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Consumer Preferences: Form or Function

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We as consumers do tend to purchase certain products to satisfy a need as we learned earlier in this course, and through satisfying, those needs we also make decisions about those products purchased based on the way they use the product. The value of the product that the marketer must consider as it relates to the consumer falls in to the basic value hierarchy of core benefit, expected product, augmented product and potential product, which goes into the decision-making process for the consumer. (Kolter & Keller, 2012) The product must perform to at acceptable levels according to the consumer's perception of benefits in their customer value hierarchy.

The concept of the product in the mindset of the consumer would be if the product has a lower price and coincidentally a low function, that product must also accomplish the task to which it was created or satisfy the need for which it was purchased. On the other hand, a more expensive product in the mindset of the consumer should accomplish the task or function for which it was created, however it would be at a much higher level of utility to the consumer based on the value or cost of the product. In either case if the product does not perform to the purchasers need for then that product may not be purchased again at a future time.

The products that consumers need may also at times have identification toward the brand or a specific brand that may not be related to functionality. There are the needs as defined by Maslow's hierarchy of needs which can also apply in status, esteem and self-actualization. There is the car as an example, which we have all purchased in our lifetime, however the design of the automobile which goes toward specific make and model, or is it a sports car or luxury car or even a type of truck that has a specific appeal to the consumer. Consumer status and self-esteem play an important role in their buying decision. The product, if designed to meet those needs, can be a point of variance in the market by supporting consumer acceptance through its durability, reliability, reparability and style. (Kolter & Keller, 2012) However, the design of the product or for that matter the functionality of the product, the product itself must meet the consumers need.

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With several companies selling similar products, it is important for companies to differentiate their products in such a way that these are relevant to customer's needs and expectations. The basis for buying any product is its functionality. The hierarchy at which customer seeks value from a product starts from center and expands outwards adding value for customer at each level. ...

Solution Summary

The response addresses different requirements sought by customer while making a purchase