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The following report is based on the differentiation of the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets of a reputed organisation that operates in both these sectors. The purchase decision-making process of the consumers will be evaluated first in terms of the B2C market, which is also known as the consumer market of a business. Following that, the B2B or business market of the same product would be compared with that B2C market, including the market research methods for both. Finally, two factors that influence the consumer decision-making process to purchase that product will be discussed with the utilisation of relevant theories or models. In this process, the tyre manufacturing unit of MRF is chosen for the current report.
Indian tyre manufacturer MRF (Madras Rubber Factory) is the largest in the country. KM Mammen Mappillai founded it in 1946 as a toy balloon unit. MRF opened an abroad office in Beirut, Lebanon in 1964 to expand its reach into the export industry (NDTV CONVERGENCE LIMITED, 2021). The tyres manufactured by MRF are now exported to more than 65 countries throughout the world. Automobile, two-wheeler, truck, bus, and tractor tyres, as well as a light commercial vehicle and off-the-road tyres, are all part of the company’s product line. A state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in India produces the Muscleflex brand of conveyor belting. Muscleflex –conveyor belting has rapidly gained recognition in markets across the globe by using the newest production methods in processes starting with mixing, calendaring and the like through the manufacture of final goods. For precured retreading, this is the best method in India yet. MRF first entered the retreading business in 1970. MRF’s expertise in tyres and rubber has allowed them to develop the technique of recured retreading.
Consumer attributes, stimulus, and decision-making process are all shown in a black-box model. This model explains the role of buyer attributes and the buyer’s decision-making process in the link between marketing stimuli and environmental stimuli on the customer’s decision-making ability (Kanagal, 2016). Personal, social, cultural, and psychological variables may all have a role in the buyer’s decision. After a consumer has ‘processed’ certain stimuli, the model indicates that they will behave in certain ways to those stimuli. According to the paradigm, a consumer’s behaviour is influenced by circumstances outside of the customer’s control, but the qualities and decision-making processes of the consumer also play a role.
Tyres are the second-biggest expense for a car owner after gasoline, and hence play a critical role in determining profitability (Kurunathan, Shanmugathas and Ashoka, 2019). Consequently, the tyre’s overall performance is a major consideration in the buying choice. A buyer’s considerations include the tyre’s price, the tyre’s life expectancy, the tyre’s ruggedness, safety and grip, as well as the tyre’s fuel economy. In terms of the tyre’s life expectancy, repairability and retreadability are critical secondary features. The repairability and reusability of these tyres are directly related to the chemical composition employed in their manufacture. To some customers, a tyre’s initial life is just as important as its overall life when it comes to making a buying decision, as per Gurca et al (2021). Several variables may be used to determine the life expectancy of tyres, but this one is the most often used. For car owners and specialised applications where retreaded tyres are not deemed acceptable, this characteristic is extremely important.
Five Stages of Consumers’ Decision-making Process
Qazzafi's paradigm for marketing characterises the customer purchasing process as a sequence of five stages: need identification, information search, alternative assessment, purchase decision, and post-purchase (2019). A tyre buyer's information search would be the objective of an informative marketing campaign. Consumers do both internal and external searches to find relevant information. An internal search is when customers use their knowledge or prior experiences to make a purchase choice, while an external search is when consumers use outside sources (web, peers, catalogue) to make a purchasing decision based on that information (Stankevich, 2017). In the case of tyre purchasers, there is a pervasive dearth of internal information to depend on throughout the purchasing process. For this reason, the author thinks that tyre purchasers are already having a bad impression of the procedure because of the absence of internal information. Decision-making processes for buyers are laid out in the section below:
The first step in the purchasing decision-making process for consumers is the awareness of a need. “Problem recognition” is another name for this process. It all begins with the necessities of life, such as access to clean water, food, and a safe place to live. The firm must recognise and address the needs of its customers.
In this stage, the customer starts to research the product using a variety of sources. Personal sources (family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours) and commercial sources (businesses and organisations) are examples of this (advertising firms, dealers and manufacturers, salespeople, web and mobile sites, displays, packaging).
Evaluation of Alternatives
Consumers are now at the third stage of the decision-making process when they purchase anything. It follows the second step of the purchasing process, which is the search for information. It is only after the customer gathers and evaluates the information about a product or brand that the consumer may rate it.
A consumer’s decision-making process begins here. Having gathered information from many sources, evaluated it, and made a decision on where and what to buy, the customer has opted to purchase a product. After doing an examination, consumers choose the brand or product that they feel most comfortable with. The surrounding surroundings might also impact the buying choice.
Decisions made after purchase are known as post-purchase decisions. After the consumer makes a purchase, the company’s effort does not end. The customer’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the product depends on how they utilise it. The happier the customer is, the more likely it is that he or she will continue to purchase the goods.
Evaluation of Five Stage Decision Making Process of MRF B2C Consumers
The expectations and perceptions of the customer are at the heart of the idea of a pleased or unsatisfied customer. Customers may be satisfied if the goods they expected to match what they saw. Consumer dissatisfaction will occur if the product fails to match the consumer’s expectations. To separate themselves from their competition and satisfy the customers, MRF has designed a product based on two pillars, such as quality and durability.
Marketing experts should keep in mind that although advertising and communication may influence the image of a brand’s high performance, the look of the tyre also plays a key part in shaping perceptions, especially when it comes to features like safety and grip (Chitra and Malarvizhi, 2018). Customers use the appearance of the tyre and tread patterns as a sign of the tyre’s roughness, strength, and grip. However, although these views may be ill-informed, they play an important part in the decision-making process of customers. New demands might be discovered during the information-gathering process itself. She may conclude that she does not need new tyres, but rather a new automobile, while she researches tyres. New information may be sought out at this time due to her newly realised need.
As a result of their previous purchases and consumption habits, customers may already have the knowledge they need in certain circumstances. Experiences that enhance client loyalty are more likely to lead to repeat purchases than those that undermine it. Customers in need of new tyres, for example, may consult their local newspaper for specials or seek advice from family and friends. If they have purchased tyres previously and had a positive experience, they may return to the same dealership and purchase the same brand.
Ultimately, marketers in both the B2C and B2B sectors have the same goal: to generate and retain demand. As a result, there is a great deal of overlap between the sorts of marketing research studies that are undertaken in B2C and B2B environments. Companies, for example, must test new product concepts to determine if they will be sold to businesses or consumers in the future. MRF has a reputed consumer base in the B2B market, dealing with companies like Tata Motors, Honda, M&M and Maruti Suzuki. MRF is well-known for its commitment to high-quality service and a focus on the needs of its clients (mrftyres.com, n. d). The consumer market of the company is heavily reliant on the Indian population of two- and four-wheeler users.
Business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) are two distinct marketing relationships that are used interchangeably. A product or service is being marketed to culminate in a purchase in both cases, yet research demonstrates that these two marketing partnerships have quite distinct decision-making processes. According to Cruz (2018), when it comes to the implication of research methods for understanding the market, as a B2B researcher, MRF must be able to deal with lower sample numbers, but in a B2C study, they may be dealing with thousands of replies. Fewer than one hundred people may be the intended audience in B2B research. Because of this, you should be prepared for suggestions based on extremely small sample size. The market of MRF tyres is completely dependent on the automobile sector. Therefore, the fundamental data points required for the analysis of both B2B and B2C market for the company relies on the current, historical and forecast figures of the production of vehicles. The difference in researching these two markets is that the former one mostly requires interviews with the businesses, while the consumer market research is reliant on the survey method.
The major differences in the purchase decision-making process between B2B and B2C consumers are in their nature (Kumar and Raheja, 2012). In terms of B2B consumers, selling a product or service is a business transaction, thus the buyer requires a reasonable analysis, a longer period of deliberation, and the seller's continued support. Several facets of the car industry are impacted by the verdict made in this case regarding MRF tyres. B2C clients, on the other hand, are more likely to buy tyres on the spur of the moment. The decision-making process is faster and more tailored to each person's needs. Another point of area for the B2B market is that this market involves various functional areas from both ends, while the B2C market involves family and members. Vehicles produced by car manufacturers determine the various types of tyres needed for commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles etc, and individual customers, once satisfied with the tyre quality, would purchase the same type of tyre they would need for their two- or four-wheelers.
Within the purchase decision-making process, business consumers are more direct and have to consider fewer intermediaries, while individual consumers experience an indirect channel and there are multiple layers of intermediaries that ultimately impact the buying process. Needless to say, based on its technically complex and customised characteristics, the business market requires technical expertise while purchasing something. However, the nature of the consumer market is standardised, which requires relatively less technical expertise among the customers. Indeed, automobile manufacturers go through a critical and long process of technical scrutiny before making a deal with MRF tyres. Individual customers mostly are dependent on word-of-mouth or previous experience in terms of purchasing tyres for their vehicles.
The factor of promotional characteristics can be one of the crucial points of consideration in terms of the purchase decision-making process of consumers. In this regard, as per R?klaitis and Pilelien? (2019), while B2B consumers like automobile manufacturers focus on the personal selling strategy of MRF tyres, B2C consumers focus on mass media channels, in which the company advertise the quality and features of their tyres. While businesses put more importance on direct marketing communication with other businesses, consumers rely on the promotions or advertisements from various businesses and conduct a comparison of products or services based on the information provided to them.
One of the most significant stimulators in the process of decision-making for purchasing a product or service is the pricing characteristics (Novansa and Ali, 2017). In the business market, B2B consumers rely on competitive bidding and/or negotiated prices for settling down for a certain purchase-price amount of the product/service. Another point of consideration for them in this regard is the list price for standard products to understand the average price of the product in the market. On the contrary, customers in the consumer market get information about the pricing on the list of price or maximum retail price (MRP) of a product that comes in the label or promotional mediums of the products/services.
Psychological motivation is the driving force behind the action. Motivation may be found in a variety of places, encompassing behavioural, physiological, cognitive, and social contexts. It is adaptable enough to include all of these domains (Jisana, 2014). A person’s motivation may stem from a desire to avoid suffering and enhance pleasure, as well as particular necessities such as eating and sleeping. Motivation, on the other hand, is directly tied to one’s feelings.
The Theory of Drive-reduction
The need to consume is one of the biological urges that people experience. If unfulfilled, the desire becomes stronger over time (in this case by eating). Once a drive is satisfied, in the opinion of Miller (2017), its power is diminished. This can be related to the urge of B2C consumers of MRF tyres, since the desire for quality tyres with utmost safety features create an urge for the vehicle users. Once they purchase the product, they are satisfied and would not go for another purchase until they are in the need again.
When it comes to a person’s behaviour, personality refers to his or her underlying psychological qualities. As per Sofi and Najar (2018), a person’s personality is susceptible to change as he or she matures from a kid to an adult; the people and events that surround him or her may alter or modify this identity. Identifying the psychological qualities of market groups that marketers want to target is essential to developing marketing tactics that will attract clients. Each person has unique characteristics, qualities, traits, and mannerisms that he or she has and exhibits in various situations.
Theory of Traits
It is the total of the attributes that determine an individual’s personality. Personality determines not just the shop and product selection, but also the behaviour that follows the purchase. Some of the components of trait theory, such as experience, have been discovered to influence consumer buying decisions because they influenced personality (Madhavi and Lakshmi, 2021). During the purchase of automobile parts, customers of almost all personalities are searching for the performance of that product, whereas the majority of the individuals look for pricing alternatives before making decisions.
The report has evaluated the business market and consumer market of MRF tyres by establishing the purchase decision-making process of consumers in the B2C market and comparing the B2C and B2B markets. The comparison in terms of market research showed that while B2B market research requires mostly interviews while B2C market depends mostly on surveys to study consumer decision-making process. Motivation and personality are the two crucial factors discussed that influence the decision-making process. Even though the terms ”B2B” and “B2C” both relate to the connection between two parties in marketing strategy, the market research tactics and rewards vary because the interactions are distinct. In contrast to B2C transactions, which are mostly driven by emotion, B2B purchases are more rational. It is advantageous to do both B2B and B2C market research, and doing so gives MRF the option to direct customers toward a certain product or service.
Chitra, S. and Malarvizhi, M., 2018. A study on Consumer Reaction on Passenger Car Tyre Selection in Theni. International Research Journal of Management, IT and Social Sciences, 5(2), pp.64-68.
Cruz, S. 2018. B2C and B2B Market Research | The Difference and Benefits. [online] Available at: https://www.driveresearch.com/market-research-company-blog/b2c-and-b2b-market-research-the-difference-and-benefits [Accessed on: 16th December, 2021]
Gurca, A., Bagherzadeh, M., Markovic, S. and Koporcic, N., 2021. Managing the challenges of business-to-business open innovation in complex projects: A multi-stage process model. Industrial Marketing Management, 94, pp.202-215.
Jisana, T.K., 2014. Consumer behaviour models: an overview. Sai Om Journal of Commerce & Management, 1(5), pp.34-43.
Kanagal, N.B., 2016. An extended model of behavioural process in consumer decision making.
Kumar, V. and Raheja, E.G., 2012. Business to business (b2b) and business to consumer (b2c) management. International Journal of Computers & Technology, 3(3b), pp.447-451.
Kurunathan, D., Shanmugathas, S. and Ashoka, K., 2019. Analysis of relation between customer behavior and information technology market. Journal of System and Management Sciences, 9(1), pp.87-104.
Madhavi, D.N.B. and Lakshmi, D.P.A., 2021. P ersonality Traits Influencing The Purchase Decisions Of Passenger Car Buyers Of Toyota In Krishna District. European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine, 7(7), pp.6678-6689.
Miller, N.E., 2017. Implications for theories of reinforcement (pp. 582-593). Routledge.
mrftyres.com. n. d. WHO WE ARE. [online] Available at: https://www.mrftyres.com/overview [Accessed on: 16th December, 2021]
NDTV CONVERGENCE LIMITED. 2021. MRF Ltd. [online] Available at: https://www.ndtv.com/business/stock/mrf-ltd_mrf/reports [Accessed on: 16th December, 2021]
Novansa, H. and Ali, H., 2017. Purchase D
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