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Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior

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Published by: anuvat143 on Aug 30, 2009
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CONSUMER BEHAVIOR:THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MARKETINGIntroduction
The study of consumers helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as how
The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and selectbetween different alternatives (e.g., brands, products);
The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media);
The behavior of consumers while shopping or making othemarketing decisions;
Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processingabilities influence decisions and marketing outcome;
How consumer motivation and decision strategies differ betweenproducts that differ in their level of importance or interest thatthey entail for the consumer; and
How marketers can adapt and improve their marketingcampaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach theconsumer.One "official" definition of consumer behavior is "The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use toselect, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have onthe consumer and society." Although it is not necessary to memorizethis definition, it brings up some useful points:
Behavior occurs either for the individual, or in the context of agroup (e.g., friends influence what kinds of clothes a personwears) or an organization (people on the job make decisions asto which products the firm should use).
Consumer behavior involves the use and disposal of products aswell as the study of how they are purchased. Product use is oftenof great interest to the marketer, because this may influence howa product is best positioned or how we can encourage increasedconsumption. Since many environmental problems result fromproduct disposal (e.g., motor oil being sent into sewage systemsto save the recycling fee, or garbage piling up at landfills) this isalso an area of interest.
Consumer behavior involves services and ideas as well astangible products.
 
The impact of consumer behavior on society is also of relevance.For example, aggressive marketing of high fat foods, oaggressive marketing of easy credit, may have seriousrepercussions for the national health and economy.There are four main applications of consumer behavior:
The most obvious is for 
marketing strategy 
—i.e., for makingbetter marketing campaigns. For example, by understanding thatconsumers are more receptive to food advertising when they arehungry, we learn to schedule snack advertisements late in theafternoon. By understanding that new products are usuallyinitially adopted by a few consumers and only spread later, andthen only gradually, to the rest of the population, we learn that (1)companies that introduce new products must be well financed sothat they can stay afloat until their products become acommercial success and (2) it is important to please initialcustomers, since they will in turn influence many subsequentcustomers’ brand choices.
A second application is
 public policy 
. In the 1980s, Accutane, anear miracle cure for acne, was introduced. Unfortunately,Accutane resulted in severe birth defects if taken by pregnantwomen. Although physicians were instructed to warn their femalepatients of this, a number still became pregnant while taking thedrug. To get consumersattention, the Federal DrugAdministration (FDA) took the step of requiring that very graphicpictures of deformed babies be shown on the medicinecontainers.
Social marketing 
involves getting ideas across to consumersrather than selling something. Marty Fishbein, a marketingprofessor, went on sabbatical to work for the Centers for DiseaseControl trying to reduce the incidence of transmission of diseasesthrough illegal drug use. The best solution, obviously, would be if we could get illegal drug users to stop. This, however, wasdeemed to be infeasible. It was also determined that the practiceof sharing needles was too ingrained in the drug culture to bestopped. As a result, using knowledge of consumer attitudes, Dr.Fishbein created a campaign that encouraged the cleaning of needles in bleach before sharing them, a goal that was believedto be more realistic.
As a final benefit, studying consumer behavior should make usbetter consumers. Common sense suggests, for example, that if you buy a 64 liquid ounce bottle of laundry detergent, you shouldpay less per ounce than if you bought two 32 ounce bottles. Inpractice, however, you often pay a size
 premium
by buying the
 
larger quantity. In other words, in this case, knowing this fact willsensitize you to the need to check the unit cost labels todetermine if you are
really 
getting a bargain.There are several units in the market that can be analyzed. Our mainthrust in this course is the
consumer 
. However, we will also need toanalyze our own firms strengths and weaknesses and those of 
competing firms
. Suppose, for example, that we make a product aimedat older consumers, a growing segment. A competing firm that targetsbabies, a shrinking market, is likely to consider repositioning towardour market. To assess a competing firm’s potential threat, we need toexamine its assets (e.g., technology, patents, market knowledge,awareness of its brands) against pressures it faces from the market.Finally, we need to assess conditions (the marketing environment). For example, although we may have developed a product that offers greatappeal for consumers, a recession may cut demand dramatically.
is often needed to ensure that we produce whatcustomers really want and not what we
think 
they want.
Primary vs. secondary research methods
. There are two mainapproaches to marketing.
Secondary 
research involves usinginformation that others have already put together. For example, if youare thinking about starting a business making clothes for tall people,you don’t need to question people about how tall they are to find outhow many tall people exist—that information has already beenpublished by the U.S. Government.
Primary 
research, in contrast, isresearch that you design and conduct yourself. For example, you mayneed to find out whether consumers would prefer that your soft drinksbe sweater or tarter.Research will often help us
reduce risks
associated with a new product,but it
cannot take the risk away entirely 
. It is also important toascertain whether the research has been complete. For example,Coca Cola did a great deal of research prior to releasing the NewCoke, and consumers seemed to prefer the taste. However,consumers were
not 
prepared to have this drink replace traditionalCoke.
Secondary Methods
. For more information about secondary marketresearch tools and issues, please seehttp://buad307.com/PDF/Secondary.pdf .

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