Centre for Research in Automotive Management (CRAM), Business School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Aberdeen Business School, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK, and
Gary Reed, Vicky Story and Jim Saker
Centre for Research in Automotive Management (CRAM),Business School, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
Abstract Purpose – It is generally accepted that the launch of a new product is critical to its success. Key to this is that manufacturers understand the market segment which is targeted for the launch. However, recent research and criticism suggest that modern segmentation strategies, aligning products with lifecycle typologies do not work.It is no longer possible to align consumers and products into neat and stable lifecycle segments. It is suggested that more importance should be attached to products having a familiarity ﬁt with consumers – what they know and expect from a particular product. These views are moderated by a consumer’s enthusiasm or involvement with the product as well as their level of expertise in understandingcomplex products. This paper aims to look at these issues. Design/methodology/approach – This research looks at consumer perceptions to the changes to two automotive models launched by one of the major manufacturers at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Germany, held in September 2005, to discover which changes had the most appeal and to identify correlations with consumer lifecycles. Findings – Resultsrevealed that consumer lifecycles had no correlation with any of the data, whereas familiarity, expertise and product involvement will provide manufacturers with more accurate segmentation tools in the launch and marketing of new automotive products. Practical implications – These ﬁndings suggest that a customer’s expertise, product involvement and familiarity with the product are likely to providemore appropriate market segmentation tools. Originality/value – This paper reveals useful information on consumer lifestyles and market segmentation tools. Keywords New products, Market segmentation, Consumers, Skills, Consumer behaviour Paper type Research paper
An executive summary for managers and executive readers can be found at the end of this article.
This paperpresents ﬁndings on primary research into consumer perceptions to changes in automobiles, as well as the usefulness of current high-level consumer segmentation tools. There are numerous studies that have categorised new products into degrees of newness through their innovative qualities (Booz, Allen & Hamilton, 1982; Gatignon and Robertson, 1991; Ofek and Sarvary, 2003; Robertson, 1971; Ziamou, 2002)and where they sit in the micro-/macropositioning framework (Booz, Allen & Hamilton, 1982; Cooper et al., 2002; Gobeli and Brown, 1987). However, no studies have been carried out to-date to look at consumer perceptions of changes to new automobiles or how these perceptions can be measured.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htmJournal of Consumer Marketing 25/6 (2008) 361– 368 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited [ISSN 0736-3761] [DOI 10.1108/07363760810902495]
A number of studies had looked at the ways consumers assess new products (Gregan-Paxton and Roedder, 1997; Hofstadter, 1998; Novick, 1988; Rogers, 1995) such examples being product attributes, beneﬁts, observability, trialability and value. Yet theconsumers and their perceptions will vary greatly in all of these areas and will be inﬂuenced by a number of moderators – expertise (Kleiser and Mantel, 1999; Gregan-Paxton and Roedder, 1997) and familiarity (Danneels and Kleinschmidt, 2001) being the two main items that determine the degree of newness by any given individual for any given product. To some extent these variables will be inﬂuenced by an...