VALUE TO MARKETERS ABOUT UNDERSTANDING CONSUMER BEHAVIOR THEORIES AND CONCEPTS Modern day’s business is controlled by Consumers.

Large variations in consumer needs and strong competition demands market driven business and marketing plans. It’s the response of Consumers that decides the success of Marketing. Most of the marketers not only avoid theories but also consider them to be irrelevant. They believe that huge experience of Managerial facts and direct observation of consumer’s behavior is enough to succeed. What marketers fail to understand is that experience and observation on one hand and theories on the other hand are inter-linked. By understanding consumer behavior, marketers will be able to investigate and learn consumer’s purchase mannerism and make marketing decisions. 1. INTERNAL INFLUENCES: These are the factors that happen within the consumers.

1.1. LEARNING: Learning is the behavioral change occurring due to the outcome of past experience. Based on Consumers gained experience on purchased and consumed product, they learn about the brands they like and dislike and the qualities they prefer the most. With this experience consumers adjust their behavior for the future. For marketers to understand the learning behavior better, two thoughts are developed – The behaviorist and the cognitive.

1.1.1. Behaviorist Learning Theory: This Theory is concerned with observing changes in an individual’s responses as a result of exposure to stimuli. (Henry Assael, 1992). Two type of learning theories comes under this: 

Classical Conditioning: Marketers can apply classical conditioning to their marketing effort to link a product with a positive stimulus. For Example, celebrities with social success can be used as brand ambassador to a product to create a positive link. The interest created by the celebrity may carry over to the product eventually because of the frequent pairing of the product with the celebrity. Like Bollywood celebrity Shah Rukh Khan brand ambassador of Dish Tv and Nicole Kidman endorsing Chanel in 2003.

Instrumental Conditioning: This theory requires the establishment of a link between a response and stimulus. It focuses on reinforcement i.e. re-purchasing happens when a consumer is satisfied or

Consumers form a total perception of brands. they will continue to purchase even if the rewards are withdrawn. . Therefore. advertisement and package design and lastly advertising evaluation. Maslow’s Hierarchy theory has listed out these needs in an order. PERCEPTION: Perception is the apparatus our brain provides us as a way to make sense of it and it does this via three processes that happen instantaneously and practically simultaneously: selection. solve and satisfy these needs in an order. For marketing. MOTIVATION . In cognitive learning. The target of all marketing is to communicate the product benefits and to convince consumers to buy the product and get satisfied or rewarded. 2011).2. the approach is not only to aim at prospect consumers but also merging the relationship between the consumers and the product by informing and providing the knowledge to utilize the product’s benefits. 1. Once the consumers find the product is satisfactory.rewarded.Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Consumers buy products to satisfy their motive. The theory looks at consumers as problem solvers who use information around them to control their environments. brand name.1.Most of the time consumers are highly influenced by unsatisfied emotional needs. The purpose of marketing is to encourage consumers to identify the brand from others and not viewed as other alternatives.2. 1. The introduction of Cellular Mobiles is an example. organization and interpretation (Michael Bokeno. marketers should market their product’s motives that can be satisfied and develop marketing mix accordingly. Free coupon or discount vouchers can be the reward for the consumers on every purchase. Cognitive Learning Theory Cognitive Learning Theory focuses on prioritizing the internal mental process. 1. cognitive learning theory is a better produced means of communication with their products market audience particularly when there is an innovation. Media. stores and companies depending on the information they receive from marketing stimuli. Marketers should try. Marketing implementation of the cognitive learning approach enables in making the consumers develop a comprehensive and honest understanding of the product or brand. Understanding perception helps marketers to develop the promotion mix such as retail plan.3.

PERSONALITY: Personality means distinctive character of a consumer. Social Learning in short means learning by imitation. It focuses on . retirement plans are focused on the feeling of safety in each consumer’s lives.4. Marketers learning this theory will then realize that a product satisfying more levels of the hierarchy will be more successful for marketing. Products like life insurance. 1. They can easily market about the product to the consumer. comfortable environment or faster service than the competitors. The best part of such marketing is that it assures the consumer that this will resolve their needs. The most vital thing for the marketers is to make sure that their consumer knows how their life changes with the use of the particular product or service. marketers should market the product keeping in mind the immediate need of safety. if they realize out which level of the hierarchy the product need would fit in.Self-actualization Self-Esteem Social Needs Safety needs Physiological needs It’s not only a concrete product sold at each sale but also an image or prestige about the product that the customer achieves. If there have been a number of robberies in an area in recent months. These are placed on the safety and security stage of the hierarchy.1. the marketer should incline more on communicating to the consumer the extra advantages over their other choices such as better quality. lower prices. Social Learning Theory: Every consumer has a number of personality traits that describe how he/she respond to a particular situation. 1.4. If a product or service meets the basic need.

Mobile Phones etc needs marketing focusing on this theory. consumers interested to purchase a car would have immediately narrowed down their choices to few brands and will use many attributes like service dependability. Consumers act according to their concepts of actual self. he would have considered numerous brands and would have evaluated with very few attributes. Marketers can increase the involvement by linking the product to an involving issue.4. It’s highly influenced by observing role models or representatives.5.Reebok India used this theory by making the successful Indian Cricket team Captain Mahinder Singh Dhoni as the brand ambassador. Products like Car. One strong example is in sports industry. 1. style. Social Judgment Theory.the environment as the major factor of behaviour. ATTITUDE . CONSUMERS AS DECISIONS MAKERS: This part discusses the effects others have on consumer decision process. as consumers consider them as role models and will be interested to imitate them. also known as Sherif’s Theory teaches that high involved consumers would find limited brands acceptable and would vigorously process information. Marketers being aware of this theory can easily find the link in marketing context to find strong brand personalities to market their product. personal situation or by introducing an important product benefits thus achieving consumer loyalty. performance. Through this Reebok delivered a strong message of sportsmanship and leadership to youth who are their major customers. While at the same time low involved consumers would find numerous brands acceptable and would participate very less in process information. Imitating a particular behaviour often rewards a consumer.Social Judgment Theory: In marketing context. 2. This theory states that consumers have the actual self concept and the ideal self concept. Self Concept Theory: This is another personality theory used for marketing. 1. attitude towards a product is learned tendencies of consumers to judge brands in a frequently favourable or unfavourable way. This theory is very useful for Marketers using TV advertisement as their media. He used Reebok products on ground and shown in advertisement. economy etc to evaluate each brand. It he is not interested or involved with the purchase. For example. Celebrities or sport personalities are made brand ambassadors based on this theory. .2. Consumers buy Rolls Royce or Iphone to show off their image and to create a positive self image.

SOCIAL CLASS AND INCOME: Social class is ranking the consumers by the society members into higher or lower positions to create a level of respect or prestige. brand evaluation. Marketers need to analyze and define which level consumers they should target their product. Marketers need to stimulate positive word of mouth communication by approaching leaders and to pursue them to buy. HOUSEHOLD DECISION MAKING: To define a market strategy for a product. the marketer is in a state to make decisions on product design. EXTERNAL INFLUENCES: This part focuses on consumers outside environment: 3. Income directly affects the purchase of some products such as cars. advertisement. information search. The marketer has to find out which members are involved in which level of decision making process and their motives and needs. WORD OF MOUTH COMMUNICATION: This is the ancient and most effective source of marketing as this influence the consumer’s behaviors tremendously. For eg: Louis Vuitton handbags for ladies are targeted to higher social class consumers. product choice and outcomes. fashion wear requires this concept. GROUPS: Consumers belong to various groups but they would use only one group for reference.1.3. . 2. The types of influence involved are informational influence. Consumer decision process is a regular succession process – problem recognition.4. pricing etc. 2. media selection. 2. For product categories like automobiles.2. education. DECISION MAKING: Marketers need to find those factors that influence consumer decisions and the process of gathering information required for purchase and to make choice. Marketers should use these influences for advertising and personal selling. normative influence & identification influence. They can also market by creating ads with old consumers saying positive about the product. Consumers are persuaded by groups. 3. understanding the household decision making process for each define market is important.1.2. When consumer is highly involved with one group then it’s called Reference Group. It’s a style and self expressive brand. Once this is done.

pp. understanding the concepts is really important in order to succeed for a longer term in the business. marketers can change consumer behavior in a favorable manner.. conclude that marketers should focus on two words – CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR. CULTURE: Culture is another important influence that decides if consumers are willing to buy the product. More and more concepts discussed. 1992. R. For example. Development and Learning in Organizations [e-journal] 25 (2).2. Through effective advertising and communication. Available Through: Emerald [Accessed 26 November 2011] .3. If a marker doesn’t understand and deploy in the correct way. Boston: PWS-KENT Micheal Bokeno. REFERENCES: Henry Assael. Therefore. local. political and business cultures while marketing will not only fails the promotion but also effect the brand image.. In this case. Consumer Behavior & Marketing Action. Lack of considering the national. 4th ed. it may work against him. 2011. trying to sell pork products at restaurants or meat shop will not be effective as consumers of this culture will not consider purchasing anything from these shops or restaurants.15-17. Learning in conflict: revisiting the role of perception. GCC culture doesn’t allow Pork consumption.