Understanding Consumer Decision Making: The Means-end Approach To Marketing and Advertising Strategy

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Grunert, S. Beckmann, E. Reynolds, C. Dethloff, S. Westberg, Advancements in Laddering. Gengler, T. Gutman, Advertising Is Image Management. Reynolds, A. Rossiter, L. Reynolds, D. Whitlark, R. Rochon, With S. In this matrix, each number consists of an integer and a decimal, respectively denoting the frequency of direct links and the frequency of indirect links. The higher the frequency, the closer the relation between the two factors. Besides, the abstractness ratios in this matrix help distinguish between attributes, consequences, and values.

We set the cutoff value at 3, meaning only factors with at least 3 direct links are included in the HVM.


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In the HVM, each number is obtained from the integer part of the corresponding number in the implication matrix. It denotes the number of times the direct link between two factors is mentioned. The higher the number, the more important it is to the participants. The HVM is as shown in Fig. In the HVM for the entire sample, different attributes have different value chains. The thick lines show the major stable chains.

From these major stable chains, we can infer economy, pleasure, and efficiency are the values sought by customers when buying ice cream. Besides, customers will also consider promotional information and convenience when buying ice cream. As shown in Figs. Therefore, consumers of ice cream pay attention to the economical value of promotions, regardless of the consumption situation.

In the dating and friends-gathering situations, consumers are more concerned with pleasure. For these consumers, the feeling of dating with their valentine or being with their friends is more important, and so is the safety of the food. For consumers visiting the store simply for ice cream, the sense of satisfaction resulting from eating ice cream is more important. Consumers in the on-a-date situation expect to receive relaxing services. In contrast, consumers who visit the store simply for ice cream expect special treatment from the store.

For consumers in the on-a-date situation, brand word-of-mouth is one of the factors affecting their consumption. They wish to recommend safe food to their date and believe they can gain a sense of assurance from a store with positive word-of-mouth. Consumers visiting the store in a friends-gathering situation pay attention to the sense of belonging. This kind of situation gives them a sense of belonging to a specific group.

MECCAS Model and Means-End Theory — RW

Besides, since they usually have a large number of friends coming to join them, store location is important. They may have reduced intention to visit stores located in a more distant area. For consumers in a friend-gathering situation or craving-for-ice-cream situation, product diversity is important. These two groups of consumers expect to have new feeling or experiences in each purchase. A store with high product diversity allows them to try different items and gain the value of freshness in each visit. In this study, we used a means-end chain approach to examine the expected values underlying in ice cream consumers in three different consumption situations.

Using one-on-one interviews and laddering, we collected value perceptions from 60 ice cream consumers. From their value perceptions, we identified the important links for them and analyzed differences in the attribute-consequence-value chain between consumption situations. We discussed the customer value expected by consumers of ice cream from domestic ice cream stores and also the customer value expected by customers in different consumption situations. We summed the attributes, consequences, and values provided by all the participants into an implication matrix.

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Why do you drink? A means-end approach to the motivations of young alcohol consumers

This matrix shows the numbers of direct and indirect links between factors on three levels. Based on this matrix, we further drew HVMs to more clearly illustrate the relations between factors. The HVM for the entire sample was created with a cutoff of 3.

In addition to the pleasure of eating ice cream, consumers also pay attention to the cost-benefit ratio of the product and efficiency of the service when making a decision for ice cream consumption. The analysis of customer value in different consumption situations shows there is no direct and stable chain in the HVM for consumers in the on-a-date situation. In other words, this type of consumers expects to have a pleasant and joyful feeling in this consumption situation.

In other words, consumers in this situation expect to achieve mental satisfaction by satisfying their craving for ice cream. Products Taste is one of the most important attributes for customers. Generally, customers expect to have a diversity of product choices and be able to find one that not only meets their preference but also gives a new experience.

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Besides, this company can offer free sampling of their ice cream. This service allows customers to directly taste the food before they buy, so it can also help promote buying behavior. Price Consumers expect to get the best product at the lowest cost. Although Cold Stone launches promotional activities from time to time, many consumers do not know about these activities until the activities have expired or until they are told through word-of-mouth. Therefore, we suggest Cold Stone reinforce their marketing through social media to allow customers to access promotional information at anytime and anywhere.

Besides, it can also distribute promotional leaflets in the streets near their stores to attract nearby consumers. Activities Our findings indicate that most customers expect to gain some pleasure from eating ice cream.

Cold Stone emphasizes it is an ice cream specialty store full of passion and joy, but not all customers are clear about the brand image it claims. Besides, it can also use themed parties to create a venue full of joy and imagination for customers. Store location Ice cream is not a daily necessity. Customers usually have low intention to travel a long way to buy ice cream. Therefore, when setting up a new store, Cold Stone can consider places in an important business district or places with a convenient parking area nearby, such as department stores, wholesale stores, parks, and so on.

Stores set in these kinds of places are more easily accessible to customers. Besides, stores located in places with more people coming and going can attract more consumers who have a craving for ice cream. The results show the underlying major link for the on-a-date situation is the same as the major link for the gathering-with-friends situation.

Therefore, we view customers in these two consumption situations as in the same market segment. Below are our suggestions:. This indicates customers in these situations expect to gain the value of pleasure in the consumption process. This indicates customers in this situation expect to gain the value of satisfaction in the consumption process. This type of customer is more concerned with satisfaction of their taste. Therefore, while increasing the diversity of products, Cold Stone can provide a description of each product item and offer the free sampling service to help customers understand the content e.

These approaches are helpful for customers to pick the right item for themselves and then gain the value of satisfaction. The limitations of this study and suggestions for future researchers are as follows: 1 include multiple ice cream brands in the survey: due to time and human resource constraints, we only selected Cold Stone stores in Taichung City as our subjects. Future researchers are advised to conduct a cross-region study of several ice cream brands. However, future researchers can include variables, such as demographic variables or family life cycle, in the analysis.

Belk RW Situational variables and consumer behavior. J Consum Res 2 3 — Corbin J, Strauss A Basics of qualitative research techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage, Thousand Oaks. Dong P, Siu NYM Servicescape elements, customer predispositions and service experience: the case of theme park visitors.

Tourism Manage — The Dryden Press. Ind Market Manage 26 2 — J Leisure Res 32 2 — Grunert KG, Grunert SC Measuring subjective meaning structures by the laddering method: theoretical considerations and methodological problems.