consumer's forecast. Finally, by understanding the criteria the consumer is likely to use during screening, the marketing strategist can formulate a pricing strategy that facilitates the consumer's perception of benefits received for effort expended and thereby enhance the product's chances of surviving the screening process. As evidenced by the foregoing examples, the opportunities for enhancing the practice of marketing through understanding image theory are almost unbounded. Similarly, for theoretical researchers in marketing, each of the foregoing represents a research proposition awaiting refinement.
Our goal in this chapter was to introduce the reader to the basic precepts of marketing strategy and illustrate the potential for using image theory to advance our understanding of the consumer decision making process. Because the intersection of these topics represents an area virtually devoid of research, we chose to explicate the opportunities by using a variety of examples. In summary, the overall objective in applying image theory to the formation of marketing communications strategies is to use the individual consumer's beliefs and values to develop a thorough understanding of his or her needs. Then the marketing strategist must instigate the development of goods and services that effectively satisfy those needs better than the currently available set of options. Once these solutions are developed, priced, and ready for distribution, the promotional strategy requires that the consumer's beliefs and values be incorporated into the marketing communications efforts so that the consumer can render an accurate judgment of the product or service's ability to effectively satisfy his or her needs. In each case, image theory represents an effective approach for enhancing consumers' abilities to make effective purchase decisions.
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