Tradition Meets Technology: Can Mass Customization Succeed in China?

Kun Song
Advertising Research Foundation

Ann Marie Fiore
Iowa State University

INTRODUCTION

The marketing process is concerned with determining the needs and wants of target markets and satisfying consumers more effectively and efficiently than competitors (Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders, and Wong, 1996). Market segmentation represents a rationale approach that adjusts product and marketing efforts to the requirements of separate market segments.

It is assumed that consumers within each segment have similar needs and wants and, therefore, can be treated with standard products and services. This approach has been challenged as the demands from the market have become fragmented and consumers have required more complete responses to their needs and wants (Kotha, 1995; Webster, 1996). An emerging alternative to segmentation is mass customization, in which each consumer is viewed as a segment and provided with individualized products and services priced comparable with mass production (Gilmore and Pine, 1997; Pine, 1993).