a motivational aspect, gave rise to different levels of interest and enthusiasm between consumers and has a direct impact on how different types of consumers view new products. In addition the differing levels of consumer knowledge highlights the need to improve targeting of marketing communications so that manufacturers provide a better understanding of complex new products to consumers. Current mass marketing methods based on consumer demographics are no longer sufficient. This research found that a consumer s level of Expertise, Involvement and Familiarity (EIF) with a specific product can be captured using a multi-dimensional scale to measure consumer product knowledge and provide an accurate consumer segmentation tool. By offering different explanations of product innovations to these consumer segments, according to a customer's EIF, marketers will achieve more effective targeting, reduce marketing costs and increase marketing campaign response.