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A favourite product, service, or organization (PSO): Piano sample essay

Introduction

Richard Clayderman, David Foster, and many other popular musicians have one thing in common; they have quality of playing a musical instrument; the piano. Piano is a popular instrument especially for private household ownership +among the middle and upper classes. Hence, pianos have gained a place in the popular awareness. A piano is one of the largest consumer purchases most people will ever make. Yet when we shop for a piano, we are up against a vast variety of brands, models, and styles, competing claims, and strange terminology.

Maybe for some people a piano is just a piano. It is an easy choice. They just need to pick the colour they want. On the other hand, a piano is a vehicle to release emotions, to discipline their self, to achieve tremendous joy, to work, to create. These are the people whose heads spin when shopping for a piano because it is difficult to use logic to make an emotional decision.

Most people are genuine, caring and careful. The more we know about pianos and the buying process, the easier it will be to trust what people are telling us. We will feel more comfortable if we ask for assurances. Reputable dealers, teachers, tuners and brokers will welcome our analysis.

Concerning the Piano product, this paper will discuss about the problem in the sales of Piano by using appropriate marketing theory to explain why the problem arises. In addition, we will also compare the Piano with other competing product.
Problem Statement

Despite the declining trend, the author sees that pianos in general have grown progressively larger and more powerful over the past couple of centuries, with thicker and heavier strings under higher tension. Just like a car, a piano is an investment. We should treat our purchase of a piano with at least as much care as we would in buying a car.

Nowadays, we heard that the piano industry is corrupt, run by dishonest people, who only engage in scandalous and disreputable selling methods. Need to be known that it is not true. The piano industry is an incredibly wonderful segment of the musical instrument industry. The people are fantastic, talented and very dedicated. Piano businesses must make a profit in order to operate.

In fact, regarding pianos, some people experience more traumas in selecting than in choosing a car, a house, or an oral surgeon. If we are a novice and feel we lack enough knowledge about pianos, do not hesitate to find someone who does to help inform us.

One of the most terrifying experiences for most pianists is purchasing a piano. The more advanced the pianist, the more important the response. How the piano reacts to the pianist’s touch describes response. Advanced pianists can and do overplay lesser quality pianos.

In addition to the changing economical and technological situation (the IT boom, the invention of electronic keyboard, the increasing inflation and fuel price that result in the increasing price of almost all consumer goods and many others), the other possible reason could be the reducing concerns on buying a piano.

A limitation of the research is that observation method does not involve direct interviews which will slightly reduce objectivity and the accuracy of information. We are retrieving more reliable data from experts’ analysis, journals and various publications from available media. Using the data resources above, we are hoping to present an independent and objective analysis toward the contemporary issue.

Recommendations of the future research include using the inputs from sellers and dealers of musical instrument using primary research about the changing consumer behaviour towards the purchase of a piano. To get the comprehensive picture, it had better that the future research use large sample size and including the opinions of economists and musicians in assessing the problem and suggesting appropriate solutions.
Research Objective
This paper intends to find out the underlying reasons that explain the declining number of sales of Piano in recent years
Using the non-participant observation method, collecting data and analyzing qualitative information from journal, books, magazine and other online materials, this paper is to conduct analysis of piano-purchase behaviour
In addition, the paper aims at finding suitable alternative technology substituting Piano as a music instrument.
Piano Product Description

Pianos are very individual instruments and, like shoes, one size does not necessarily fit all. Playing it for a few minutes will give you an idea of the action and sound. Consumers are bombarded with so many claims, graphs, color charts, misinformation and fancy words, from so many different sources. Their heads start to spin. It is no wonder the more one shops around for a piano, or whatever, the more confused one becomes.

If people are an aspiring artist or a professional musician, they should buy the finest piano built in their own estimation. That piano should have nothing less than complete artistic capabilities. The extra cost will not amount to much, and they will receive the extra benefit of owning and playing a piano of superior quality. Materials will affect the sound and longevity of a piano. However, do not base our final decision on purchasing a piano on materials alone (Fine, 2006).

If we know and trust the dealer, our only real concern is getting the model we want at the right price. If we do not know the dealer, it cannot hurt to take a piano tuner or a pianist along to advise us, even if it does hurt the dealer’s feeling.

To do so would probably require that high quality pianos cost two to three times what they do now, and they are already very expensive. The problem arises, though, when pianos arrive at customers’ homes in a state of adjustment far below the acceptable standard. Most people who are not experienced pianists, and even some who are, are not familiar enough with what should be expected, to know when there is a problem.

The development of musical instrument leads to the variety of Piano models and price. In general, there are two kinds of Piano: they are vertical pianos and horizontal pianos. Horizontal pianos are named after their model that has height and the strings position. In particular, the height of this piano model is about 36 to 60 inches (Figure 1). There are four types of vertical pianos; they are Spinet, Console, Studio, Upright (About.com, 2008).

Figure 1 43” Vertical Piano

Source: Wyman Piano Company. (2007).

Meanwhile, the horizontal pianos also refer to grand pianos, which named after their model that has length and their strings placement. Furthermore, there are 6 basic types of pianos; they are Petite Grand, Baby Grand, Medium Grand, Semi concert or Ballroom, and Concert Grand (About.com, 2008).

Figure 2 Pearl River 6’1″ Grand Piano

Source: Onofrio Piano Company. (2007)
Why Piano becomes My favourite

Piano become my favourite musical instrument due to the original sounds generated by the instrument and many great classical and pop musicians have great works when played by Piano. For example, works of J.S. Back, Mozart is well-produced when they are played by Piano solo. The condition is the same when I hear pop musician like Richard Clayderman or David Foster. Based on my favourite musicians, I choose Piano as my favourite product.
Comparison: Acoustic Piano vs. Keyboard (Electric Piano) Technical Considerations

The difference between digital piano and electronic piano is major about the technical issue of sounds producing. On an acoustic (“real”) piano, the key mechanism is hammer based, which means that there would be different sounds if a person differently plays the keys. If the person presses the keys hard (quick), it causes the hammer to hit the string strongly and will produce strong sounds. In contrast, if the key is pressed lightly, the hammer will hit the string mildly, causing a gentle sound (Lee, 2002).

Unlike the acoustic piano, the electronic piano is electronically produced, which means that the electric piano cannot differentiate the soft or hard press in the keys by the players. Whatever the players/musicians press the keys, the electric piano will produce the same sounds (Lee, 2002).
Non-Technical Considerations

In non-technical considerations, the use of electric piano usually for those who wants to master multiple instruments at the same time since it has several buttons to produce artificial instrument sound like drum, guitar, and also the background music. Meanwhile, Piano is dedicated for a person who wants to master the single instrument.
Piano Sales 2000-2004

Although the vast model of piano does not produce different the quality of produced sound so much, in the market, the vertical pianos model still become the most popular model, followed by grand and electric pianos.

Figure 3 Compositions of Piano Sales in 2000 – 2004

Sources: Giles Communications LLC. (2006).

Table 1 show that the sales of vertical pianos reach 50,000 units per year meanwhile the grand pianos reach 30,000 unit per annum.

Table 1 Sales History of Piano Since 1990s

Sources: Giles Communications LLC. (2006)

Table 2 Comparison of Piano Producers Competitive Advantage

Marketing Concept

Marketing is not limited to business situation. All of us are involved in marketing on a daily basis, whether we are applying for a new job, asking for a raise or trying to sell our old car. Marketing involves every aspect of business from the manufacturing of a product to actual point of sale (“How-To”, 2001):
Product Development & Manufacturing.
Promotion
Presentation
Pricing

One of marketing concept that explains the product offering is product life cycle that represents one essential element in the marketing mix; the product has a concept or terminology, which is known in marketing environment. The concept is called Product Life Cycle. In general, Product Life Cycle has four distinct stages where Pianos always experience:
Introduction Stages is a period of slow sales growth as the product is introduced in the market.
Growth Stage is a period of rapid market acceptance and increasing profits.
Maturity Stage is a period of slow down in sales growth because the product has achieved acceptance by most potential buyers. Profits level off or decline because of increased marketing outlays to defend the product against competition.
Decline Stage is the period when sales fall off and profits drop.

Figure 4 Product Life Cycle of Piano

Source: Internet Center for Management and Business Administration. 2004
Nature and Form of Results

Actually, buying pianos is very simple. All we need to know is our price range, the features we want, and the manufacturer. On the other hand, if we are buying electronic piano, it is easier. We do not need an experienced piano technician to help us evaluate the piano. I think that more people buy on appearance than anything else does. If we see a piano that is beautiful on the outside, this does not mean that the inside will match in terms of quality.

Logically speaking, it would be prohibitively expensive for a piano manufacturer to spend all the extra time devoted to the person’s instruments on a piano that was not intended for such critical use, or where the person ultimately buying the piano may not appreciate or even notice all the additional effort and expense (Fine, Larry).

When we want to go piano shopping, go to a store that has a reputation for reliability in our community. Look with suspicion upon one that is constantly advertising bargains. The salesperson, if a professional may ask us several questions before he or she even attempts to show or demonstrate any piano. Do not resent this. They are simply trying to help us select the best piano adapted to our purse and purpose. He or she may ask us if we have children who will be expected to study the piano. They may want to know the approximate size of our living room (Viewing and Purchasing an Upright Piano).

We need to know that a piano is expensive to purchase but as has been pointed out, a keyboard is not an optimal substitute for this instrument. One solution would be renting a piano. Many music stores listed in the yellow pages offer this service (Viewing and Purchasing an Upright Piano).

People also must consider the beauty of what they see, the beauty of what they hear, and the value of their investment. The final answer to each of these considerations depends largely on each personal situation.

Reference:

About.com. (2008). The Piano. Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://musiced.about.com/od/beginnersguide/a/pianotypes.htm

Fine, Larry. (2006). Looking for a Piano (Or Zen and the Art of Piano Buying). Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://216.109.125.130/search/cache?p=less+people+buying+piano&prssweb=Search&ei=UTF-8&fr=FP-tab-web-t&x=wrt&u=www.jwpepper.com/catalog/art_PaBuyPbookFine15.jsp&w=less+people+buying+piano&d=YhcKEW1aMPml&icp=1&.intl=us

Giles Communications LLC. (2006). U.S. Piano Sales History. Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://www.pianonet.com/saleshist.htm
How –To Understand Marketing. The How-To Network. Retrieved February 24, 2008 from

Internet Center for Management and Business Administration. (2004). The Product Life Cycle. Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/product/lifecycle/

Lee, Xah. (2002). Piano keyboard actions: Acoustic vs. Modern Weighted. Retrieved February 23, 2008 from http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/piano_action1.html

Onofrio Piano Company. (2007). Pearl River. Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://www.onofriopiano.com/Onofrio_PearlRiver_Piano.htm

PIANO SALES. (2005). Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:KmGHytxxtb8J:www.winchesterpianos.co.uk/sales.html+Why+are+less+people+buying+new+pianos+nowadays%3F&hl=id&gl=id&ct=clnk&cd=6

RECENT MARKET FACTS. Retrieved February 20, 2008 from http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/basics.htm

Wyman Piano Company. (2007). Vertical Pianos. Retrieved February 22, 2008 from http://www.wymanpiano.com/gallery/gimages/wv110chy.jpg

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