Perception is the process by which an individual selects, organizes, and interprets information inputs to create a meaningful picture the world. A motivated person is ready to act. How the motivated person actually acts is influenced by his or her view or perception of the situation.
Perception depends not only on the physical stimuli, but also on the stimuliâ€™s relation to the surrounding field and on conditions within the individual. The key point is that perception can vary widely among individuals exposed to the same reality. One person might perceive a fast-talking salesperson as aggressive and insincere and another as intelligent and helpful. Each will respond differently to the salesperson.
In marketing, perceptions are more important than the reality, as it is perceptions that will affect consumersâ€™ actual behavior. People can emerge with different perceptions of the same object.
It has been estimated that the average person may be exposed to over 1,500 ads or brand communications a day. Because a person cannot possibly attend to all these, marketers have to work hard to attract consumers notice. The real challenge is to explain which ads will activate people to notice.
People are more likely to notice something that relate to a current need. A person who is motivated to buy a computer will notice computer ads; he or she will be less likely to notice DVD ads.
People are more likely to notice products that they anticipate. They are more likely to notice computers than radios in a computers store because they do not expect the store to carry radios.
People are more likely to notice substantial discounts or freebies along with a product whose deviations are large in relation to the normal size. It means the customer is more likely to notice an ad offering $100 off the list price of a computer than one offering $5 off.
Although people screen out much of the surrounding activity or display of products, they are influenced by sudden offers in the mail, over the phone, or from a salesperson. Marketers may attempt to promote their offers intrusively to bypass selective attention filters.
Even noticed products do not always come across in the way the senders intended. Distortion is the tendency to interpret information in a way that will fit customer preconceptions. Consumers will often distort information to be consistent with prior brand and product beliefs.
People will fail to register much information to which they are exposed in memory, but tend to retain information that supports their attitudes and beliefs. Because of this attitude the customers are likely to remember good points about a product they like and forget good points about competing product. This type of retention again works to the advantage of strong brands. It also explains why marketers need to use repetition in sending messages to their target market â€“to make sure their message is not overlooked.