On Campus

‘Firms should engage consumers online’

Our Bureau Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 29, 2014

There is a blurring of lines between the urban and rural consumers in the country after economic reforms and it is necessary for companies to engage consumers online, according to Jotsna Mukherjee, a professor in Texas A & M Intl. University in the US and an expert on consumer behaviour.

She was delivering a lecture on the subject here at the Integral Institute of Advanced Management on Wednesday at a programme jointly organised by Business Line and the State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH). College Director R. Ramachandra Naik, Secretary S. P. Ravindra and V.V . Rao, the Assistant General Manager of the SBH, also spoke.

Jotsna Mukherjee said a survey conducted by Neilson had shown that 57 per cent of consumers were changing their preferences after obtaining information through the internet on products and services. “Therefore, it necessary for companies to provide product specifications and videos online to influence consumers. Old-fashioned advertising may not be sufficient,” she said.

Emerging market

She said the creamy layer (the top 20 per cent) was getting thicker in India and therefore the country was emerging as a market for premium products and brands. The internet should be developed as a marketing tool and the ability of companies to conduct quantitative and qualitative research into consumer behaviour would matter a lot and the social media would also play a very critical role in future, she added.

She said the ability to understand and make use of technology would stand companies in good stead in formulating marketing strategies. “However, the product or service should be one of quality and no amount of clever marketing would work if it is shoddy.” She then spoke of cognitive dissonance most consumers suffer from.

consumer behaviour

“Research has shown that most consumers are in a bit of doubt about their choices even after selecting a particular product or service and therefore advertising should be cleverly designed to reassure them that they have indeed made the right choice,” she explained to the students.

She expressed the opinion that consumer psychology should form part of the curriculum in management courses. “The need for self-actualisation, as psychologist Abraham Maslow pointed out, is very important in all human endeavour and consumer behaviour is also affected by it.”

Published on January 29, 2014

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