Vehicle Dependability Study

Cars are one of the most expensive and involved purchases that consumers make. They have an extended decision-making process, use multiple information sources, and include multiple evaluation criteria before making a final decision. The decisions that car buyers make impact not only their immediate budgets, but also their long-term budgets with respect to repairs and vehicle dependability (post-purchase behavior).

One source often used by consumers is the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. According to the most recent study, car buyers avoid models with poor reputations for dependability. The good news is that buyers do not have to spend a lot of money in order to get a dependable vehicle.

The study examines problems experienced over the past 12 months by original owners of 3-year cars. Eight categories are examined, including exterior, engine/transmission, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, interior, features/controls/displays, the driving experience, heating/ventilation/air condition, and seats. The survey examined responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 auto models.

Check out the report and see where your vehicle placed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Poll students: What are factors that influence consumer purchases of cars?
  3. Divide students into teams.
  4. Have each team select two criteria and draw a positioning map for automobiles using those criteria (Ex: price and reliability).
  5. Show the J.D. Power report and video:
  6. http://www.jdpower.com/cars/awards/Vehicle-Dependability-Study-%2528VDS%2529-by-Category/1882ENG
  7. Based on the J.D. Power ranking, how could different auto manufacturers use the rankings to reposition their products?

Source:  J.D. Power, Manufacturing Business Technology

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The Changing Face of Selling Furniture

Consumers are used to buying small items such as books, music, and household goods online thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. But what about shopping for larger and more expensive items such as furniture? Is there a market for online sales of furniture?

It turns out that the answer to that question is “yes.” Wayfair, Inc., a Boston-based retailer has no physical stores with very minimal inventory, but it has grown to be the largest online-only retailer in the United States with revenue more than $2.25 billion! The company advertises itself as selling “a zillion things home” and carries more than seven million products, from rugs to sofas. Utilizing a supply network of more than 7,000 different furnishings suppliers, the company ships large bulky items direct from suppliers to the consumers.

While it might initially seem that consumers would not be interested in buying furniture online, Wayfair uses a unique combination of Web site along with television shows to showcase its products and designs. The show “The Way Home” sponsored by Wayfair airs on Lifetime TV on Saturdays. Different episodes focus on design challenges including the latest trends, utilizing small spaces, and decorating on a budget.

Go ahead, see how to make over your least-favorite room on a budget!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  2. For furniture buying, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  3. Next, show Wayfair’s Web site: https://www.wayfair.com/
  4. Show Wayfair’s TV show: https://www.wayfair.com/thewayhome/?&episode=10&clip=1
  5. How is the company using integrated marketing communications?
  6. For furniture, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Wayfair. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source:  Wall Street Journal   

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Inside Pew’s Research Center

Marketing requires research – lots and lots of research. Research is a constant process and helps marketers to make informed decisions about the strategy and tactics an organization needs in order to succeed. While many organizations use primary research to gather data, they also use a great deal of secondary research from outside sources.

One of the best outside source of research is the work done by Pew Research. Since funding for Pew’s research comes from the Pew Charitable Trust, it enables their research to be objective and arms-length from research paid for by an organization that desires a certain direction.

Have you ever wondered how Pew conducts its research? In this fascinating video, done with SAGE, leaders at Pew explain how projects are selected, initiatives are chosen, how data is collected, the designing and testing of questionnaires, data analysis, and reports are disseminated.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of research for marketing decision-making.
  2. Outline the six steps of research for students: problem definition, research strategy, population and sample selection, data gathering, and reporting.
  3. Before showing the video, instruct students to take notes on: how projects are selected; how data is collected; how questionnaires are designed and tested; how data is analyzed; and how final reports are prepared and disseminated.
  4. Show the SAGE video of how Pew conducts research: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/12/08/the-research-lifecycle-a-look-inside-the-pew-research-center/?utm_source=Pew+Research+Center&utm_campaign=23151a0ab0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_02_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3e953b9b70-23151a0ab0-399503221
  5. Finally, have students search for interesting topics and research reports on Pew’s Web site.

Source:  Pew Research Center, SAGE

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