Technologicaladvancement coupled with the emergence of the information ageaffected nearly all aspects of human life. The fields of marketingand customers’ buying decision were not exceptions. According toSimonson & Rosen (2014) prior to the information age, customersmade their buying decisions using relative information (such as apast experience with the company, list of prices, band name, andother pieces of information displayed by the marketer on thecatalogue). However, the discovery of the internet and its extensiveintegration in the business works has availed too much of informationto an extent that customers have other factors to consider other thanthe brand. This brings about the concept of absolute versus relativevalues.
Thediscovery of the internet has increased the customers’ access toinformation about the product of their choice, which has allowed themto make the buying decision based on specific knowledge about theproduct. This has resulted in a shift from the tendency to make thebuying decisions relative to other things to the tendency of makingdecisions based on the experienced quality of particular products(Simonson & Rosen, 2014). This represents a shift from relativevalue to absolute value. There are three major features of this shiftfrom the primitive ways of marketing and making the buying decisions.First, the internet allows consumers to make online reviews, whichhave increased the transparency of brands (Vinjamuri, 2014). This hasreduced the capacity of marketers to disassociate the product fromthe brand. This is more common in categories of high interest (suchas automobiles and electronics) where consumers have nearly a fullaccess to experts’ reviews as well as reviews from other consumers.Consequently, consumers are able to shift their loyalty away from theproduct if it does not meet their expectations without consideringthe relative value of the product.
Secondly,consumers in the information age have a tendency of trusting reviewsfrom the experts and other like-minded consumers more than thepersuasive information placed on the catalogues. According toVinjamuri (2014) online reviews about the product, especially thosethat are posted by other consumers who have some experience with theproduct are more persuasive to potential customers who believe thatreviews give accurate information about the product quality andattributes. This is consistent with the concept of absolute value asexplained by Simonson & Rosen (2014), which refers to the valueof a specific product that is perceived by a specific consumer andthat consumers can determine the value independently by reading theavailable reviews.
Third,brand marketing in the contemporary world should include a dialectbetween the consumer and the brand. Based on the notion of absolutevalues explained by Simonson & Rosen (2014), a mere brandposition that focuses on reframing and recasting the flawed productin a positive context will fail in the world that is characterized byeasy access to consumer reviews. Therefore, product design should beintegrated into the marketing feedback process and brand building inorder to ensure that the product address all concerns raised by theconsumers.
Inconclusion, the discovery of the internet and its extensive use inthe business world have contributed towards a nearly access toinformation about different products by consumers. Most importantly,customers and experts are able to post their reviews of differentproducts in online sites. This gives potential customers anopportunity to make their buying decision on the basis of theabsolute information they have about specific products instead ofusing relying on relative information.
Simonson,I. & Rosen, E. (2014). Absolutevalue: What really influences consumers in the age of (Nearly)perfect information? NewYork: HarperBusiness.
Vinjamuri,D. (2014). CRM reads: Absolute value, what really influencescustomers in the age of (Nearly) perfect information. Forbes.Retrieved September 1, 2014, fromhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2014/02/11/cmo-reads-absolute-value-what-really-influences-customers-in-the-age-of-nearly-perfect-information/