Buyer behavior refers to characteristics exhibited by consumers when making the decision to purchase an item. It examines the reasons behind decision making on the side of customers on when and where to buy a product. It puts into consideration, factors such as demographic and psychological factors that affect the decision of the buyer in the market.
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Communication on the other hand refers to the passing of a message from one party to another. In the context of marketing, communication refers to the art of passing a message from the firm (or business unit) to the market and back, from the market to the firm. Evans (2010, p. 25) asserts that communication is the core to business success.
Communication creates and maintains positive relationship between a firm and its customers. It is through communication that a firm can pass information to the customers about introduction of new products into the market. Buyer behavior is strongly affected by marketing communication. It is very important for a firm to manage communication properly if it is to succeed in customer attraction and retentions (Falkow 2010, p. 19).
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline that majorly operates in the European nations. With its head office at Dublin Airport, this airline has experienced a massive growth within the past one year. In a market characterized by strong competition from the world’s renowned airline like British Airways, Air France, the Virgin Atlantic among other giant airlines, Ryanair must come up with strategies that will enable it survive the market wave.
Communication offers the best way to reach the customers and develop a relationship with an aim to crating new customers and retaining existing ones. The airline positions itself as the cheapest airline in the market for domestic and across border travelers within European countries.
The target markets for this airline are the travelers who seek to travel within the European nations either for leisure or for other purposes but are looking cheap air transport. This airline comes in as the preferred option for such customers due to its affordability. The airline therefore needs an integrated marketing communication in order to reach this market segment.
It also needs to understand factors that determine buyer behavior so that it may be in a position to manipulate customers’ decision to opt for the airline as their preferred airline. With Turkey’s growth of the tourism sector, this airline finds itself poised for success if the management makes the right steps in implementing the right marketing strategies.
Buyer Behavior Analysis and Integrated Marketing Communication
Analysis of buyer behavior can best be approached by segmenting the market first. Market segmentation can be done by taking into consideration the demographic composition of the market. The age, level of income, taste, preferences, and other psychographic factors should be put into consideration when coming up with the market segment (Klein 2009, p. 35).
The Target Market Profile
The main target markets for Ryanair airline are the Britons and the Germans who are aged between eighteen to forty four years. Most of them are able to travel by air to attractive destinations as tourists or private travelers. However, they are middle-income earners who are trying to balance between leisure and the importance of saving. Customers who are price sensitive characterize this target market. Any slight change in the price of the air tickets leads to a massive shift of the market. This market can further be segmented by age.
The first segment will be those aged between eighteen to twenty four years. These individuals either are at college or have just entered the labor market. They do not have much in terms of wealth as they are trying to establish themselves as responsible adults. This group is easily influenced by peer pressure as they try to fit in everything that seems trendy. They would try to imitate what superstars do and they tend to be rebellious towards anything that appears to limit their freedom.
Most of their actions are also influenced by the desire to be seen as responsible adults with the ability to make decisions on their own. However, they are financially crippled, as they have to depend on their parents in most of the cases. This makes them prefer cheaper airlines when on tours or making private travels.
Wayne (2008, p. 54) explains that they have the willingness to pay for the high priced add-on services on board, but lack the ability. They therefore settle on the basics when making their travels. They would therefore make a shift the moment there is a slight readjustment of the ticket price.
The next sub group is aged between twenty-five to thirty-four years. They are stable financially and are in gainful employment. They form the most attractive group in this market segment. They are independent and are therefore able to make their own decision. These individuals always like travelling for leisure, either as newly married or couples planning to marry. Most of their buying decisions are always influenced by the need to please their partners.
According to Giddens (2009, p. 52), this group have limited time but have the desire for leisure away from their jobs. For this reason, cheap airlines are the best alternative modes of transport as they try to balance between their careers and the need to for leisure. Kabani (2009, p. 42) reports that most Britons and Germans always start investing at this age.
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With attractive investment in Turkey, most of this group is likely to frequent this country. Coupled with the beautiful sceneries in this country, the airlines plying this route have great opportunity to tap from this group. It accounts for the highest percentage of the Ryanair customers.
The last group in this category is individuals aged thirty-five to forty-four years of age. These individuals are stable financially, with some having made serious investment. They are always relaxed with life and comfort and security is their major priority when travelling. It is therefore unlikely that they can settle on cheap airlines as they consider them less comfortable and more prone to incidents and accidents.
They are insensitive to price change and are always willing and able to pay for extra comfort at extra costs. Because they are nearing self-actualization in life, they would go for things considered classy (Gorchels 2004, p. 37). A number of them are middle level managers and therefore travel for executive reasons. The flights may be booked on their behalf, leaving them with no choice but take the booked flights.
Buyer Behavior Analysis
Blackwell, Miniard & Engel (2006, p.16) provides a comprehensive analytical framework to problem solving. According to these scholars, problem recognition is the initial stage of a customer buyer behavior. It triggers the need for purchase and subsequent decision-making processes.
All other stages like pre-purchase market information search, evaluation and choice process and other transactions that would follow, are dependent on problem recognition. It is due to its importance that the three scholars developed analytical framework to problem recognition. They argue that problem recognition starts when there is a remarkable difference between the desired state and the actual state, with respect to a particular need (Blackwell, Miniard & Engel 2006, p. 6).
The target markets in this case are the Briton and Germans travelling from their respective countries to Turkey or back home. Their problem is to travel between the two destinations at a relatively low cost. In this regard, the trigger is the need to travel. Because this target market is price sensitive when making their purchase, they will undertake information search on the providers of air transport within their respective countries.
With an aim to finding a cheaper option, they will scan the market to determine which airline would be in a position to provide them with this service. This market, due to its sensitivity to price, will take time scanning the market weighing options that are available, and it is at this stage that Ryanair should grab the opportunity and pass information to the market about its products affordability.
Integrated Marketing Communication
Ryanair airline is one of the largest local airlines in Europe. Most of its bookings are done online. Its target market comprises young Britons and Germans making leisure or private travels. For it to experience success in its operations, it must design an appropriate communication structure that will penetrate the market and reach the desired audience within the desired period.
Kurtz (2008, p. 31) explains that firms that expect to gain competitive advantage in the market must make concerted effort in designing communication structures that will position them in the market as the best. Thomases (2010, p.16) echo this idea, when he says that communication is the key to building a strong relationship between customers and the firms. Kotler (2010, p. 63) is of the idea that a firm like Ryanair should consider use of social medias in reaching out for the customers.
The age group targeted by this firm is very actively involved in the social media. They visit sites like Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube among others to communicate to their peers. It is estimated that over 85% of Britons and Germans are actively involved in the social media in one way or the other.
These sites provide the best opportunity for the airline to reach the market with its cheap ticket price information. Ryanair should consider designing adverts to be run on such sites as You Tube. They can also engage their target market in dialogue by joining the social sites like Facebook and creating their wall where their communication can easily reach the market.
Other means like the mass media are also available. They can position their product in the market as not only cheap but also reliable and efficient. This communication can be passed to the market via the mass media.
The marketing department must be in a position to synchronize all the promotional methods in a bid to condensing the communication process to be reflective of the requirements of the market (Armstrong, Harker & Brannan 2009, p. 61). The process requires participation of various units in the airline so that the end will be the desired outcome.
Understanding consumers’ buying behavior is the beginning of success of a firm in any industry. It is upon this understanding that a firm can design products that respond to their needs and that which will be considered by the market as desirable. For this to be done successfully there must be an integrated marketing communication, well structured to reach the desired market with the desired message. Ryanair is one such firm.
Being a European airline mostly plying local routes within Europe, this airline finds itself in the middle of competition from giant airlines like Air France and British Airways among others. It must therefore design a proper market penetration strategies that will enable it be seen as a preferable option in this vast market.
Marketing communication comes as a priority. It must crate awareness in the market about their services and their affordability. With their target as middle-income earners who have limited disposable income, the airline can design communication to their customers, informing them of their cheap ticket prices and reliability of the airline.
With most Britons and Germans considering investing in Turkey, a major route of this airline, the marketing team must develop mechanisms that would attract customers to their firm. Positioning themselves as the most affordable airline is not enough. They should consider other factors such as reliability and passenger safety in order to attract larger market segment.
List of References
Armstrong, G et al. 2009, Marketing: An introduction, Financial Times Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Blackwell, D, Miniard W & Engel F 2006, Consumer behavior, Thompsons publishers, South Western.
Evans, D 2010, Social media marketing an hour a day, Wiley Publishing, Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana.
Falkow, S 2010, Social media strategy, Expansion Plus, Inc., New York.
Giddens, A 2009, The consequences of modernity, Blackwell Publishers, Malden
Gorchels, L, Marien, E & West, C 2004, The Manager’s Guide to Distribution Channels, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Kabani, S 2009, The Zen of social media: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue. BenBella Books, Inc. Dallas
Klein, H 2009, Customer engagement strategies: The three keys to engaging C-suite executives, Graw-Hill, New York
Kotler, P 2003, Marketing insights from A-Z: 80 Concepts for every manager, John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Kurtz, D 2008, Contemporary marketing: Designing customer oriented marketing strategy, Cengage Learning, New York.
Thomases, H 2010, Twitter marketing: An hour a day, Wiley Publishing, Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana.
Wayne, D & Hoyer, M 2008, Consumer behavior, Cangage Learning, South Western, U.S.