CHAPTER 4

What Is a Concept?

“How satisfied are customers with our service?” “We want to exceed our customers’ expectations.” “We need to discover what is important to our customers.” “Are our customers more loyal than our competitors’ customers?” “We need to improve our product quality.”

How can we as marketers answer these questions if the concepts in the questions—satisfaction, expectations, importance—are vague or ambiguous? Your first thought is likely to associate the term concept with the words “things” or “ideas.” For example, “loyalty” and “satisfaction” are ideas. A “customer” and “products” are “things.” But this begs the following questions: “What is an idea? What is a thing?”

In a broader sense, “concepts” encompass “things” and ...

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