Research on Problem Recognition

Another research direction taken has been to view problem recognition longitudinally. Instead of focusing on one instance of problems recognition, the effect of repeated occurrence of similar problems is considered. For example, consumers may have problem recognition triggered in three ways: by the actual state changing by the desired state changing or by a combination of both changing. As the consumer experiences the problem several more times, a style of recognizing the need begins to develop thus for some consumers, problem recognition is triggered mainly by a change in the desired state (we may call these consumers a DS type). For others a problem would rarely be recognized unless their actual state changed (an AS type). These two types of problem recognition styles may operate among consumers for numerous products, such as clothing cologne, shampoo, home decorations appliances ad automobiles. With some needs however, almost all consumers may be AS types. For a light bulb purchase, nearly all buyers would only recognize the problem when a bulb burns out. In the opposite way we are almost all DS types when it comes to recorded music because our motivation to purchase has more to do with novelty seeking than it does with replacing a lost or damaged record. Limited research also indicates that DS and AS types have different shopping orientations and information source usages. DS type consumers are a similar group across related product categories, and seem to be an important group for the marketer to target. For example problem recognition is more easily triggered for them, they have greater interest in the product and enjoy shopping for it, they are easier to reach using conventional communications channels, and they perceive themselves as influenced in others shopping decisions.

Types of Problem Recognition as occurring in only one way, it is useful to understand that there may be varying types of problem recognition processes. One approach has been to develop a classification system of situations based on the factors of immediacy of required solution and whether or not the problem was expected. The resulting matrix of problem types is shown in table consisting routine, emergency, planning, and evolving situations. Immediacy of problem solution is a relevant factor in determining the decision time horizon that is how soon a problem solution is needed will affect the length of decision process and intensity of decision effort. Expectancy of the problem can affect such facets as the sources of information used in the decision process, for example as well as the number of alternatives considered. It should be remembered to that importance of the problem will be significant factor influencing decisions within each category of problems recognition. Thus, some decisions (in the same category or type of problem recognition situation) are more important to us than others and, as a result we find different decision process strategies being used.

Routine problems are those in which the difference between actual and desired states is expected to occur and an immediate solution is required. Typically convenience gods are associated with this type of problem recognition such as most grocery purchases made by consumers. In these cases, items are ordinarily used up and must soon be replaced. Both routine and emergency problems lead to what is known as at need purchases of goods and services that is, those having a minimal time lag between purchase and actual consumption.

Emergency problems are those that are unexpected in which immediate solutions are necessary. For instance a consumer who is involved in an automobile accident and totals his car may need a quick solution to his transportation problem. Consequently the individual may have little time to engage in shopping for the perfect replacement vehicle but instead may purchase something that is reasonably satisfactory and available for immediate delivery. Notice that in such a case the vehicle may be viewed as temporary solution, with a trade in likely in the neat future in order to obtain a better car. This now becomes a planning problem. Some retailers cater to customers facing emergency problems. Convenience stores such as 7- eleven meet the needs of this segment by offering more extended shopping hours.

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