marketing and conditioningMarketing means conditioning the customers’ response. All firms consciously or unconsciously strive to condition their potential customers and the market. The term conditioning comes from behavioral theories of psychology, which means eliciting a specific response when the specific stimulus is present. Behaviorists established through different experiments that human responses to different situations are conditioned through the process of reinforcement.

The concept of conditioning is vital for marketing and branding professionals. Branding is part of marketing in which professionals undertake the task to condition the customers’ response. It is due to conditioning that customers respond differently to different products. For example, customers accept a high price if the product is manufactured by the well known firm but show resistance if a high price is asked by an unknown firm even though the quality is same. By virtue of conditioning, customers elicit a specific response to the products of specific firms.

Business firms purposely introduce their own brands name and logo as it is a process of conditioning the response of the customers. Thus brands and/or logos become a great asset for a company. Brands and logos are introduced which deem to be fit to the target market by the firms. Target market means a homogeneous group of customers to whom a company wishes to serve and appeal.

Marketing and branding reinforce the target market by outlining quality of the product, physical appearance, physical location and timings of supplying and pricing of a product. If a product varies, for example, in price or quality, frequently, it means providing a negative reinforcement, which will be hardly effective in conditioning the consumers’ response.

Pricing and quality are the two most crucial elements in conditioning the market. Frequent fluctuations in price and quality act as negative reinforcement, which can extinguish the established market response. Famous brands do reduce price of their products but without extinguishing the conditioned response. For example, they reduce price during the time of ‘special sales offers’, otherwise they do not sell at the lower price. It is important to note that it is easier for high price brand to lower the price, but it is harder for a cheap brand to raise its price. Thus pricing is very crucial factor in the process of branding. Pricing and quality play an important role in establishing the image of a product and a firm in the customers’ mind.

Following behavioral psychology, in short, it can be said that price, quality, packaging, location, advertising and display reinforce to condition a response of the customer. If marketing and branding strategies are followed according to the niche of the market a firm will see success, otherwise it will die.

 Nadeem Yousaf

31 July 2010

 Conditioning and Marketing