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Determining the target market for the product is integral to the success of the marketing efforts. The question must be asked, “Which are Sonic’s target markets?” The Sonic 1000 PDA is being marketed to the 25-40 years age range. These are working professionals who use these products every day. The Sonic 1000 is designed to make the lives of the users easier. These professionals have busy, fast paced lives. Any device that can help in making the day go easier is a welcome addition. Kotler and Keller say that the target market should be that which “provides the greatest opportunity” (Kotler & Keller, 2009). This definition describes the Sonic 1000’s target market well. The idea behind choosing this market is to take the new product and drop it into the portion of the market that is most interested in this type of device. The PDA market has exploded in recent years and there are no signs of the market cooling off. Consumers look for better, newer products. The goal of Sonic should be to introduce the best product into the market and focus on influencing the 25-40 years age group. A second target market will be the aging “baby boomers”. According to Kotler and Keller, this age group is trying to fight the aging process by staying current and up to date with technology (Kotler & Keller, 2009). These consumers usually have plenty of usable finances and most do not mind spending it. The Sonic 1000 PDA is typically designed to work for any age group and the aging “baby boomers” are no exception.
What specific needs does the Sonic PDA address for each target market?
The Sonic PDA will meet the needs of this target market. Consumers today want a device that will be multi-functional, dependable, easy to use, and durable. The Sonic 1000 will meet these needs and perhaps even exceed the consumers’ expectations. The goal of Sonic is to produce the best product that the consumer could need and making a competitive PDA is a top priority. The Sonic 1000 has multiple target markets but the product is designed to be user friendly for all potential users. The older target market is looking for a PDA that is easy to use and navigate. These are needs that are understood and the Sonic 1000 is designed to allow the user a variety of options from menu setup to font size.
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4. Scanning the Marketing Environment
Scanning and evaluating the market environment is important in determining trends that may influence the target market. Deciding what changes are trends and which are fads is very important. A fad is “unpredictable and short lived” while a trend is “a sequence of events that has some durability and momentum” (Kotler & Keller, 2009). These two terms can be sometimes confused and that can cause issues in making changes to a product. Changing a product to follow a fad can lead to short term sales but long term issues.
What demographic trends are likely to affect Sonic's target market(s)?
There are many demographic trends that may influence Sonics efforts. The first is a worldwide population growth (Kotler & Keller, 2009). It is important to remember that the population of the world is exploding. This growth comes from many different geographical areas and every person has a different background. It is not easy to make a product that will be influential to all these groups. Determining which of these groups is most important. Additionally, developing a product to cover as many groups as possible is vital. The growth of the population does not show any signs of stopping and being able to adjust to this is necessary. The age mix of the population is an interesting trend. People are living longer and working at longer years. Sonic is aware of this and has chosen the target market appropriately. Failure to include the older generation, especially those still in the work force, can alienate the group and it is very difficult to get those groups back after they have gone. The age mix rides on the same principle as the population growth in that this trend shows no signs of stopping and adapting to it is important. The diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are important to consider. The 25-40 years old target market is made up of a large number of different ethnicities. Sonic must be able to market to all of these to be successful.
What economic trends might influence the future of the PDA market?
Economic trends will have an effect on the Sonic 1000. The largest influence on this is the current recession that America is facing today. Although it is debated as to when this recession had started and when it might end; there is no doubt that America is currently stuck in one. Sonic must use every weapon in its arsenal to fight against the current economic trends and plan for marketing when the recession is over (Pollack, 2010). People are not spending like they used to and it may be difficult to influence the consumer to purchase a Sonic 1000. This is not to say that people do not have any money, but the general population is being more careful about what the money is spent on. This is a problem that will reach into the foreseeable future and Sonic must be able to market around it to break into the PDA market.
What technological changes can potentially affect PDA development, buyer acceptance of PDAs and the development of substitute products?
There are many technological advances that may influence the potential Sonic customer. The biggest of these is a market that is saturated with products similar to Sonic’s 1000 PDA (2008). Sonic has developed a great PDA that rivals any in the market but getting that message to the consumer is difficult in the current market. PDA is a dying breed. In its early days, PDA was the pinnacle of technology and it was the go-to-device for the business person. Today with the introduction of the cell phone/PDA also known as a “Smartphone”, the PDA market has dropped. Most people are interested in having a single device that can do multiple jobs. This is potentially the biggest hurdle that Sonic must overcome, but the task is not impossible.
5. Analyzing the Consumer Market
What cultural, social, personal and psychological factors have the most influence on consumers buying PDAs? Why?
There are many factors that influence customers to want to purchase a product. The cultural, personal and psychological factors influence a person’s decision towards purchasing a product. Culture determines a person’s wants and behaviors (Kotler & Keller, 2009). Sonics’ goal is to provide a PDA that fits into the parameters for the consumer. From the cultural standpoint Sonic plans to offer a product that fits the needs of the customer. Culture has said that the PDA is something every young enterprising professional should have and Sonic is there to offer a product to fit that want. The personal factors that affect the decision to purchase a Sonic 1000 are many. Factors such as age, occupation, lifestyle and economic circumstances affect the decision to purchase a PDA (Kotler & Keller, 2009). The most influence comes from the need to access information for a person’s occupation. Most PDA users will be focused on accessing information related to work when using their PDA and that is the focus of Sonics’ marketing efforts. The psychological factors for purchasing a Sonic 1000 vary from motivation to perception. Motivation is the key psychological factor in PDA sales. The PDA is designed to make the day go easier by streamlining the organization process. Most PDA users are business people who are always motivated to find new ways to save time.
Which aspects of consumer behavior should Sonic’s
marketing plan emphasize and why?
The marketing plan for Sonic should be focused on the age demographic of the target market. The 25-40 years age group is comprised of young business individuals who are drawn to the technology available today. This group is influenced by the culture into believing that a PDA is necessary to be successful. The focus of the marketing plan should be to convince this group that the Sonic 1000 PDA is the best new item in the market and that it will make life easier and more productive. This particular age group and the affect that culture has on this age group are important to the success of the marketing plan.
What kind of marketing activities should Sonic plan to coincide with each stage of the consumer buying process? Explain.
The consumer buying process is important for Sonic to understand. Determining the marketing options for each stage is vital. In the problem recognition stage, it is important for the consumer to know about Sonic as a company. This may come from advertisements or word of mouth but the people must know that Sonic exists and that they produce a quality PDA. When the evaluation of alternatives stage arrives, the consumer must already be aware of Sonic and be able to locate resources about the company quickly. The main focus at this level should be a professionally designed and easy-to-navigate website. Consumers surf the internet to find out about new products. Websites containing information pertaining to the Sonic 1000 PDA , may give the consumer the necessary information to make a decision. When the purchase decision arrives, Sonic might have the PDA available at many locations to allow customers to find the product quickly. Customers who have trouble finding a product will more likely choose another option. The post purchase behavior stage involves the customer feeling satisfied about the purchase and be willing to purchase from that company again. At this stage Sonic has done everything possible. Sonic must trust in the quality of the product and provide excellent customer service, should problems arise.
(2008). Mobile Devices. Library Technology Reports, 44(5), 10-15. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
Kotler, P, & Keller, K. (2009). Marketing Management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
Pollack, J. (2010). Now's the time to reset marketing for post-recession. (Cover story). Advertising Age, 81(5), 1-22. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.