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The marketing scholars and practitioners believed that an understanding of

consumer behavior is essential to the satisfaction of consumers’ needs. Hence, in the early
1960s in the US the formal study of consumer behavior as marketing discipline was
integrated in the undergraduate marketing curriculum as a separate course.
Consumer Behavior encompasses all the acts of individuals involve buying and
using products, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts.
An understanding of consumer behavior begins with learning the different levels
of decision making. All consumer buying decisions fall into three broad categories,

1. routine response behavior – consumer buys frequently purchased low-cost goods

and services. For example, a consumer is familiar with several different brands of
bath soap but stick with one brand. This consumer can easily make decision on
what brand she is going to buy.
2. limited decision making – it is getting information about an unfamiliar brand in a
familiar product category. For example, a consumer’s usual brand of powder milk
Anchor is not available in the grocery store. This buyer may select several brands
similar to Anchor milk, such as Nido, Alaska, Birch Tree, to compare their
nutritional value.
3. extensive decision making – it is buying an unfamiliar, expensive product or an
infrequently bought items. For example, buying a house or a car requires
extensive decision making.

The consumer’s decision process is influenced by a number of forces. The

consumer goes through some or all of these forces when deciding on a purchase. First,
the consumer’s exposure on the stimulus, next, the consumer recognizes the problem
exists. Then the buyer looks for information about brad names, product characteristics
like color, size, texture, or style, warranties, and other features. Next, the consumer
weighs the many alternatives and finally makes a choice and acquires the item. In the
after-purchase stage, the consumer evaluates the stage; the consumer evaluates the
suitability of the product. The after-purchase is also called post purchase behavior.

II.A Stimulus

Physiological thirst brought about strenuous exercise and TV commercials of cars,

expensive wristwatches, or television sets are both stimuli for consumers. A stimulus is
any unit of input affecting the five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Stimuli
can be either internal or external. Internal stimuli are a person’s normal needs, such as
hunger and thirst. When these needs are stimulated, the person find means to satisfy them
such as food and water. External stimuli stem from sources outside one’s self.

II. B Recognition of Problem

A consumer’s exposure to such a stimulus may trigger problem recognition. And

problem recognition is experienced when controlled with n imbalance between actual and
desired states. A desired state reflects a need or want. A need is anything an individual
depends on to function efficiently. Needs are the roots of all human behavior, for without
needs there would be no behavior patters.
Marketing managers cannot create needs, but they can create wants. A want exists
when someone has an unfulfilled need and has determined that product will satisfy it.

II.C Information Search

After recognizing a problem, a consumer may or may not search for more
information. That decisions depends on the perceived benefits of the search versus its
perceived costs. The perceived benefits are the best price, latest model, getting ultimate
satisfaction. On the other hand, the perceived costs include he time and expense of
searching, and the psychological costs of processing information.

II.D Evaluation of Alternatives

The next step in the consumer decision process involves in the evaluation of
alternatives identified during the search process. For example, a consumer is interested in
buying a new compact disc player with a remote control attribute, so all compact disc
players without this feature are excluded. This is a way of narrowing down the number of
II.E Post purchase behavior

A person may or may not buy the product but if he or she does, the expectations
on the product would be high. If the dissatisfaction is strong the consumer may keep the
product and remain unhappy or may try to return the product and get a replacement or
your money back. The consumer may generalize her dissatisfaction to all other products
sold by the company.

Cognitive dissonance – is the inner intension that a consumer experiences after

recognizing an inconsistency between behavior and values or opinions. Dissonance
occurs because the person knows the purchased product has some disadvantages as well
as some advantages. Customers try to reduce dissonance by justifying their decision.


Each person’s actions and choices are influenced by a variety of internal forces,
including his or her needs and motives, perceptions, learning experiences, attitudes, and
personality characteristics.


We are all motivated by needs and wants. Need is a discrepancy between our
actual state and our desired state. Needs are the basic forces that motivate a person to do
something. Needs are more basic than wants. Wants and needs that are learned during a
person’s life. For example, everyone needs water but some people also learn to want
branded mineral water.
Why are people driven by particular needs at particular times? Abraham H.
Maslow, a prominent psychologist formulated the popular theory on consumer behavior,
the hierarchy of needs which seeks to categorize needs and explain human motivation.
The hierarchy arranges needs in ascending order of importance: Physiological,
safety, social esteem, and self-actualization.

Physiological – refers to needs for food, shelter, water, clothing, etc.

Safety Needs – include security and freedom from pain and discomfort. Need for
protection and physical well-being.

Social Needs – include love and belonging

Self-esteem – are self respect and a sense of accomplishment, prestige, fame, and
recognition of one’s accomplishments.
Self-actualization – is the highest human need which includes self-fulfillment and self-
expression, reaching the point in life at which people are what they should be.

The processes by which we select, organize, and interpret our environment, the
stimuli such as products. Advertisements and stores into a meaningful and coherent
picture is called perception. In essence, perception is how we see the world around us.

Steps in Perception:

Selective exposure – our eyes and minds seek out and notice only information that
interests us.

Selective perception – we screen out or modify ideas, messages, and information that
conflict with previously learned attitudes and beliefs.

Selective retention – we remember only what we want to remember.


Learning is a change in a person’s thought process caused by previous

experiences. It is also the processes by which people acquire the knowledge and
experience that they apply to buying and using the products. Repetition is a strategy in
promotional campaigns because it can lead to increased learning.

Forms of Learning

• Stimulus generalization – is a form of learning that occurs when one response is

extended to a second stimulus similar to the first.
• Stimulus determination – is learning to differentiate among similar products.
• Product differentiation – marketing tactic designed to distinguish one product to


Value – is an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct is personally or socially

preferable to another mode of conduct.

Belief – is an organized pattern of knowledge that an individual holds as true about his or
her world.

Attitudes - is a person’s point of view toward a given object, such as brand.

A study of customers and customer behavior is important in most marketing
decisions without having an adequate knowledge of customers and their behavior,
managers may find difficulty of identifying his target market and attain his marketing


In recent years, many theories have been evolved to explain customer behavior.
One of the known theories is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs this was explained by
Abraham Maslow.

Five levels of priority needs

1. Basic physiological needs.

2. Safety from external danger.
3. love, affection and social activity.
4. Esteem and self-respect
5. Self-realization and accomplishment

MARSHALLIAN ECONOMIC MODEL, this was expounded by Alfred Marshall,

economic man is bent on maximizing his utility, and does this by carefully calculating the
“felcitic” consequences of any purchase. When a customer decides to buy he or she finely
calculate and weigh always the expected the pleasures and pains of every action he
contemplates to meke.

PAVLOVIAN LEARNING MODEL, Pavlov, an Russian psychologist, he conduct

some experiment and therefore conclude that learning was largely an associative process
and that a large component of human behavior is conditioned in this way. (stimulus
response) It provides certain important insights about some aspects of behavior if
considerable interest to marketers.

FREUDIAN PSYCHOANALYTIC MODEL, Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychiatry,

warned about the dangers of seeing emotional meaning in everything a person says or
does. The most important implication of the f