'Marketing' to any layman would mean the selling of goods at different places. But actually it is something more than 'Selling' which is turn is only a part of the former. It covers all the activities that involve what to produce? How much to produce? What channel to adopt to distribute the goods to the final consumer & What advertising media to select?
All the above questions reveal that marketing is the end point of the total business activity and for that matter the success of any business is dependent on the success of its marketing activity. Still another and perhaps more important revelation of the above questions is that is the consumer who determines what should the producer produce and how much to produce that is, the whole process revolves round the consumer. It is his preference that makes you decide about your product, distribution and advertising.
With the increasing awareness among the consumers it is becoming more and more difficult to stay in market without paying proper attention to their needs and wants. If a company is to survive in the long run, It must discover, analyses and fulfill the needs and wants of the consumers. The process involving discovery and analysis needs and wants of the consumer is termed as marketing research. Now we are in a position to define marketing, faculty of the Ohio State University has defined marketing as :
"Marketing is the process in a society by which the demand structure for economic goods and as services is anticipated or enlarged and satisfied through the conception, promotion, exchanges, and physical distribution of such goods and services."
It can be observed from the above definitions of marketing that it involves various sub activities; the integration of these sub activities becomes essential to achieve the common objective i.e. the "Consumer Satisfaction". This integrated view of marketing activity has been termed as "Modern Marketing Concept". This shows a shift in emphasis from selling to marketing endued with the passage of time. Modern marketing concept as defined by Philip Kotler is :
"The marketing concept is a customer orientation backed by integrated market aimed at generating customer satisfaction as the key to satisfying organizations goals".
The Modern marketing concept seeks the fulfillment of organizational goals, main among these being the reasonable amount of profit, through customers satisfaction. This is turn requires that what customer wants should be produces. In addition the customer also determines the places, time of distribution of such goods. It is his preference and suitability that must be kept uppermost in mind while deciding upon any activity detrimental to the performance of total process. Satisfaction of customer needs is the yardstick that measures how successful a business is? Thus generated the idea of "Consumer Sovereignty".
It leaves none in doubt that knowing of customer's tastes and preferences and then satisfying them, through production, distribution, is no simple task thus giving credence to the feet that marketing is very challenging field. It requires one to pull the parties concerned together. These parties are consumer, management (production) and distributors etc.
The term "Consumer Market" means market for product and services that are used by individuals and households for their personal consumption.
According to their use, products have been classified as Durable goods, Non durable goods and services.
Durable goods :
These are tangible goods, which last many uses, Examples of such type of goods being- TV, Radio, Refrigerator, Clothing etc.
Non Durable goods :
Unlike durable goods these are the goods, which are consumed in one or a few uses. Examples of these goods being-shaving cream, tooth paste, Bread, butter & soap etc.
Thought both types of marketing requires study of consumer's attitudes, consumer marketing is more challenging then Industrial marketing is more challenging then Industrial Marketing this is perhaps attributed to the larger number of persons who are required to be studied because of there involvement in Consumer Marketing. Also, larger number of product offerings and naturally more competition is involved. The present study deals with the Study of Consumer Attitudes towards Ball Pens. Reasons for my opting for this study are :
Firstly, it involves the study of consumers who make repeat purchases, and so it demands cautious Marketing. Here, one cannot afford to cheat the customer in the long run. It requires the retaining of customer's interest. Secondly, the emotional element often involved in the purchase of such goods make the study more demanding.
Ultimately, my choice falls on the Study of Consumer Attitudes towards Ball Pens because of wide use of the product and various competing brands available in the market. Study of consumer behaviour requires use of various direct and indirect techniques. All this demands large amount of funds and time and of course a good amount of experience in the field. Though we, on our part, have tried to make the study as comprehensive as possible but above constraints did effect the study in one way or the other.
Consumer behaviour may be defined as "The acts of individuals directly involved in obtained and using economic good and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts." It facilitates the segmentation of market through the study of what people consume, where, how often and under what conditions the goods and services are consumed what a consumer seeks out of the use of the particular product.
The researcher conducted a pilot study prior to the undertaking of the final study. This was done to make sure that questions are understood by the responding. This helped in objective assessment of the meaning of the questions. The other aspect of the study was whether the respondents understood the language, desired meaning of the questions correctly? Whether the respondents are able to answer the questions? Still another question answered by this study is whether the respondents were willing to provide the required information without much hesitation.
Basically there was not much alternation in the structure of the questions. Only a questions or two had to be clarified by giving bracketed explanation. For this purpose the researcher selected a sample of 20 respondents on the basis of convenience (non probability) sampling. Further these respondents included 6 students, 5 businessmen and 9 servicemen/professionals thus giving due weight to every section to be included for the main study. For the pilot study also the method of written structured personal interview was used.
On the basis of the observation made by conducting of pilot study the questionnaire was duly altered to accommodate the easier way to secure the required information. While changing the language, due care was taken that questions do not lose their original sense. Modification were made to avoid the possible difficulties and embarrassment to the respondents and ultimately leading to making the research instrument more effective.