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Consumer Behavior Concepts for John Deere Case Solution
John Deere Inc. sells a variety of consumer products as well as lawn equipment (John Deere, 2016). While it sells lawn equipment under the broader banner of John Deere, Rungreen.com has been created to look after the consumer product lines that the company manages. Rungreen.com, is an offshoot of the parent company, specializes in selling John Deere merchandise and apparel – for example, tractor hats and t-shirts with a yellow leaping deer symbol (Rungreen, 2016). Currently, John Deere focuses its marketing efforts and energies for selling and advertising its lawn equipment towards the larger Caucasian male consumers. Consequently, Rungreen and its product offerings are also largely popular amongst this consumer segment. However, with a recent shift in demographics as well as a change in homeownership trends, John Deere seeks to expand its target market also to include retirees (who are now making up a large chunk of the population) Afro-Americans and Hispanics, as well as female buyers and current consumers (Francese, 2008).
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Case Analysis for Consumer Behavior Concepts for John Deere
To include these groups in its target market for lawn equipment, and inevitably for consumer products, John Deere must understand their buying behavior as well as general perceptions. This is important for John Deere to be able to market its products accordingly so that the consumers feel an immediate connection with the products and connect with it in a cultural as well as a functional context (Otnes & Tuncay-Zayer, 2012). John Deere needs to position and present its consumer products in a way that appeal to the emotions and attitudes – i.e. the general perceptions of the consumers to influence their motivations positively towards purchasing John Deere products. However, for John Deere to be successfully able to market and sell its products, it would need to influence the perceptions and personalities of its desired target segments by tapping into their needs and desires and marketing its product as a bridge towards need-fulfillment (Chaudhuri, 2006).
John Deere products have traditionally been perceived to be of high quality (Magee, 2005). Over the recent past, Deere products have gained still more popularity based on the company’s consumer-focused approach. Through this approach, the company modified and customized its products against the needs, demands and desires of different consumer groups (Samli, 2012). The company marketed its products under the slogan of ‘nothing runs like a Deere.’ The larger target market, however, has remained that of Caucasian males.
Recently, the American consumer landscape has seen some important changes. Firstly, the demographics have changed, bringing a large number of retirees or the baby-boomers to the forefront of the consumer groups. Having a decent level of savings, this consumer group is a lucrative market for lawn equipment as well as consumer goods and merchandise (WSJ, 2013). Secondly, females have gained a high share in the customer as well as the consumer pie in the USA. Increasingly a large number of females now participate in the buying process – as actual buyers of influencers in the buying process (Brennan, 2015). Thirdly, recent demographics have shown that a high number of Afro-Americans have gained house ownership in urban and sub urban areas, and thus present an attractive market for John Deere to penetrate and position its products (WSJ, 2013). Lastly, here has been an overwhelming shift towards green products and a green life cycle – by a large number of Americans belonging to different age and income groups. This shift towards a greener lifestyle suggests their desire for healthier and more environmentally friendly activities – including purchase of green products i.e. those products that have been developed and manufactured using sustainable and environmentally friendly processes (Neilsen, 2015).
Owing to these changes, it has become critical for John Deere to expand its target consumer market to include these consumer segments and groups. However, during the process of expansion, it is important to remember that all consumer segments and groups do not think and act in similar patterns. Since the consumer behavior of each segment and group varies significantly. As a result of these perceptional and cultural variations, John Deere must develop unique positioning for its products to offer to different consumer groups.
This understanding is also important because different consumer groups react differently to a product, its price and promotional strategies. As a result, a marketer and a company must accommodate these different consumer segments into its overall marketing strategy and plan. Understanding and chalking out different market segments will be important for John Deere in deciding the allocation of resources between different segments as well as understanding the characteristics of these segments. The process of segmentation will also be closely related to product positioning as it will involve determining how consumer segments and groups will perceive John Deere’s products (Hawkins & Mothersbaugh, 2016). However, since there are four different consumer segments in the current case, it is also important for John Deere to stich a connection between the different products positioning(s) that it will introduce. This is important to prevent and confusion about what the product stands for, and what it is aiming to sell.
It is suggested that John Deere maintains its current slogan of ‘nothing runs like a Deere’ and incorporates its well-known yellow deer logo on all its products – from lawn equipment to consumer products. This is important in establishing the goodwill of the parent company as well as assuring consumers of the quality of the products that is associated with the parent company. Keeping the original slogan as an umbrella, John Deere is suggested to develop unique product positioning for its different consumer segments to appeal to their personalities, motivations and perceptions.
Retirees often make calculated purchases (Francese, 2008). They are not fond of spending lavishly and extravagantly. However, these people also like to keep up with their lifestyle and enjoy their retired days. Keeping this in mind, John Deere should make use of its credit programs as well resale programs for this consumer segment. The marketing message can be tailored as, ‘we will keep you running for mile to come now – because nothing runs like a Deere!’
Females, black as well as white, are more than often customers for other consumer groups – such as that of children and families. They are leaders, and they are also consumers (Neilsen, 2014). Since they seek to have the best for their friends and family, as well as for personal use, John Deere should push aspects of quality and variety to them. They will be attracted to a product that lasts longer even it is more expensive than one which will demand constant repairs. The marketing message for females could be, ‘giving lasting strength to your love and care – because nothing runs like a Deere!’
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