The use of laptops has become an integral part of the modern-day life regardless of teenage or adulthood. For students, especially college and university students, the demand for laptops is high as they are constantly on the move on campus and in between classrooms and their accommodation, and have to keep in touch with teachers, research information in class and outside, and answer and prepare a handful of assignments with short but strict deadlines. In such a situation, students are presented with ample challenges, and their need for laptops becomes avid. Their requirements for a laptop entail the functionality that allows running MS Word, Excel, and Power Point so that they can prepare papers as well as develop and run Power Point presentations. On the other hand, they also require fast Internet access and speed of working with which they can accurately as well as quickly do their work with minimum disruptions.
The Internet is the prime source of information search for students, and they normally confide in the information available on the Internet to compare brands and prices. The information search also involves seeking advice of friends and peers (Blackwell, 2005). Normally, in the college and university, the administration of the school is also helpful with students in acquiring cost effective deals for used or new laptops. The university notice board is another source of useful information, which allows students looking to purchase a laptop to locate prospective sellers of used laptops as well as new ones. Lastly, for students looking to buy new laptops, the retail shops selling different or specific brands of laptops are also a reliable source of information on which students rely.
Evaluation of Alternatives
Students, especially those that are studying non-technical and less technology-intensive course unlike computer studies and graphics are prone to focus on price sensitivity and design as a basic criterion for selecting and purchasing a laptop. They primarily see the configurations, but then it comes down to the price of the product. However, students would prefer to buy new and latest brands of laptops and prefer not to consider old versions for purchase.
In making the final purchase decision, the promotional advertisements displayed in shops and on the Internet websites produce great influence upon the purchase intentions of students. The most catching and powerful of these advertisements are the ones communicating value deals such as discount offers, especially for students. Students make the purchase decision considering their requirements of the latest, the fastest and good-looking laptop with the best available price offer aided by the promotional offers displayed in stores from where they purchase it finally.
Students normally do not purchase laptops online. For students with limited budget, buying a laptop is a big financial investment, and they prefer the safety and security of buying in person after having seen and ‘touched’ it.
Post-purchase evaluation comes from the customer service offered to the students, such as free of cost maintenance following the course of purchase. Apple is a favourite laptop brand primarily for design but also for the customer service offered. For this reason, students have store brand preferences after having evaluated the post-purchase customer service offered to them.
A Professional Consumer
A professional consumer, on the other hand, whose bread and butter depends upon the performance and functionality of the laptop, such as a graphics designer or an animator, requires a laptop that is professionally built and designed. For this buyer, there exists a dire need for a high performance laptop and often an upgrade for a laptop so that his or her professional performance can continue to progress. The laptop is a supportive tool without which the buyer cannot perform just as well. Therefore, for this type of buyer, unlike a student, the fundamental need is for a high performing laptop regardless of price.
Professional buyers, unlike students, rely on the most reliable of the sources: the companies manufacturing the laptops directly. Their point of interaction is the retail outlets or the customer service operators of the brands. Professional buyers do not interact with peers and friends to capture information for desirable brands. However, they do interact with colleagues in the related field to capture their expertise in purchasing the high performing laptops suited to the nature of the work.
Evaluation of Alternatives
The criteria for evaluation of alternatives are performance, configuration, and speed and design dynamics.
The professional buyers make the purchase decision based on the ideal combination of their requirements and often come to choose the brand they have used before and can rely on. In-store promotions make little effect on professional buyers.
Professional buyers usually make the purchases personally in stores just like students or have the product delivered after ordering it directly from the company.
Post-purchase customer service is highly important for a professional buyer and this entails continuous maintenance.
Blackberry is a highly popular phone which was initially targeted and popular amongst business users primarily because of its features that were well-suited to the needs and requirements of a professional lifestyle. However, with time, Blackberry’s use has diversified into new market segments. Based on its features, it can be targeted two key segments: business users and personal users. Blackberry has launched several different variants that can be targeted to different types of users. Blackberry Bold is for business users ideally. On the other hand, Blackberry Curve has been designed to appeal to females and personal users. There is also Blackberry Bold Touch which is attractive for young users.
The three most fundamental characteristics that can allow blackberry market to be segmented are demographic, psychographic and behavioural. Demographic segmentation entails segmenting markets based on the qualities of age, income, gender and socio-economic make-up. Blackberry is targeted at the age group 25 and above, which constitute working professionals. However, Blackberry Curve has been targeted at a much younger audience as well as females who are not necessarily working serious professionals.
Psychographic segmentation entails the use of personality and lifestyle characteristics. This is highly important for the segmentation of Blackberry, because it is formally a lifestyle brand owing to its functionality. Business users require speed, communication and multi-performance tools and applications, which the brand allows access to. However, the easy-to-understand application and user-friendliness together with smart configurations also make it a viable option for young and personal users.
Finally, behavioural segmentation constitutes the usage undertaken by a particular market. Business users are on-the-go users who require multi-function interface with a device that is always dependable. Quality-wise, Blackberry is ideal for business users. However, based on the usage of females who require more talk time and reliability to communicate more often and for longer hours, Blackberry is very functional, thus making it suitable to be targeted to this market segment.