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Marketing Study: Purchasing Gps

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1. What were the motivations/needs which led you to purchase this product? (Discuss both the obvious and the not-so-obvious underlying motivations. Consider whether you can apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs.)

This past Christmas I purchased a GPS unit for my longtime girlfriend, Caroline. The primary motivation being that Caroline is not from the area, and has a tendency to get lost. Purchasing a GPS unit would save us both time and aggravation (more on that later). There are also a number of not-so-obvious motivations behind this purchase, such as safety gained by not reading directions while driving, and the need for me to purchase a Christmas present.

This purchase can be applied to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, specifically safety, social, and personal needs. Currently, Caroline drives tentatively when she is lost, while trying to follow printed directions. A GPS device fulfills the need of safety; Caroline can type in the destination, and then follow turn-by-turn audio directions. Social needs are a consideration because as a society, we need to drive and we need to purchase Christmas presents. As a personal need a GPS device is a status symbol, although as GPS devices become more widespread the significance as a status symbol is diminished.

2. Discuss the steps in your buying-decision process: - need recognition, identification of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives (overall products and specific brands), decision, postpurchase behavior

Need recognition presented itself last October when one day at my desk, I received a call from Caroline. Caroline was lost, frustrated, and in need of directions. This wasn't the first such incident, and I found myself thinking "I should just get her a GPS unit." With Christmas around the corner, I quickly began my search for the right product.

GPS units are not entirely new to me, mostly because my team from the last module chose to open a TomTom call center. Due to an alternative evaluation performed for our project, I knew that the major players in the GPS unit industry are TomTom and Garmin. I wanted to purchase a stable brand with reliable support, so my consideration set consisted of TomTom and Garmin.

GPS units are heavily dependent on street data for accurate and efficient directions. I researched the data networks for both TomTom and Garmin. I discovered, from a few sources, that the street data on the Garmin network (provided by NavTek) is more complete than the street data on the TomTom network (by TeleAtlas). As a software engineer for a company that provides ambulance routing, I have worked directly with TeleAtlas (TomTom) street data. In my experience, TeleAtlas is sometimes incomplete. This was a positive for Garmin, although for all I know Garmin data might be just as bad, if not worse. I read it was better than TomTom's, and I knew TomTom's data isn't perfect.

There are a few websites on which I post, and on one I requested information from users with a GPS unit. Most of those that replied had a Garmin, and were very happy with their purchase. A few respondents had a TomTom, and they liked it fine, but I didn't sense the same enthusiasm.

I continued the information seeking by performing price comparisons on well-known retail websites. I analyzed which sites were the cheapest, and then compared prices between brands. This proved difficult, because each brand has many models with varying feature sets. After taking note of features available, I decided which features were most important to me, placing the greatest weight on text-to-speech (street names in audio directions). I compared a few different models from Garmin and TomTom that met my requirements. I found that TomTom units were slightly cheaper, but I located a Garmin that was marked down considerably. The Garmin unit priced a bit higher than a similar TomTom unit, but had the added bonus of real-time traffic rerouting and hands-free Bluetooth dialing. With these additional features, superior street data, and a highly competitive price Garmin became my purchasing decision.

After my purchase, I saw a TomTom commercial announcing $100 off any product on their website, and I wondered if I should have bought a TomTom. Cognitive dissonance is also present because the real-time traffic rerouting and blue tooth capabilities have yet to be utilized. However, Caroline is having an easier time finding her way around. There were a few problems at the start with getting used to the device, but for the most part the unit is behaving as expected. We used the GPS unit in Utah for vacation,



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