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Reasons for Changes in Customers' Needs

customer, customer needs, changing customer needs, marketing, marketing management, selling

Since the sole purpose of a product is to provide satisfactions for customers, every marketing organization is in a highly dynamic situation. This is because customers' needs are constantly changing. Their incomes, their life-styles, their customs, their fashion sense, are dynamic and not static. Therefore our marketing policies must be dynamic not static, and the products we offer must come constantly under review and must frequently change.

Here are some of the reasons why customers demand new satisfactions.

A. Rising Incomes and Expectations
In the developing industrialized western world in particular we have been living in a phase of increasing affluence, which in turn has led to an atmosphere in which expectations constantly change. It was exceptional a few years back to own a car; now there are an increasing number of households which own two or more cars. Not so long ago things like television sets, tape-recorders, and hi-fi equipment were very unusual pieces of equipment to find in a home; now they are almost universal and the others such as video games and mobile telephones are spreading rapidly. Changes like this are made possible by technology but stimulated by the fact that, once the basic necessities of life are satisfied, rising incomes make a whole range of other satisfactions possible.

B. Increasing Education and Sophistication
Universal education to an increasingly high level, new social trends like the widespread custom of holidaying abroad, and the fact that virtually everybody sees a wide range of different life-styles and activities on television, all lead to a much greater readiness to accept and demand new things. Coupled with this demand for new things is a rising expectation in the standard of performance of existing things. Cars are not new, but cars with efficient heating, reclining seats and many other comforts and safety devices are still relatively new. Universal viewing of television has developed an appetite for knowledge, which is being met by providing new distribution methods for low-priced, well produced paperback books.

C. Change in Social Habits and Customs
Rising incomes, more education, and foreign travel, have all led to a much more fluid social situation, where habits and customs change rapidly. This leads to ready acceptance of new forms of entertainment, new styles of dress, new eating habits. Instead of formal dinners, family television has led to informal easy-to-prepare meals. At the same time, a much wider range of tastes and eating experiences has evolved. Baked beans and sardines on toast have been joined by pizza, paella and many other dishes. There has been a phenomenal growth of 'fast foods' and 'takeaway meals'. Small towns have a Chinese and/or Indian restaurant. Mexican food is becoming increasingly available and 'Cajun dishes appear on many menus.

D. Fashion
Traditionally, fashion changes started at the top end of a fairly well defined social scale and gradually worked their way down. Nowadays the social pattern is much more difficult to define, and fashion changes take place much more rapidly. This is partly due to the fluid social situation, but even more to the much greater range of communication systems now available. Television and radio stations, together with an increasing variety of specialist magazines and books, feed hungry social appetites.All these influences lead to the demand for constantly changing products to meet the developing needs of consumers. Other factors at the same time make these changes possible and also reinforce the rate of change.

E. Technological Change
It is a well documented fact that the pace of technological change is increasing very rapidly. New materials and processes make the satisfaction of old needs possible in new and cheaper ways. As more and more simple tasks can be carried out more efficiently by computer controlled equipment, robots, etc. the whole pattern of employment is changing (often referred to as deindustrialization) as many of the older industries decline or even disappear. At the same time many new jobs appear in fields such as leisure facilities, information technology and financial services.

F. Business Factors
Because customers are becoming increasingly receptive to changes, so industry and commerce are responding to these changes. This is especially true in retailing. Thus the commercial situation itself is becoming increasingly dynamic as companies compete with each other in being the first to offer a new or revised product for which a demand is anticipated. This itself leads to marketing management tasks, since many of the new products meet a rapid death. Unfortunately many people prefer to think and behave as though we were in a static environment whereas a highly dynamic one is the reality.

Published: 2007-04-28
Author: Martin Hahn

About the author or the publisher
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting.

After living in Europe for 12 years, he moved to South-East again and has worked for the last 12 years as a management consultant, university lecturer, corporate trainer, and international school administrator

www.martin-hahn.net

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