Consumer behavior involves the psychological processes that consumers go through in recognizing needs, finding ways to solve these needs, making purchase decisions (e.g., whether or not to purchase a product and, if so, which brand and where), interpret information, make plans, and implement these plans (e.g., by engaging in comparison shopping or actually purchasing a product). One "official" definition of consumer behavior is "The study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society." Although it is not necessary to memorize this definition, it brings up some useful points: The study of consumers helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as how y y y y y The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e.g., brands, products); The 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 other marketing decisions; Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities influence decisions and marketing outcome; How consumer motivation and decision strategies differ between products that differ in their level of importance or interest that they entail for the consumer; and
How marketers can adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.
Application of Consumer Behaviour
There are four main applications of consumer behavior: y The most obvious is for marketing strategy³i.e., for making better marketing campaigns. For example, by understanding that consumers are more receptive to food advertising when they are hungry, we learn to schedule snack advertisements late in the afternoon. By understanding that new products are usually initially adopted by a few consumers and only spread later, and then only gradually, to the rest of the population, we learn that (1) companies that introduce new products must be well financed so that they can stay afloat until
knowing this fact will sensitize you to the need to check the unit cost labels to determine if you are really getting a bargain. in contrast. Primary vs. you often pay a size premium by buying the larger quantity. As a final benefit.S. a near miracle cure for acne. For example. Dr. The best solution. Fishbein created a campaign that encouraged the cleaning of needles in bleach before sharing them. was deemed to be infeasible. using knowledge of consumer attitudes. a number still became pregnant while taking the drug. you don·t need to question people about how tall they are to find out how many tall people exist³that information has already been published by the U. Social marketing involves getting ideas across to consumers rather than selling something. however. you should pay less per ounce than if you bought two 32 ounce bottles.
Consumer Research Methods
Market research is often needed to ensure that we produce what customers really want and not what we think they want. Although physicians were instructed to warn their female patients of this. studying consumer behavior should make us better consumers. y A second application is public policy. in this case. was introduced. There are two main approaches to marketing. In practice. Common sense suggests. Marty Fishbein. Secondary research involves using information that others have already put together. In the 1980s. since they will in turn influence many subsequent customers· brand choices. that if you buy a 64 liquid ounce bottle of laundry detergent. if you are thinking about starting a business making clothes for tall people.
. Accutane resulted in severe birth defects if taken by pregnant women. obviously. As a result. is research that you design and conduct yourself. secondary research methods. Unfortunately. This. For example.their products become a commercial success and (2) it is important to please initial customers. It was also determined that the practice of sharing needles was too ingrained in the drug culture to be stopped. Government. would be if we could get illegal drug users to stop. for example. Primary research. a goal that was believed to be more realistic. Accutane. To get consumers· attention. In other words. a marketing professor. went on sabbatical to work for the Centers for Disease Control trying to reduce the incidence of transmission of diseases through illegal drug use. the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) took the step of requiring that very graphic pictures of deformed babies be shown on the medicine containers. you may need to find out whether consumers would prefer that your soft drinks be sweater or tarter. however.
It is also important to ascertain whether the research has been complete. If the focus remains fixed throughout an ad sequence where the interesting and active part area changes.
Primary Methods. the more flexible and less precise method³such as focus groups and/or individual
.. Although an interviewer is looking to get at the truth. Online research methods. mail questionnaires. phone surveys. observation. and consumers seemed to prefer the taste. However. ´In which city and state were you born? ____________µ) or closed-ended. he or she is likely either not to be paying as much attention as desired or to be confused by an overly complex sequence. Scanner data. and focus groups.g. and thus.S. For example. Many consumers are members of supermarket ´clubs. consumers were not prepared to have this drink replace traditional Coke.. Physiological measures are occasionally used to examine consumer response. Projective techniques are inherently inefficient to use.. Projective techniques are used when a consumer may feel embarrassed to admit to certain opinions. advertisers may want to measure a consumer·s level of arousal during various parts of an advertisement. where the respondent is asked to select answers from a brief list (e. This can be used to assess possible discomfort on the negative side and level of attention on the positive side. we can track whether the respondent is following the sequence intended.g. if more than one type of research is to be used.µ Open ended questions have the advantage that the respondent is not limited to the options listed. By attaching a tiny camera to plain eye glasses worn by the subject while watching an advertisement. Personal interviews are highly susceptible to inadvertent ´signalingµ to the respondent. The elaborate context that has to be put into place takes time and energy away from the main question. we can assess whether this movement is going in the intended direction. ´__Male ___ Female. Looking at how consumers select products may yield insights into how they make decisions and what they look for.Research will often help us reduce risks associated with a new product. and that the respondent is not being influenced by seeing a list of responses. In situations where the subject·s eyes do move.. it is possible to determine where on screen or other ad display the subject focuses at any one time. If he or she is not. Several tools are available to the market researcher³e. For example.µ In return for signing p for a card and presenting this when making purchases. Surveys are useful for getting a great deal of specific information. he or she may have a significant interest in a positive consumer response. online research provides new opportunity and has increased in use. feelings.g. or preferences. The Internet now reaches the great majority of households in the U. Research sequence. but it cannot take the risk away entirely. In general. many older executives may not be comfortable admitting to being intimidated by computers. consumers are often eligible for considerable discounts on selected products. For example. Surveys can contain open-ended questions (e. Coca Cola did a great deal of research prior to releasing the New Coke.
Observation of consumers is often a powerful tool.
The explanation of these factors is given below. subculture.000+ responses. because the sample sizes are small and because participants in a focus group are influenced by each other. then he selects only those commodities that promise greater utility. there are various other factors influencing the purchases of consumer such as social.interviews³should generally be used before the less flexible but more precise methods (e. are highly inflexible. We might conclude. Focus groups and interviews are flexible and allow the researcher to follow up on interesting issues raised by participants who can be probed.g. purchase and consumption of goods and services for the satisfaction of their wants. say. It is not possible to ask follow-up questions. 17-21%. Even if we assume that these are independent. the consumer analyzes the prevailing prices of commodities and takes the decision about the commodities he should consume. we would have a total of forty responses. There are different processes involved in the consumer behavior. personal and psychological. Therefore. Subculture
. 1. in contrast. The influence of culture on buying behavior varies from country to country therefore marketers have to be very careful in analyzing the culture of different groups. This is usually no more precise than what we already reasonably new. regions or even countries. Meanwhile. for example. Questionnaires. few data points are collected. surveys and scanner data) are used. and social class. Lastly. that somewhere between 5% and 40% of the target market would be interested in the product we have to offer. a range that is much more meaningful. the consumer makes an estimate of the available money which he can spend. culture is the part of every society and is the important cause of person wants and behavior. After selecting the commodities. Cultural Factors Consumer behavior is deeply influenced by cultural factors such as: buyer culture. a sample size of forty would give very imprecise results..
Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior refers to the selection. Culture Basically. Initially the consumer tries to find what commodities he would like to consume. If we run five focus groups with eight people each. we can use our insights from focus groups and interviews to develop questionnaires that contain specific questions that can be asked to a larger number of people. for example. However. but with a sample size of 1. cultural. There will still be some sampling error. we may be able to narrow the 95% confidence interval for the percentage of the target market that is seriously interested in our product to.
For example marketers can design products according to the needs of a particular geographic group. economic situation. wife and children. Therefore her buying decisions will be influenced by her role and status. For example a woman is working in an organization as finance manager. family. Personal Factors Personal factors can also affect the consumer behavior. Therefore marketers are trying to find the roles and influence of the husband. clubs. car etc then the influence of reference groups will be high. organization etc. one of finance manager and other of mother.
. Reference Groups Reference groups have potential in forming a person attitude or behavior. The important social factors are: reference groups. Social Factors Social factors also impact the buying behavior of consumers. to which he belongs. Social Class Every society possesses some form of social class which is important to the marketers because the buying behavior of people in a given social class is similar. knowledge or other characteristics). personality and self concept. family. If the buying decision of a particular product is influenced by wife then the marketers will try to target the women in their advertisement. Family Buyer behavior is strongly influenced by the member of a family. For example if the product is visible such as dress. age. education. Reference groups also include opinion leader (a person who influences other because of his special skill. In this way marketing activities could be tailored according to different social classes. The impact of reference groups varies across products and brands. role and status. Some of the important personal factors that influence the buying behavior are: lifestyle. occupation etc. racial groups etc. geographic regions. Here we should note that buying roles change with change in consumer lifestyles. 3. Here we should note that social class is not only determined by income but there are various other factors as well such as: wealth. 2. Roles and Status Each person possesses different roles and status in the society depending upon the groups. occupation. Marketers can use these groups by segmenting the market into various small portions. Now she is playing two roles. nationalities. shoes.Each culture contains different subcultures such as religions.
Therefore it can greatly influence the buying behavior of customers. 4. Age Age and life-cycle have potential impact on the consumer buying behavior. social needs etc. It is determined by customer interests. activities etc and shapes his whole pattern of acting and interacting in the world. It is obvious that the consumers change the purchase of goods and services with the passage of time. For example a marketing manager of an organization will try to purchase business suits. rather it is the totality of behavior of a man in different circumstances. On the other hand. Economic Situation Consumer economic situation has great influence on his buying behavior. opinions. Lifestyle Lifestyle of customers is another import factor affecting the consumer buying behavior. time to time and place to place. Motivation The level of motivation also affects the buying behavior of customers. motivation. Actually. Personality Personality changes from person to person. If the income and savings of a customer is high then he will purchase more expensive products. The nature of the needs is that. beliefs and attitudes. Personality is not what one wears. aggressiveness. whereas a low level worker in the same organization will purchase rugged work clothes. Therefore a need becomes a motive when it is more pressing to direct the person to seek satisfaction. a person with low income and savings will purchase inexpensive products.
. Lifestyle refers to the way a person lives in a society and is expressed by the things in his/her surroundings. It has different characteristics such as: dominance. some of them are most pressing while others are least pressing. Every person has different needs such as physiological needs. These are: perception. learning. married couples. self-confidence etc which can be useful to determine the consumer behavior for particular product or service. biological needs. Family life-cycle consists of different stages such young singles. unmarried couples etc which help marketers to develop appropriate products for each stage. Occupation The occupation of a person has significant impact on his buying behavior. Psychological Factors There are four important psychological factors affecting the consumer buying behavior.
Hierarchy of Needs
1. customers try to interpret the information in a way that will support what the customers already believe. or experience. an individual must meet lower-level needs before being motivated to fulfill higher-level needs. through the purchase and use of products and services
Five stages of the motivation process:
Latent need Drive Want or desire Goal Behavior
Consumer motivation is an internal state that drives people to identify and buy products or services that fulfill conscious and unconscious needs or desires. The fulfillment of those needs can then motivate them to make a repeat purchase or to find different goods and services to better fulfill those needs.
. In case of selective attention. organizing and interpreting information in a way to produce a meaningful experience of the world is called perception. marketers try to retain information that supports their beliefs. Whereas. in case of selective distortion. It is the drive to satisfy needs and wants. Higher-level needs include social ones (for relationships and love). marketers try to attract the customer attention. shelter and safety. There are three different perceptual processes which are selective attention. Perception Selecting. both physiological and psychological. the results is a desire for a product.
Motivation is an inner drive that reflects goal-directed arousal. service. Beliefs and Attitudes Customer possesses specific belief and attitude towards various products. Consumer motivation is linked to Maslow's "hierarchy of needs. In a consumer behavior context.
motivational drivers have different levels of importance. esteem needs (recognition and status) and self-actualization needs (fulfillment of self). Marketers can change the beliefs and attitudes of customers by launching special campaigns in this regard. in case of selective retention." According to this model. According to Maslow. Since such beliefs and attitudes make up brand image and affect consumer buying behavior therefore marketers are interested in them. Similarly. selective distortion and selective retention. The most common needs are physiological and concern basic survival--the need for food.
Companies and marketers use a number of different tools to help them understand
consumer motivation in relation to their products and services. This may help them orient their markets according to different buyer motivation. These include the social value of making the "right" decision. testing and sampling--before making a selection.
. the drive to achieve the "right" result is high. one-to-one interviews and online or postal surveys to develop their understanding of consumers' motivational drivers.
5. Where fulfillment rewards are low. risky and emotionally-charged process such as buying a new house. status factors and overall expense and value. The behavioral aspect of consumer motivation concerns the actions someone takes before
purchasing and consuming goods or services. Marketers aim to gain the most impact and eventual sales by linking their products and services to clearly defined consumer needs and by understanding what motivates people to buy. beliefs about brands and alignment of brand values and personal values. Influences include familiarity with the purchase. as with groceries. A person might do a lot of research-evaluating alternatives. motivation levels are also relatively low and involve little decision-making behavior. If other people are involved in the decision. with a complex. Marketers use pre-purchase and postpurchase focus groups.Motivational Levels
2. Motivational levels differ greatly between individuals and are influenced by many external
variables. their motivation also affects the behavior of the primary consumer. his motivational levels may vary
from low to high. She might decide to buy something based on which goods or services most closely meet and satisfy motivational wants and needs. Conversely. Depending on how important a purchase is to an individual.