The product that we propose for marketing and for this project is a unique hair styling solution. Time has become a constraint in every day life. Our busy schedules do not allow us to attend to our personal needs, like getting a haircut. And when we do get time out from our extremely busy schedule on a weekend our hairstylists are busy or overbooked to attend to our needs. But the need persists. What do we do in this case? Where from do we get time to make ourselves feel pampered or taken cared of? Personal grooming is an area we are carelessly concerned about, but paucity of time prevents us from fulfilling such basic needs of our daily life. Our product blows a fresh air on the people who are in dire need of a hair styling but are too string tied to take pout time from their schedule. This product provides a personal, customized on call hair styling to our customers. So our product, as you can see, is a service which we propose to call “Personal Touch: Hair Stylist on the Move”.
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The key features of the product consist of the following attributes:
- The hair stylist can be called over the phone or through the internet.
- Stylist will come to the customer’s home to do the styling any time of the day or week. So it is a 24 hour, 7 days a week service.
- Services will include all hair related solution, viz. haircut, wash & set, style, perms, relaxers, braids or weaves.
- Our stylists are professionals and they will consider the customer’s “bone structure, hair texture, neck, and lifestyle” (Wong 2007) while styling the hair of the customer.
- The most important feature of out offering is the immense amount of flexibility and reliability that we show towards our customers. We know the value of time and so we value our customer’s time. Hence we have the most on-time delivery of service.
- Our service will cater to both men and women.
- Further our short term objectives can be explained in the following manner:
- Gain clientele from various demographics.
- Increase the amount of hairstylist that is on our roster.
- Open up our market place by doing an aggressive advertising campaign beginning with word of mouth, moving towards a radio campaign, and internet campaign, then progressing to a television campaign to the masses including the voices and faces of top celebrities.
- We will start off on a local level expanding towards a more notational level later on.
- Retrieve customer leads from magazines, trade shows, events, letters, phone calls, and emails in an effective manner.
- Build a website so that we can utilize features on it to reach consumers.
- Put together an effect direct marketing campaign that will allow us to maintain dialogue with consumers.
- Conduct training of employees to collect and analyze information about competitors” (Winer, 2007) within a 6 month period, and develop a plan to effectively compete to become a serious contender in the industry.
- The mission of “Personal Touch: Hairstylist on the Move” is to improve the quality, convenience, and professional hairstyling service for all no matter what the hair type.
All these features will help us to promote a service that has the need in today’s time constrained world and will gain acceptance in the demographics which is too tied up for their work but want to indulge in personal care.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
In describing how our unique hair styling solution affects the consumers on the basis of all the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, let us first understand what these needs actually are and then analyze to what extent the consumers’ needs will be satisfied through our service offering.
Abraham Maslow’s book Motivation and Personality, published in 1954 introduced the Hierarchy of Needs, and Maslow extended his ideas in other work, notably his later book Toward a Psychology of Being, a significant and relevant commentary. He presented the idea that there is a hierarchy of needs in man, ranging from the lower-order physiological drives (e.g. thirst, hunger and rest), through safety needs (e.g. shelter, protection and security) and affective needs (e.g. affection, friendship, love and acceptance), to the higher-order needs for self-esteem (e.g. prestige, success and accomplishment) and self-actualization (e.g. self-fulfilment and enriching experiences). The lower-level needs are considered to dominate the higher-level needs. That is, consumers must satisfy lower-level needs first, before they begin to pursue higher-order needs. According to Maslow the highest level of need is related to self-actualization, i.e. the desire to live up one’s full potential and to maximize the use of skills and abilities. However, this need for self-actualization only becomes activated if all four of the lower-level needs have already been satisfied. Maslow postulated that there exists a deprivation of soma human needs which induces the need to gratify it and that process of need gratification is activated to satisfy the hierarchical needs (Wahba & Bridwelt, p. 515). In Maslow’s theory there are five consecutive needs that motivate a person chronologically. They are Self-Actualization, Esteem Needs, Social Needs, Safety Needs and Physiological Needs.
Now to discuss each of the needs separately and analyzing how our product satisfies them.
Physiological Needs: as described earlier, they satisfy the basic human needs such as thirst, hunger, rest etc. our product satisfies the element of the physiological need that requires rest and relaxation. A hair stylist will not only cut the customer’s hair but provide relaxation and comfort. So the need of the customer to satisfy his need to relax and comfort is satisfied through our service.
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Safety Need: These needs relate to the requirement for shelter, security, etc. Our service is reliable and secure. As our stylists are coming to the customer’s home for providing the service, it is of utmost importance that they are not involved in any malpractice. Further, people are possessive about the way they look, and so hair becomes of absolute importance. So our service provides the reliability that it will make the customers look good, and so they feel secure to call us for our services.
Social Needs: Societal conduct is important in today’s world. For instance, a financial executive cannot walk into office with an unshaven face and uncombed long strands of hair. That goes against the image of his profession. So he needs to groom himself to fit into the role that society has set for him. That is why he will accept our product. So our product helps our customers to gain acceptability in social code of conducts.
Self-Esteem Needs: The need to boost our esteem is very important fro our prestige and accomplishments are attached to it. How we look plays a good role to mould our accomplishments. For instance one cannot look shabby and ill-groomed for an executive party or when he is about to accept an award. He must be presentable and emit the air of success. This will boost our self-esteem and confidence. Our product helps customers boost their esteem and self-confidence.
Self-Actualization: The main aim of a service provider is to take its customers to this stage when the actual brand loyalty is materialized. Customers, if fulfilled and satisfied with our service, will have an enriching experience. And we thrive to provide such quality of services to our customers when they will get additional value and even comfort of their home along with styling experience like celebrity styling.
Consumer Behavior Model
A consumer behavior model as shown in figure 2, illustrates that nature of consumer’s decision making process, focusing on when, why, how and where people do or do not buy a product. In this section, we will see how a prospective consumer is affected by the hair styling solution that we provide. First, the customer has to be exposed to the marketing stimuli, which are under the control of the marketer, and environmental stimuli which are beyond the control of the marketing manager. For instance the customer has the need of the for a hair stylist who can come to her home to provide services and is impressed with the price offerings that we provide. Now a peer influences her decision further by saying that we provide great and reliable service will act as a catalyst fro the consumer’s decision making process. Helping to define this analysis further are a group of “buyer characteristics”, including the customer’s perception of the hair styling service as compared to competitive systems and the motivating goals she perceives that the service will help achieve.
Figure 2: Consumer Behavior Model:
|Market Stimuli||Other Stimuli||Buyer Characteristics||Buyer Decision Process||Buyer Decisions|
|Product||Economic||Cultural||Problem Recognition||Product choice|
|Price||Technological||Social||Information Search||Brand Choice|
|Placement||Political||Personal||Evaluating Alternatives||Dealer’s Choice|
|Promotion||Cultural||Psychological||Purchase Decisions||Purchase Timings|
This model is based on the model proposed by Philip Kotler. The marketing stimuli are the most important for it is price, promotion, placement and product that actually stimulate the primary desire or need to purchase. To relate the product to this model we first take up the first column in figure 2. This provides the 4 P’s of marketing mix. Our product offering is unique and it provides convenience and is targeted to a need that already exists among customers. What is required is to promote the right offering to the right people at the right time. We need to choose our customers clearly and the placement of the product is also set, as it will be an on-call delivery of service, hence we need decide upon where to open the salon. But the decision that needs to be taken is which area we will target. Promotion is of utmost priority, as we are the first players in this area, we need to create awareness among prospective customers. So the right kind of promotion is very important. So for promotion we have decided to tie up with celebrities who would endorse our products and ingrain the right picture of styling like the celebrities. Further, as ours is a lifestyle service, celebrity endorsement will provide greater credibility.
The other stimuli i.e. economic, technological, political and cultural are mainly external stimuli which affect the customer’s decision to purchase a product. As our is a lifestyle service, we aim to target at a demographics who are middle and upper middle class in income group. Thus, economic constraints will be eliminated. As it is a styling product the influence of technology on buying decision is very low. So is political influence. But cultural influence will play a major factor as it will dictate the terms whether a hair cut can be taken at home.
The buyer characters that will influence the customer’s decision to purchase the product are cultural, social, and personal. As the product is a lifestyle product, it will have effect on the culture and social needs of the customers and vise versa. But the main influencer will be the personal need to look beautiful in no time and accommodating styling in a busy schedule.
The decision process will be addressed in the advertisements where we will show the customers how our product may help them to overcome the paucity of time that they face and how it constraints their personal needs. We will have websites and on-call information centers that will provide the customers all the information they need for our services. And after which they will make a decision to purchase or not to purchase.
As we are the sole provider of this service the decisions regarding brand or product becomes immaterial except for the traditional styling solution i.e. salons.
The hair care salon market in is extremely competitive in the U.S. our direct competitors are the traditional salons which provide all the services we provide.
Identify all real companies out there today that are competitors. We try to concentrate our initial offering in the New York city fro it is the busiest city in the world with the maximum number of people who are unable to cater to their personal needs due to unavailability of time. There are a lot potential customers but along with it there a lot of well known beauty salons in the area who will be our direct competitors. To mane a few such salons, are Dorit Baxter New York Day Spa, Allure Day Spa & Hair Design, Toni & Guy Hairdressing, Malouf Colette Inc, Hair Design By Oumou, etc. these salons target the same group of customers as we do but the only difference is that along with all the services that they provide we provide the customers with extreme convenience to access our service.
Our target customers are above the age of 21 years and less than 50 years. We will target both male and female from among whites, African-Americans and Hispanics. Our target group will be white collared workers working as management, professional or related occupations with an income above $150000 annually as the mean level of income which is $73384 per annum (American Community Survey 2006). As the census shows that there are around 1,354,742 people are engaged in the targeted profession. Further there are 282,601 people who fall in our income range. So our target customers are around 7 percent of the overall population of the city. Though we intend to expand the target, but initially looking at our capacity we will target this number of people which is quite a lot.
The paper thus provides a plan for our product “Personal Touch: Hair Stylist on the Move” to be launched and promoted in the market. The discussion in the paper showed that the product is unique in its service offering and provides unquestioned value to the customers. Based on the basic problem that working men and women face today of managing their busy schedule and taking some times out for themselves. Our service offering service offering provides a solution to this problem. We then saw how our service satisfies the customer’s needs based on Maslow’s need hierarchy. Then with the help of consumer behavior model we sketched the way the customer’s decision making process is influenced. After discussing the competition and the target customers we see that the overall customer we can target is much more than the salons as their reach is restricted to their geographical boundary. Whereas ours being a mobile business we can access customers even to the remotest of the parts of the city.
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Chapman, A. (1995-2008). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Abraham Maslow original Hierarchy of Needs concept. Web.
Maslow, A. (2004). A hierarchy of needs, Motivation, personality and Emotion. In Chapter 8. Part-3.
Wahba, A., & Bridgewell, L. (1976) “Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 15, pp. 212-240.
Winer, R.S. (2007). Marketing Management. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.