Consumer Behavior Audit - Salem, MA (USA)

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2005

41 Pages, Grade: 1.0 (A in the USA)


Table of Contents:

Executive Summary

I Market Segmentation
A. External influences
B. Internal influences
C. Situational influences
D. Decision process influences

II Product Position
A. Internal influences
B. Decision process influences

III Pricing
A. External influences
B. Internal influences
C. Situational influences
D. Decision process factors

IV Distribution Strategy
A. External influences
B. Internal influences
C. Situational influences
D. Decision process factors

V Promotion Strategy
A. External factors
B. Internal Factors
C. Situational influences
D. Decision process influences

VI Product
A. External influences
B. Internal influences
C. Situational influences
D. Decision process influences

VII Customer Satisfaction and Commitment Summary of Recommendations

Executive Summary

Salem is a destination for about 800,000 people each year.[1] This city has a deep history, which goes back into the 17th century and is famous for its legendary witch trials. Most people know Salem from this perspective and associate it with a historical and cultural heritage.

In addition to its historical events, Salem has much more to offer. In particular, the newly restored Peabody Essex Museum, the House of Seven Gables, an engaging seaport past, etc. are remarkable and unique places to visit. However, most tourists come during the Halloween events and stay away for the rest of the year.

Nonetheless, Salem is also internationally a known city. It should only be promoted including its true values and real heritage. Its image should be enriched and revived in order to get more consumers over the whole year.

The following consumer audit will determine potential target markets for Salem, and emphasize on particular one, which should be addressed during the next campaign. One particular target audience, which had been neglected over the years by most marketers will turn out to be the most attractive to choose. Its expenditure and consumption behavior will be studied and the decision process discussed.

The product itself, its positioning, distribution, and post purchase factors will be emphasized and brought into an association with the selected target audience.

Finally, a summary of recommendation will finish this paper.

I Market Segmentation

E. External influences

1. Are there cultures or subcultures whose value system is particularly consistent (or inconsistent) with the consumption of our product?

- Wicca community could be considered as a subculture, which is consistent with the value system of Salem. This subculture is steadily growing.[2] There are an estimated of 50,000 Wiccans in the United States[3]. Steve Wohlberg, in his book the Hour of the Witch, was the first to state the conclusion that Wicca would emerge as the third largest faith in America and would directly challenge Christian ideals of church and state.[4] There is even a witch school online.[5]

- Harry Potter fan community could be considered as another subculture that has similar values to Salem. In particular, the witches tradition and atmosphere could serve Harry Potter fans for meetings. In fact, I have recently found that the second Harry Potter Symposium will take place in October 2005 in Salem, Massachusetts.[6]

In Massachusetts there is a Harry Potter fan community called Snitchseeker online community (, which includes over 50,000 members.

- International people are often interested in culture, architecture, history and entertainment. Salem could serve this segment very well, because it offers historical and cultural environment and adventure. In fact, Salem has a lot of international tourist, which probably come through the whole year.[7]

2. Is our product appropriate for male or female consumption? Will ongoing gender-role changes affect who consumes our product or how it is consumed?

- I don’t think there is a difference between male and female consumers for our product.
- The population in State Massachusetts consists of 48.2 percent male and 51.8 percent female habitants. This doesn’t show anything unusual.

3. Do ethnic, social, regional, or religious subcultures have different consumption patterns relevant to our product?

In Massachusetts live:

- 84.5 percent White people
- 6.8 percent Hispanic or Latino
- 5.4 percent Black or African American
- 0.2 percent Asian
- 4.6 percent Two or more races
- 3.2 percent Some other race

Hispanic and Latino market have more children than the average American[8] and therefore it is also a relevant and potential target market for Salem. Their lifestyle and consumption patterns are different, but behaves positively in regards to our product. In particular, this group is family-oriented, which would perfectly fit when promoting Salem as the “Family weekend destination”.

- Salem is often the destination for school field trips. Teachers and school kids should be considered as loyal customers of Salem. This market segment will be likely visit Salem museums such as the Salem Wax Museum of Witches and Seafarers, Salem Witch Village, North Shore Children’s Museum, etc.
- International visitors is another segment that is important. Additionally, tourist from foreign countries will be likely to spend several days in Salem as they are on vacation. They will be interested in Salem as the “whole package”, possibly including Boston, as well.
- The wiccan community will most likely want to meet in groups and will visit Salem because of the witch trials and its history.
- Harry Potter fans will primarily visit the witch museums and meet in groups in order to exchange their thoughts/ideas. In addition, they could be entertained with special events, shows, exhibitions, etc.
- Salem as the destination for families with children will offer different places to go. In particular, grandparents should be considered as potential Salem customers (will be discussed below).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

4. Do various demographic or social-strata groups (age, gender, urban/suburban/rural, occupation, income, education) differ in their consumption of our product?

- Age is not so much of an issue here. Children (6-13 years old) would be strong potential customers, as well as elder people emphasizing retirees (55 and older).

- Gender is not an issue at all.

- White-collar couples may visit a domestic area more likely and go for a long-weekend trip with its children.[9]

- Salem could target high to middle-income families for “stay-over night” trips.

- Because of their education level, people with a College degree would be most likely interested in cultural and historical places.

5. Is our product particularly appropriate for consumers with relatively high (or low) incomes compared to others in their occupational group (ROCI)?

- Consumers with relatively low incomes would probably not be able to afford the expenses for a trip to Salem, including travel costs, food, tickets, etc.

- Consumers with relatively high income would be appropriate to target as they have the financial power. However, middle income consumers should be also included into the target audience, as the cost for the product is not too high and usually a large consumer group would be able to afford it. (Price/Cost issues will be discussed in the appropriate chapter of this audit.)

6. Can our product be particularly appropriate for specific roles, such as students or professional women?

Salem could appeal to specific roles, such as:

- Children and School kids: They are the actual initiators and influencers, and therefore could play a major role.
- Teachers: One the one hand, could be seen as the influencers, too. On the other hand, they could be the actual decision makers, who promote Salem as a class trip destination.
- Parents: Play a major role here, as well. In this situation they are decision makers, purchasers, and users.
- Grandparents: Could play a number of roles. First, they could be the initiators and influencers (take their grandchildren to Salem). Second, they could be the decision makers and purchasers (grandchildren would be the influencers in this case). Third, they would be also the users (they have time and money).

7. Would it be useful to focus on specific adopter categories?

From my point of view the adopter categories do not fit into this specific product category. The problem is that we are dealing here with a non-tangible product category, which cannot provide any functional innovations, etc. I don’t think it would be useful for Salem.

8. Do groups in different stages of the household life cycle have different consumption patterns for our product? Who in the household is involved in the purchase process?

I think that stages of the household life cycle will show different consumption patterns. The relevant stages could be as follows:[10]

- Full Nest I consumers: Young married with children under 6 years old. They are changing their lifestyle. They don’t have a lot of money, because most women stay at home or work part-time during the first years. They have to change their choices of vacation and restaurants to accommodate young children. Therefore should be considered as current or at least future potential segment for Salem.
- Delayed Full Nest I consumers: Older Married with young children (under 6 years old). This household life cycle stage has more money to spend and therefore should be considered as the potential future segment.
- Salem could also appeal to the Full Nest II consumers: Middle-aged married with children over 6 years old. At this age children are desired target market for companies. With 8 years they are considered to be in a period of concrete where they develop to apply logical thought to concrete problems operations.[11] They become influencers and also decision makers. Additionally, middle-aged married have enough spending power.
- Single Parent II: Middle-aged single with children at home. This stage is facing financial pressures. Mostly, both parents don’t have enough time for his/her child and feel guilty. They tend to replace this with gifts, short trips, etc.
- Empty Nest II: Older married couples. Most of them are fully or partially retired, financially well positioned, have time. They increasingly take their grandchildren on vacations and spend a lot of time and money on them
- The parent typically makes the actual purchase. For a weekend trip to Salem both parents (mother and father) or grandparents would actually make the final decision. The initiators and the influencers would be the children. Please see more details in the previous question A6.

F. Internal influences

1. Can our product satisfy different needs or motives in different people? What needs are involved? What characterizes individuals with differing motives?

- Our product will not serve as a status symbol. Rather, the consumer decision will affect the general social welfare of Salem.[12] However, I am not convinced that this will satisfy consumer motives or needs.
- Specific subcultures, such as the Wiccans, would be able to associate themselves with the city and could become loyal visitors.
- Harry Potter fans would be able to satisfy the need of going to the “witch city” – somewhere special and historical.

2. Is our product uniquely suited for particular personality types? Self-concepts?

- People who strive for self-actualization (Maslow’s Need Hierarchy). They might be interested in history, architecture, arts. They are creative, intellectual, open-minded.
- Thinkers, Experiencers and Innovators would be the VALS Types that would best fit into our category.[13]
- People who value history, arts, architecture, and knowledge. (Mostly elder people)

3. What emotions, if any, are affected by the purchase and/or consumption of this product?

I feel that it is difficult to talk about emotions, because they should be associated with the different market segments. Depending on what target market is the most appropriate to choose, the emotions could be slightly different. Therefore, I think that each market segment will include different objectives and expectations (as mentioned above) and therefore will have different emotions towards Salem as the destination.

- Arousal is the primary dimension that would reflect Salem as the destination. The associated emotions could be: Interest, Activation, Involvement and Surgency.[14]
- Additional emotions could include Excitement (Feeling of vacation), Joy and Faith. This reflects the other dimension – the Pleasure.
- Negative emotions about Salem’s history could also arise, such as Sadness, Fear, Shame, and Disgust. This emotions would be associated with the third dimension, the Dominance.

4. Is our product appropriate for one or more distinct lifestyles?

- VALS Segments have been mentioned above
- People who are innovative, curious, sophisticated, consider themselves as intellectual, are interested in history, arts and culture. This market segment would mirror someone who is “open-minded and cultural oriented”
- People who love traveling, exploring new interesting places. They want to be entertained and have fun.
- I feel that the following four PRIZM Segment Snapshots could be considered as potential target segments for Salem:[15]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten * Kids & Cul-de-Sacs: Upscale, suburban, married couples with children. With a high rate of Hispanic and Asian Americans, this segment is a refuge for college-educated, white-collar professionals with administrative jobs and upper-middle-class incomes. Their nexus of education, affluence and children translates into large outlays for child-centered products and services.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten * Upward Bound: More than any other segment, Upward Bound appears to be the home of those legendary Soccer Moms and Dads. In these small satellite cities, upper-class families boast dual incomes, college degrees and new split-levels and colonials. Residents of Upward Bound tend to be kid-obsessed, with heavy

purchases of computers, action figures, dolls, board games, bicycles and camping equipment.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten* Blue Chip Blues: Blue-Chip Blues is known as a comfortable lifestyle for young, sprawling families with well-paying blue-collar jobs. Ethnically diverse - with a significant presence of Hispanics and African-Americans - the segment’s aging neighborhoods feature compact, modestly priced homes surrounded by commercial centers that cater to child-filled households.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten * Gray Power: The steady rise of older, healthier Americans over the past decade has produced one important by-product: middle-class, home-owning suburbanites who are aging in place rather than moving to retirement communities. Gray Power reflects this trend, a segment of older, midscale singles and couples who live in quiet comfort.

5. Do different groups have different attitudes about an ideal version of our product?

Absolutely! There are ones who focus only on Salem history, in particularly the witch trials. Others consider the diversity of Salem including the seaport, architecture, Peabody Essex Museum, etc.

G. Situational influences

1. Can our product be appropriate for specific types of situations instead of (or in addition to) specific types of people?

- It could happen that people or families who are coming to Salem to see the witch trial related museums explore other unexpected places, in particular richness of architecture, House of Seven Gables, the Peabody Essex Museum, etc.
- People who come only for one day to Salem will possibly find out that the city has much more to offer. Some of them will possibly come again and stay longer.
- Also situational consumption would be if some friends asked you go with them together to Salem. The tagline could sound: “Come with me to Salem!” – This expresses sociability and community. Everyone likes the feeling to belong somewhere, or be invited to a special party.

H. Decision process influences

1. Do different individuals use different evaluative criteria in selecting the product?

I think, they do. In particular, their motivations and interests may differ considerably.

- The “Culture and History Freaks” will more likely consider aspects such as diversity, originality and condition of the places in Salem, as well as guided tours.
- Families with children will be more likely interested in attractions, entertainment offerings, and convenience. Especially, they will consider ticket prices, restaurant types, available bathrooms, parking places, etc.
- Elderly people will expect convenience, good service, security, good food, other interesting people and places.

2. Do potential customers differ in their loyalty to existing products/brands?

Customers that will be able to share their own values with Salem will be most likely satisfied, because their expectations will be met. Therefore, these customers will be more loyal than others who are not satisfied. Though, I think, satisfaction is very objective.

Determining the target market:

- Salem is more than one day destination
- Salem is rich in diversity and besides witch history it has to offer rich Federal-period architecture, arts, culture, seaport, house of seven gables famous by the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, renovated Peabody Essex Museum, and much more.

Based on the facts I feel that there are several market segments that Salem as the destination would appeal to. However, I think the strongest one is, and I call it the “The Gray Power of Thinkers & Experiencers” target market, on which I will focus in the rest of the audit.

This segment consists of people who are age 55 or older, are aiming at retirement or are already retired, have time and money and are still in energy to do things. They are interested in history, culture, arts, and architecture. However, they also love to spend time with their grandchildren and like to take them on vacation and long-weekend trips. Their own children are professionals, hard-working individuals, which have not enough time for longer trips. Salem is offering both, fun for kids (witch museums, etc.), and fun for seniors (history, culture, convenience, etc.).


[1] More than witches in Salem, Mass., 2004.

[2] More than witches in Salem, Mass., 2004.

[3] 43,941 adherent statistic citations, 2005.

[4] Michaels, 2005.

[5] Your Online Wicca and Magical Education.

[6] Harry Potter Symposium, 2005.

[7] Oehlkers, P. during class discussion.

[8] Bernstein, 2005.

[9] Hawkins et al, 2004, p.203.

[10] Hawkins et al, 2004.

[11] Hawkins, 2004, p. 210.

[12] Hawkins et al, 2004, p. 26.

[13] The VALS Segments, 2005.

[14] Hawkins et al, 2004.

[15] PRIZMne, 2003.

Excerpt out of 41 pages


Consumer Behavior Audit - Salem, MA (USA)
Emerson College  (Marketing Communications)
Consumer Behavior
1.0 (A in the USA)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
941 KB
This is a final paper for Consumer Behavior Class for a Graduate Program in Integrated Marketing Communications. Double spaced
Consumer, Behavior, Audit, Salem, Consumer, Behavior
Quote paper
Vita Bataitis (Author), 2005, Consumer Behavior Audit - Salem, MA (USA), Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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