Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring 2010 Account Planning MC4316F

Last Class Session 
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Students in Dr. Taylor's Account Planning class at
Texas State University express their relief after completing all course requirements. 

First Class Session
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A well-mannered group of students begin
their study of account planning.

Prius Case Study

The Toyota Prius was the case study for the Spring 2010 account planning students at Texas State University.  The semester long project included secondary, survey and qualitative research (interviews).  Students used the results of their research to craft their advertising strategy for the Toyota Prius.  Writing a creative brief was especially challenging given Toyota's current recall troubles.

The case study was a group project. Students were divided into nine groups.  At the end of the semester, each group presented a "creative briefing" with the goal of inspiring creative teams. Below are pictures from the final presentations.

Idea River
Leslie Austin, Lauren Bradshaw, Jill Trujillo, Abbie Barth, Michael Baum

Innovative Impressions
Lauren Fitzsimmons, Amy Smith, Lyssa Roberts, Jacquelin Dubow, Daniel Krupsky

BerryBee Agency
Corey Zoller, Amy Ewing, Beatriz Mendoza, Kathryn Drake, Kimberly Grams

AdUs Agency
Paulina Radpay, Lauren Lin, Valerie Wolf, Brian Butler, Jessica Thomas, Troupe Gammage

Boko Promo
Justin Cunningham, Amanda O'Sullivan, Sarah Thompson, Suzanne Bush, Jonah Arthur

The Analytic Animals
Rachel Pryzbiski, Cornelia Nall, Laura Standefer, Johnny Weir, Kristi Miller

Salient Agency
Laura Atkins, Wally Perales, Barbie Gettys, Ruthie Cyrill, Geoff Earle

Hollyanne Norrid, Kala Brock,Courtney Ely, Gabriel Medelin, Anne-Marie Petka

Missing Photo
Cydney Butler, Angel Contreras, Mallory Garrison, Ji Eun Lee, Randall Lopez

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fall 2009 Account Planning

Dr. Gigi Taylor's Fall 2009 Account Planning Class
MC 4316F
Texas State University

BACK ROW:  Jeff Germenis, Valin Zamarron, Jen Leaver, Tara Davis, Dan Peterson, Ashley Clark, Chelsea Davis, Julie Korzekwa, Anna Shoemaker, Taylor Kleimann, Ben Wirtz, Harris Hickey, Joe Clyburn, Chris Roberts. MIDDLE ROW: Eric Garza, Holley McConnnell, Florence Portugal, Kelly Childers, Krystal Castaneda, Ellen Rose, Kara Oppermann, Syndey Belcher, Caroline Wilson, Jacqueline Garza, Tara Ussery, Marissa Deslatte, Kayla Holley, Tyler Cornett, Lance Rowden. FRONT ROW: Felice Hunt, Lorena Becerril, Lexi Koenig, Kim Rose, Stephanie Squires, Diana Ovalle, Ashley Dickinson, Lauren Savoy, Angel Huerta, Sarah Medina, Christa Freeland. KNEELING/SITTING: Ruby Lopez, Gabriel Carrillo, Yeny Ruiz, Yolanda Cano, Ashley Reich

by Gigi Taylor
Welcome to the Texas State Account Planning class blog. The purpose of this blog is to connect the classroom with the larger worldwide community of Account Planning.  Most of the content in this blog was created by the my Account Planing students (call it "student-generated" content).   The blog also includes interviews with guest speakers and reflections on various account planning assignments.

The course, which is held on Tuesday nights in Old Main on the Texas State campus, is divided into several sections. These teaching modules loosely follow the work flow of a strategic research project in an advertising agency.  In keeping with the communication values of account planning, here is a visual representation of the class syllabus.

In addition to in-class lectures and discussion, students learn concepts and skills via a semester long group case project. This semester, the class project was Redbox, a self-service, kiosk video rental service. There are approximately 22,000 kiosks located throughout the county in front of fast food restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies. The videos rent for a $1 per night.

The students conducted three types of research (secondary, survey, qualitative), then used the insights from this research to craft the advertising strategy.  For the final assignment, students wrote a creative brief informed by all the research conducted throughout the semester.

Andrew Campbell, a client-side account planer at Dell, was a guest speaker on the evening of final presentations. Andrew directs the Consumer Experience Design Group and works with product usability and design at Dell.  After speaking to the class about the planning profession, Andrew joined me in evaluating the student presentations.

I realize that not all the students will become account planners, but it is my goal that every student will leave my class with an appreciation for the importance of research in strategic decision-making. The link between research and strategy applies to just about everything...advertising, marketing, management, even careers.

Theory X Practice Assignment

by Gigi Taylor

At the beginning of the semester, I assigned 15 different consumer behavior theories to students working in groups of 3.  I asked each group to become the "experts" on the theory, then to teach the theory to the rest of the class through a short presentation. Given that account planning is about understanding consumers,  I wanted students to become familiar and understand some of the most powerful, useful theories of consumer behavior.

In addition, I asked each group to interview people talking about experiences that demonstrate the theory. The objective of this part of the assignment was to demonstrate how consumer theories are the practical, lived experiences of everyday life.  I wanted students to see how theory and practice are linked. I also wanted students to get experience collecting qualitative consumer research via one-on-one interviews.  Storytelling is a part of advertising research, as much as it is part of advertising, journalism or general communication. Account planners tell their research stories through direct quotes, consumer artifacts, and multi-media tools (video, audio and pictures).

All the student projects are posted in the following series of entries. Each entry includes a very brief synopsis of their theory followed by their YouTube videos creations.  The YouTube videos were embedded in the PowerPoint presentations that each group presented in class.

Here are the theories of consumer behavior presented by the students:
  • Product Dispersion
  • Consumer Loyalty and Readiness Status
  • Behavioral Segmentation
  • Consumer Culture
  • Attitude Change
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Age Segmentation
  • Hierarchy of Needs
  • Cognitive Dissonance (Buyer's Remorse)
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer Habits
  • AIDA
  • Opinion Leadership and Reference Groups
  • Involvement
  • Diffusion of Innovations

Product Dispersion

by Christa Freeland, Tyler Cornett and Valin Zamarron

Product Dispersion is the process getting rid of products/things. Examples include garage sales, recycling, donations, littering and recycling, etc. We picked several major categories to demonstrate product dispersion: fashion, technology, and food.

In the fashion category, people can get rid of clothes via hand-me-downs, donations, and garage sales. Here is a video about Buffalo Exchange, a used clothing store in Austin, Texas. The manager shared with us how the clothing exchange store works and how they accept or decline clothing.

Buffalo Exchange

FASHION: Product Dispersion from Valin Zamarron on Vimeo.

Now that technology is constantly improving, people are getting rid of their electronics at a faster pace. This leads to an overload of old, unused electronics. In this video, we feature Goodwill's electronics section. Here is an employee from Goodwill talking about how fast electronics sell.


TECHNOLOGY: Product Dispersion from Valin Zamarron on Vimeo.

In the food category, food can be eliminated through compost, landfills and waste-water systems like in-sink kitchen disposals. In this video, we talked to the manager at Torchy's Tacos, a popular eatery in Austin, Texas about disposing of unused food in a restaurant.

Torchy's Tacos

FOOD: Product Dispersion from Valin Zamarron on Vimeo.

Team "Product Dispersion"

Valin Zamarron, Christa Freeland, Tyler Cornett

Consumer Loyalty and Readiness Status

by Tara Davis, Eric Garza, Yenny Ruiz

Buyer Readiness encompasses six decision-making stages through which consumers normally pass on their way to making a purchase. Those six steps are awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction, and purchase.
  • Awareness. Before a consumer can purchase an item, he or she must know that the product exists. Just knowing that a product exists is not enough for most people to make a purchase. 
  • Knowledge. Some consumers may seek to expand their knowledge of the product by going online or talking to sales associates and friends. 
  • Liking. At this point, some consumers still are not ready to make a purchase. They need develop a positive feel about the product. 
  • Preference. Chances are the product being considered by the consumer has competitors. The consumer will compare each product’s benefits to come to a preference. 
  • Conviction. By now, the consumer is closer to making a purchase but may still need conviction. The client has to be reassured that this product is the best one for him or her. 
  • Purchase. Sometimes, the consumer needs an extra push to make the purchase. This is when trial offers and discounts help seal the deal. The larger the purchase, the longer a consumer takes in each step.
Buyer readiness is similar concept to that of AIDA, which is Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action, except buyer readiness encompasses two additional steps.

Team Smoking Aces conducted an buyer readiness interview.  Rodney, the interviewee, took his time going through the steps leading up to the purchase of a Mossy Oak $75 hunting rain coat.

Loyalty Status is broken down into six categories based on user status.
  • Sole users are the most brand loyal and require the least amount of advertising and promotion. They go for the same brand without much thought. Example: people who only drink Coca Cola.
  • Semi-sole users typically use Brand A but have an alternative selection if it is not available or if the alternative is promoted with a discount. Example: people who typically drink Coca Cola but will have Dr. Pepper at a restaurant that does not carry Coke.
  • Discount users are the semi-sole users of competing Brand B. They don't buy Brand A at full price but perceive it well enough to buy it at a discount. Example: people who buy Sam’s Cola but will buy Coca Cola if there is a price cut on it.
  • Aware non-users use competitive products in the category but haven't taken a liking to Brand A. Example: people who drink soda but don’t have a favorite brand.
  • Trial/reject users have purchased a brand but were unsatisfied with the product. Example: people who bought Coke because of the advertising for it but did not like the taste of the product.  

  • Repertoire users perceive 2 or more brands to have superior attributes and will buy at full price. They are the primary brand switchers and respond to persuasive advertising based on fluctuating wants and desires. Example: people who drink both Coke and Dr. Pepper and switch from one to the other because one has a cooler ad.

An example of a sole user is Luis. Team Smoking Aces interviewed him about his brand loyalty to True Religion Jeans. He is so hooked on the brand, that if True Religion were to raise the price on their jeans, he would still buy them.

Here is an example of a discount user.  Smoking Aces interviewed Rene at the San Marcos (Texas) Outlet Mall. The team found out that he had taken a special trip to San Marcos from Guadalajara, Mexico to take advantage of the discounts offered at the outlets. This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated here with English subtitles.

Team "Team Smoking Aces" 
Consumer Loyalty and Readiness Status

Eric Garza, Yenny Ruiz, Tara Davis

Behavioristic Segmentation

 by Jacqueline Garza, Lance Rowden, and Joe Clyburn

Consumers can be segmented in obvious ways, such as by gender, ethnicity, age and household income. However, there are other methods. Using behavioristic segmentation, consumers may be grouped according to benefits sought, user status, usage rate and purchase occasion.

Benefits sought segmentation is straightforward. Why did the consumer purchase the product? Was it for its high quality, low price or sex appeal? Many times, purchases are made because of what the brand symbolizes.

User status has six categories: sole users, semi-sole users, discount users, aware nontriers, trial rejecters and repertoire users. These categories can be discussed in terms of “brand A” vs. “brand B.”

Usage rate is used to determine and differentiate light, medium and heavy users of a product. For instance, a consumer may buy toothpaste heavily, but gum sparingly.

Lastly, purchase occasion can be defined as when a product is purchased. Is the product bought regularly or rarely? Or, is the product a popular fad? The product may be purchased because of the time of year, such as a Christmas tree.

Our three interviews captured each of these concepts, but it should be noted that we combined user status and usage rate into one interview because they are fairly similar. Our first respondent, Jessica, discussed why she bought her new Nissan. She talked about its benefits and what it symbolizes to her. Tom, our second respondent, discussed user status and usage rate in terms of coffee. He is a semi-sole user of “brand A” (Folgers) and he purchases it weekly, so he is a heavy user. Our final respondent, Jake, was interviewed concerning purchase occasion. Arguably, the Nintendo Wii is a popular fad, and he was swayed by friends in his purchase.

Behavioristic segmentation applications are useful to businesses. By finding common characteristics among heavy users of their products, marketers can define product differences and focus ad campaigns more effectively. A marketer who discovers common purchase occasions for a group has a potential target segment and can better determine when to run specials and how to promote certain product categories. By measuring the importance of occasion-based motives, an advertiser can determine if a campaign needs to reposition the product.

Team "Behavioristic Segmentation"

Joe Clyburn, Lance Rowden, Jacqueline Garza

Consumer Culture

by Gab Carrillo, Yolanda Cano, Kelly Childers

Consumer Culture
The act of buying goods or services (consumption) is a cultural activity, one with imbued with meaning and driven not just by practical or economic factors. Consumer culture drives the tendency of people to identify strongly with products or services they consume, especially those with commercial brand names and perceived status-symbol appeal.  Consumer culture is the link in the equation connecting personal happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possessions.

We interviewed three people that belonged to a particular consumer culture group: an eco-friendly consumer, a brand loyal apple user, and a penny pincher. The eco-friendly user was interviewed in her home where we witnessed various products that supported this claim. The penny pincher was interviewed outside of Goodwill, a place where she frequently shops to save money. Lastly, the brand loyal Apple user was interviewed in their home after they purchased a new MacBook Pro. Also, we felt it was necessary to show the numerous Apple products they use in their daily lives.

Eco-Friendly Consumer Culture

Penny Pinching Consumer Culture

Apple Brand Consumer Culture

Business applications 
We found three different business applications that applied to our theory. The three applications were social marketing, market segmentation, and consumer decision. Social marketing creates behaviors that create a positive effect on targeted individuals or society as a whole. For example, Redbox provides a positive effect on consumers by only charging $1 for DVDs. Market segmentation is a portion of a larger market whose needs differ from the larger market. For example, users look for specific products that fit their personality and consumer needs. Consumer decision influences people into certain cultures such as demographics, social stratification, ethnic, religious, etc.

Team "Consumer Culture"

Yolanda Cano, Gabe Carrillo, Kelly Childers

Attitude Change

by Jennifer Leaver, Sydney Belcher and Dan Peterson

Attitude is a construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for an entity. Essentially, attitudes are feelings and judgments about a person, place, or thing (an attitude object). In order to further breakdown attitude, we turn to the ABC model: affect, behavior, and cognition.

  • Affective response is the emotional aspect that expresses an individual’s preference towards the object. Affective responses are based on our emotions
  • Behavioral intention is the personal history and tendencies of the individual. Basically, it suggests that our past behavior is a factor in our present attitudes.
  • Cognitive response is the active thought process that forms an individual’s views towards an object. This is the most involved aspect of attitude. 

After attitude is formed, it is subject to change, usually through an experience or persuasion. However, we will focus on persuasion because it is the goal of all advertising and business. There are three elements that affect the probability of a persuasive argument changing an attitude. These elements are Target, Source, and Message.

  • Target characteristics are traits of the individual receiving and processing the message.
  • Source characteristics describe the one delivering the message. If our perception of the person delivering the message is positive, it is likely we will form a positive attitude toward their message.
  • Message characteristics are aspects of the message being sent. The message itself is the final part of the persuasive argument.

Attitude’s affect on our behavior is where business and advertising aspects come into play.
If our behavior is the culmination of our decisions, then business is just a never ending series of decisions. What are we selling? To whom? When? Where? Why? Who do we work with? Who do we hire? Who do we fire? How much do we buy? Sell? Trade? Each of these answers is affected by the influence attitude. All of business is influenced by attitude because it is such a basic and integral part of our mind.

We each interviewed different individuals and sought information about a time when their attitudes were changed about a product or brand. We were interested in the change in behavior as a result of a change in attitude.

Bike Cable Lock to Bike U-Lock
"That experience changed my attitude."

Standard Lightbulbs to Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

Team "Attitude Change"

Jennifer Leaver, Syndey Belcher, Dan Person

Relationship Marketing

by Julie Korzekwa, Diana Ovalle, Marissa Deslatte

Relationship Marketing is the long-term commitment based on trust between a consumer and their store, brand, or product of choice. This trust is built through marketing strategies. The three major marketing strategies are 1) Creating customer satisfaction, 2) Building brand equity, and 3) Creating and maintaining relationships.

To build this relationship with a brand, one-on-one communication is mandatory which has become easier through marketing databases and the growth of the Internet. Advertising plays a huge part in this one-on-one communication through direct mail, e-mails, text messages and social media. Through these mediums it is easier now more than ever to connect to consumers. Consumers utilize the offers and coupons they receive. Consumers feel appreciated with the special treatment. The reason businesses want to build relationships is because it costs less to serve these long-term customers. Loyal customers will pay a price premium and also loyal customers generate word-of-mouth referrals.

We interviewed three very different consumers, not only in age, but also in shopping habits and stores of preference. All of our interviews had one thing in common. All of their stores of choice showed exemplary customer service. This customer service caused repeat buys and word-of-mouth advertisement.

Charlsie and Macy's

Billy and Academy Sports and Outdoor

Rhea and Target

Team "Relationship Marketing"

Diane Ovalle, Marissa Deslatte, Julie Korzekwa

Age Segmentation

by Sarah Medina, Harris Hickey, Caroline Wilson

Age Segmentation is the strategy of identifying groups of consumers by age. People grouped by age share similar needs and characteristics. Dividing markets for consumer or business products and aggregating these groups into larger market segments according to their mutual interests is a common marketing strategy.

Age segmentation is divided into 6 categories called age subcultures: young children (0-5), school children and teenagers (6-19), young adults (20-34), younger middle-aged (35-49), older middle-aged (50-64), and senior adults (65+). Each group has a different value system and purchasing behavior.

Segmenting can take an even deeper level by segmenting by generation and cognitive age. Cognitive age refers to the age that consumers think they are, not their actual age. The most common age group that experiences cognitive age is seniors. Once advertisers realize that cognitive age is at play, they must change the way they focus on the audience.

Our female college student went through the consumer lifespan steps when purchasing her vehicle, a Land Rover Discovery, She walked us through the five steps in relation to her purchase process.

Our female after-school program operator was a loyal consumer to supplement vitamins, and firmly agreed that her age was a factor in her purchasing decision.

Team Age Segmentation

Sarah Medina, Harris Hickey, Caroline Wilson

Hierarchy of Needs

by Rudy Lopez, Ashley Reich, and Kara Oppermann

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, is known as the Father of Humanistic Psychology. He introduced this theory in his 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation." By observing people’s instinctive curiosity, he was able to understand what stimulates human motivation. He found that people tend to fulfill their fundamental needs before moving on to meet their other ‘secondary’ needs.

Maslow developed a pyramid consisting of 5 human needs organized from bottom to top, starting with the most basic of needs and ending with more complex needs. The bottom needs are considered more important than the needs near the top. The five needs are (in order of importance): Physiological, Safety, Social, Esteem, and Self-actualization needs.

Physiological needs are needs that are crucial for survival. These needs are basic and vital to the survival of any species. Eating, sleeping, breathing and biological needs fit into category. The first interview included a Texas State student who satisfies his physiological need by purchasing various food and beverage products at H-E-B. He started by explaining why he bought groceries (because he was hungry), and stated that if he didn’t buy groceries he would literally die.

Safety needs are needs that we must have in order to be protected from harm and dangerous elements.

Social needs are needs that we fulfill by surrounding ourselves with company that makes us feel accepted. We all want to feel needed and loved, and establish companionships with others. In one of the interviews conducted, the interviewee stated that she regularly pays dues to be a member of an on-campus business organization because it meets not only her social needs, but her esteem needs as well.

Esteem needs deal with one’s need to have stable self-esteem, self-respect and to be accepted/respected by others. They fulfill a person’s need to gain recognition and belong to activities that give one a sense of contribution and self-value. When esteem needs are not met, symptoms of depression can result.

Self-actualization needs are “man’s desire for fulfillment; to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” More so, it is the need for personal and psychological development, and self-awareness; this process of becoming self-actualized allows one to realize their maximum potential. Choosing a specific brand of clothing, audio/stereo equipment, books/magazines/newsletters, toys/games, movies, music, and sporting goods is a way of self-actualizing. Moments of self-actualization are also known as “peak experiences.” This means you are in perfect, blissful harmony, and you understand the meaning of your existence.

When analyzing the business applications of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it became apparent that the theory is used by marketers in order to grasp some understanding of what motivates consumers to make purchasing decisions and to take action. Advertisers and marketers gather and use data on consumers’ needs to help them define their strategies and actions used in the market. Marketers have a better chance of targeting consumers to purchase their products above others by creating products/advertisements that suit/fit consumer needs more effectively than that of the competitors.

Team Hierarchy of Needs

Kara Oppermann, Rudy Lopez, Ashley Reich

Cognitive Dissonance (Buyer's Remorse)

by Lauren Savoy, Holley McConnell, Ben Wirtz

Cognitive Dissonance, developed by Leon Festinger, is the theory of two conflicting ideas occurring simultaneously. It is the push and pull of two different opinions or beliefs. Cognitive dissonance theory is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

To us common folk, it’s known as buyer’s remorse, It usually occurs when one impulsively buys a product without much thought which later they regret. Frequently, the purchasing of higher priced items, or those that could be considered “unnecessary” causes cognitive dissonance. “Did I make the right decision?” “Is this item really necessary?”“Maybe this wasn’t what I really wanted.” These questions are common among those who experience buyer’s remorse.

Cognitive dissonance can occur in the final stage of the consumer buying process. The first stage is the need of recognition and problem awareness, then comes information research, following is the evaluation of alternatives and finally the consumer purchases the item. Once the item is purchased he or she can evaluate the product.

The differences of cognitive dissonance involve price, popularity, value, and size. Price includes: high-involvement purchases – a car, house, expensive watch, boat, etc. These usually take more thought prior to the purchase, and has a larger chance for cognitive dissonance to occur due to the large lump of money given away. Low-involvement purchases usually have the opposite effect.

How to reduce the regret? The way to reduce buyer’s remorse is to gather information prior to purchasing the product. Some examples are: discovering whether the product has warranties, exchanges, returns, money back guarantees, etc.

When looking for people to interview, we approached people associated with the local community and businesses. We heard a variety of answers in regard to buyer’s remorse, which tied into our theory. It appeared that the higher the price of a product, the more thought was put into the purchase – the lower the price, the higher the impulse.

Team "Cognitive Dissonance"

Lauren Savoy, Ben Wirtz, Holley McConnell

Psychographics, PRIZM, and VALS

by Kim Rose, Chris Roberts, Stephanie Squires

Psychographics are consumer attributes related to personality, attitude, values, lifestyle and activities. Psychographics are used to segment consumers beyond demographic variables.

One well known segmentation strategy is VALS, which stands for Values, Attitudes, Life Style. Psychographics are used in market segmentation and advertising. VALS divides consumers into eight segments: Innovators, Thinkers, Achievers, Experiencers, Believers, Strivers, Makers and Survivors.

Another popular segmentation tool is PRIZM by Nielson-Claritas. PRIZM provides a standard way of sorting the population into similar segments. PRIZM combines demographic, consumer behavior, and geographic data to help marketers identify, understand and target their prospective customers. PRIZM defines every US household into 66 demographically and behaviorally distinct segments. PRIZM is a leading segmentation system in the industry.

Team "Psychographics Segmentation"

Kim Rose, Chris Roberts, Stephanie Squires (missing)